Fried food is delicious and part of many diets. Unfortunately, no matter how delicious it might be, it’s often associated with an increased risk of several health issues, such as heart disease, obesity, and even cancer.
In addition, some people find that they experience more severe symptoms of acid reflux after eating fried food.
So, is fried food acidic? Should you avoid it on a low-acid diet?
Is fried food acidic?
Fried food tends to be acidic and has acid-forming properties. Because of that, eating too many of them too often can worsen your acid reflux symptoms, making them much more frequent. There are several reasons why fried food leads to heartburn, including high-fat content, calories, and harmful compounds created during the frying process.
So, if you’re prone to severe acid reflux or GERD, you might want to limit your consumption of fried food.
What is the pH level of fried food?
The pH level of fried food depends strongly on the type of food you’re making and its original pH level.
Generally, frying decreases the pH level of the final product and adds acid-forming compounds, which may worsen your acid reflux and lead to heartburn.
Frying, as well as other cooking methods, leads to the release of acid-forming minerals. So, it might be best to limit how many fried foods you eat, especially the highly processed ones.
Is fried food bad for you?
Fried food is much higher in calories than raw food. A diet high in calories leads to weight gain and even obesity.
Studies show that weight gain and obesity are risk factors for severe acid reflux and GERD.
Because of that, doctors recommend trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight to prevent this issue from happening.
So, since fried food is much higher in calories, it should be eaten in moderation, especially by those prone to acid reflux.
What’s more, consuming fried foods frequently and in large amounts has been linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular issues, such as heart disease, hypertension, coronary disease, and diabetes.
This is because the high-fat content in fried food increases the likelihood of plaque build-up and higher levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood.
These are bad for your health, leading to these and many more chronic conditions.
The high-fat content in fried food also means that your stomach has to work extra hard to digest the food.
As a result, it will produce more gastric acid. When this acid accumulates in excessive amounts, it might rise up your esophagus, which is very sensitive to acidic foods and acid.
That’s when you experience heartburn and other painful symptoms. As a result, avoiding fried food or frying them with less oil is your best option to avoid these issues.
Another thing that eating too many fried foods may lead to is an increased risk of several types of cancer.
Frying, especially deep-frying, creates harmful compounds that lead to oxidative stress in your body.
It also tends to add trans fats to your diet, which are dangerous and have many adverse side effects.
So, make sure to consume foods that are prepared in a healthier way, especially if you’re at a higher risk of cancer.
Can you eat fried food if you suffer from acid reflux?
While fried food tends to be acidic, it doesn’t mean you have to remove it from your diet completely.
When it comes to veggies, avoid breading and deep-frying them. Instead, boil or steam them to preserve as many nutrients as possible.
With that being said, if you experience heartburn relatively rarely, you can safely enjoy larger amounts of fried foods and even some fast food.
People who don’t suffer from acid reflux may still experience some heartburn-like symptoms.
But their stomachs are more capable of dealing with acidic foods than those sensitive to high-acid foods.
In any case, remember that fried food, in general, isn’t good for you. So, to stay as healthy as possible, limit how much of it you eat.
What cooking method is the best for acid reflux?
Unfortunately, frying is one of the worst cooking methods you can use to prepare your food.
It adds calories, fat, and harmful chemicals, all of which are not only bad for your health but also acid reflux.
As a result, it might be beneficial to use other cooking methods that are much gentler.
That way, you can preserve more nutrients, minerals, and vitamins while still getting a delicious low-acid meal.
If fried food gives you heartburn, the best cooking methods you can use are boiling or steaming.
This works for veggies, meats, fish, and even whole grains. These cooking methods don’t add any additional calories during cooking and don’t release as many acid-forming minerals.
That’s why steaming your vegetables and then using herbs for flavor is the healthiest way to prepare your food on a low-acid diet.
When it comes to meat, the best option is to roast or dry-heat it. Just like with vegetables, these cooking methods don’t add calories and fat and still make your meat taste delicious.
What’s more, cooking your fish in the oven in foil is another great way to avoid acidifying your food.
These cooking methods also don’t increase the sodium content, which is bad for your health.
If you absolutely can’t imagine living without fried food, try using olive oil instead of vegetable oil for frying.
It contains some essential fatty acids and vitamins, which most vegetable oils don’t. This might make your heartburn less severe.
Even though fried food tastes delicious, it has some acid-forming properties that can cause heartburn in people with acid reflux or GERD.
Frying your food also adds unnecessary calories and fat, which can make you gain weight and negatively impact your overall health.
So, regardless of what type of diet you follow, try limiting how much fried food you’re consuming.
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.