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Is Pasta Acidic? (How Healthy is it Really?)

When you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, it may seem as if you have to give up all your favorite foods since most of them are acidic. However, this couldn’t be further away from the truth. Many foods are alkaline-forming, which makes them fantastic for a low-acid.

On the other hand, a stomach-friendly, low-acid diet should comprise 80% low-acid foods, and the remaining 20% can be slightly acidic. As a result, there is plenty of room to still consume your favorite foods, such as pasta and other delicious treats. So, is pasta acidic?

Is Pasta Acidic?

Even though the pH level of pasta leans towards neutral, it has an acidic effect on your body. This means that once digested, pasta is very likely to worsen the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD, especially if you’re particularly vulnerable to acidic foods. As a result, it’s best to limit your consumption of pasta — especially white pasta — on a low-acid diet.

What is the pH level of pasta?

Pasta has a pH level ranging between 5.10 to 6.50. In spite of that, it’s acid-forming, causing your stomach to produce more acid that can then reflux up your esophagus, causing uncomfortable and painful symptoms. As a result, doctors often advise against excessive consumption of pasta on a low-acid diet.

Furthermore, pasta is very high in carbs and low in fat and protein, which means it’s not very filling. As a result, you can consume a lot of pasta without becoming full, and you’ll need another meal soon after, which can lead to overeating.

Is pasta good for you?

A cup of cooked pasta (4 ounces) contains almost 180 calories. Most of them come from carbohydrates, including small amounts of fiber and sugar. Fiber is great for soaking up excess stomach acid as well as feeding good gut bacteria.

As a result, it can prevent inflammation and help the food move quickly through your digestive system. However, whole-grain pasta is richer in fiber, so it’s best to opt for that version to reap this benefit.

What’s more, pasta is a good source of folate, containing around 18% of your daily need for this vitamin in one cup of cooked pasta. Also referred to as vitamin B9, folate helps your cells perform basic functions in the body.

It’s also an essential nutrient for pregnant women (for the development of the fetus) and growing children as it contributes to the growth and development of the brain and nervous system. Folate is abundant in leafy greens, so eating pasta with some spinach can provide you with a solid amount of this micronutrient.

Pasta is also a wonderful source of selenium  a mineral that’s a powerful antioxidant that helps your body flush out free radicals that may cause oxidative damage to your cells and tissues.

On top of that, selenium may help protect your heart and cardiovascular system from the development of certain conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart attack. Due to its important functions, it’s an incredibly essential mineral that should be a significant part of everyone’s diet, including a low-acid one.

On the other hand, it’s crucial to remember that refined pasta, which is the most common type of pasta, is a simple carb that often leads to overeating and weight gain. As a result, consuming too much pasta can lead to obesity, high blood sugar levels, and diabetes. 

As a result, it’s best to consume refined pasta rarely or with a good source of protein and some veggies on the side. That way, you can create a well-balanced, healthy meal without giving up on the foods you like. What’s more, you can swap refined pasta for whole-grain or whole-wheat pasta to ensure that your body gets as many nutrients as possible.

Can you eat pasta with acid reflux?

Pasta is an acid-forming food, so it’s best to avoid it on a low-acid diet, particularly by people who experience severe acid reflux or GERD flareups. It’s also high in carbohydrates that expand while exposed to your stomach contents, which makes digestion harder.

This can result in excessive production of stomach acid. Therefore, pasta can irritate your stomach and inflame it, causing discomfort.

Plain pasta isn’t particularly nutritious, which means that it’s not able to offset any negative effects of the carbohydrates it contains and stomach acid. As a result, it should be consumed rarely and with some veggies and protein to ensure that you’re consuming a healthy, balanced diet.

What’s more, it might be a good idea to choose whole-grain pasta as it’s richer in nutrients and minerals since it wasn’t stripped of them, just like white pasta has been.

Is whole-grain pasta better for acid reflux than white pasta?

Whole-grain pasta is considered to be moderately acidic, whereas white, plain pasta is extremely acidic. As a result, if you want to eat pasta, try choosing whole-grain options since they’re not only less acidic but also more nutritious. This is because white pasta is a nutrient-stripped version of whole-grain pasta.

It also means that it’s more filling and rich in minerals that can help you stay healthy. As a result, whole-grain pasta, in all shapes and forms, is a better alternative not just for people on low-acid diets but for everyone.

Whole-grain pasta is also lower in calories and higher in fiber. As you may know, fiber helps soak up excess stomach acid, preventing it from refluxing up your esophagus. Therefore, a diet full of fiber-rich foods is a great way to prevent stomach problems, including heartburn.

Pasta is an acid-forming food product, which means that people experiencing the symptoms of acid reflux or GERD might not be able to tolerate it in large quantities.

Hence, experts advise against eating too much pasta on a low-acid diet. In addition, pasta is not very nutritious, making it a bad food choice for a healthy diet. However, consuming some pasta every once in a while won’t harm you and, if served with veggies and some meat, can make for a healthy meal.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.