If you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, you know how hard it is to find low-acid or non-acid-forming snacks.
After all, we all want a little treat every once in a while without feeling any unpleasant burning sensations in our throats and esophagus.
As a result, you might be wondering what snacks are safe to eat on a low-acid, stomach-friendly diet. For example, are potato chips acidic?
Are Potato Chips Acidic?
Potato chips have a low pH level and, more importantly, they’re acid-forming. Therefore, you should avoid or limit them if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD or even if you’re prone to heartburn. What’s more, potato chips are hard to digest, which puts further stress on your digestive system.
They’re also not exceptionally high in any vitamins or minerals, so they can’t help you stay healthy and maintain a balanced diet.
What is the pH level of potato chips?
Furthermore, potato chips are acid-forming, making acid reflux and GERD symptoms even worse, especially if consumed in large quantities and very frequently.
On top of that, flavored potato chips — especially sour cream, salt and vinegar, and cheese — worsen acid reflux even more since this type of artificial flavoring is not only unhealthy but also particularly acid-forming.
Are potato chips bad for you?
Aside from not being very healthy, potato chips are also very high in calories. In fact, a 1-ounce serving of potatoes chips (which equals around 7-8 chips) contains approximately 153 calories.
This is a lot considering the amount and lack of nutrients. In addition, even though potato chips are made from potatoes, they’re highly processed, so they don’t contain the same nutrients are fresh natural potatoes.
Potato chips are very high in sodium. This mineral, even though necessary, can increase blood pressure and the risk of a heart attack and stroke if consumed in large quantities. It can also contribute to water retention, which prevents the absorption of other essential nutrients.
Unfortunately, many people these days consume too much sodium, especially from processed foods, such as potato chips, so it’s important to limit how much of them you include in your diet.
In addition, potato chips are calorie-dense, so that they can contribute to weight gain. Sudden weight gain, in turn, can lead to various health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and a slower metabolism.
It is particularly important since many people consume way more than the recommended number of chips per portion, increasing calories even more. One way to prevent this issue from occurring is by dividing your portions carefully when snacking or only indulging on special occasions and not every time you watch a movie.
Furthermore, washing, blanching, and frying potatoes to turn them into chips removes almost all nutrients. According to a study, essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants are being removed when that happens, leaving you with empty calories.
As a result, potato chips contain scarce amounts of nutrients, such as potassium or vitamin B6 and E. This also means that you’re more likely to absorb more nutrients if you were to make chips yourself, either using plain potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Can you eat potato chips on acid reflux?
Potato chips are bad for acid reflux since they’re acid-forming, and they contain nutrients and substances that increase the production of stomach acid. As a result, it can reflux up your esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.
This also means that in order to stay healthy, it’s best to limit your consumption of potato chips. As always, some people might be able to tolerate more acidic foods than others, so always listen to your body and adjust your diet.
On the other hand, you may want to consider making potato chips at home using sweet potatoes. They’re not only higher in nutrients and vitamins, but they also taste sweeter, so they might serve as a better, more nutritious snack.
On top of that, when you make potato chips at home, you’re decreasing the number of additives that will be added to the finished product, thus making it healthier.
Are sweet potato chips bad for acid reflux?
To make sweet potato chips, you still have to blanch and fry them, which means they’re acid-forming. However, they are so much better than regular potato chips when it comes to nutrition.
Particularly, just an ounce of sweet potato chips contains more than your daily recommended need for vitamin A, which is essential for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction.
This micronutrient also contributes to keeping your organs healthy by helping to flush out free radicals and preventing oxidative damage to your cells.
On top of that, sweet potato chips are also high in manganese, lower in calories, and still easily accessible in most stores. As a result, even if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, sweet potato chips might be a better alternative to this beloved snack.
Are corn chips bad for acid reflux?
Like potato chips, corn chips are acid-forming, mostly due to their preparation method involving much processing. This not only makes foods acidic but also bad for your health. This is because processed foods have been linked to an increased risk of many types of cancer and other serious health conditions.
As a result, they’re not a better alternative to potato chips. On the other hand, corn chips are slightly lower in fat and carbs and higher in protein and fiber so that they can make a healthier alternative in terms of their nutritional contents. However, their acidity levels remain the same.
Potato chips are relatively acid-forming, which means they might not be a good snack for people struggling with acid reflux and GERD symptoms. They’re also low in nutrients and vitamins that could potentially help offset the negative effects of their acidity.
If you really love potato chips and want to enjoy them from time to time, make sure that your body tolerates them. If not, try making them yourself using sweet potatoes, which are less acid-forming.
Alicia is the senior content editor and writer here at Food FAQ. She has extensive experience with acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and various supplements. When not eating food for “research”, she’s watching “Friends” for the 100th time.