Acidic foods may have unpleasant side effects for some people, especially those prone to acid reflux. This may lead some people to wonder if yogurt, one of the most popular health foods, is acidic or alkaline.
Based on pH levels, yogurt made from cow’s, goat’s oat, cashew, and fresh coconut milk is acidic. On the other hand, yogurt made from soy, almond, and dried coconut milk is more alkaline though all yogurt becomes more acidic when it contains added fats, sugars, and fruits.
There are other things to understand when it comes to the acidity and alkalinity of various types of yogurt, and its effects on the human body. Read on below to learn more.
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Is Yogurt Alkaline or Acidic?
Making yogurt traditionally starts with adding a starter culture, which is made up of live bacterial cultures, to homogenized warm cow’s milk. This mixture should be incubated at temperatures between 110F-115F for a minimum of 5 hours; during this time, the live bacteria convert the lactose (milk sugars) in the milk into lactic acid. This process results in yogurt with potential of Hydrogen (pH) levels varying from 4 to 4.8, which is acidic.
Anything with a pH level under 7 is considered acidic, 7 is neutral, while 7-14 is basic or alkaline.
Technically, yogurt is acidic. However, even if yogurt is acidic in nature, it does not produce high levels of acid in a healthy human body.
In fact, yogurt neutralizes the stomach acids and helps it stay alkaline. Yogurt has an alkalizing effect in the body.
The exception to this case is when yogurt is consumed by a person who is already predisposed to acid reflux, especially when they consume yogurt on an empty stomach. Eating yogurt on an empty stomach leads to the production of hydrochloric acid which kills off the lactic acid in yogurt then causes acidity.
How To Choose an Alkaline Yogurt
A healthy human body would be able to regulate the pH levels of food and drinks including yogurt, that is consumed while still metabolizing nutrients from it. Having said that, not all yogurt is created equal.
These are the factors to look for when choosing low-acid or alkaline yogurt:
- Low in fat: The higher the fat content in yogurt, the more acidic it is. The fat content in store-bought yogurt ranges from 0.4% up, though full-fat yogurt contains 3.3% fat and up in each serving.
- Low in sugar: Any kind of sugar or artificial sweetener is highly acidic. Many commercially-made yogurt brands use sweeteners, so look for unsweetened yogurt or those with no additional sweeteners added to avoid consuming excess acid. Sugar can also come in the form of added fruits in the bottom of the cup, but be especially wary of citrus fruits; adding these ingredients during the fermentation process also contributes to highly acidic yogurt.
- Type of milk used: Vegan yogurt made from dried coconut, soy, and almond milks are more alkaline. Meanwhile, yogurt derived from cow’s, goat’s, oat, fresh coconut, and cashew milk are more acidic.
Consuming too much acidic yogurt frequently can lead to health problems including severe acid reflux, tooth decay and erosion, increased risk for cancer, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems. This is why it’s ideal to opt for more alkaline types of yogurt.
Recommendations for Low Acid Yogurt
Plain yogurt that has been made with no additional sweeteners or fruits, and has a pH level of around 4, is ideal for avoiding acidity in the body. Here are some quality yogurts that are suitable for its low acid content, which you can buy from Amazon:
Containing just 2% fat, the 365 by Whole Foods Market Low Fat Yogurt is also unsweetened and doesn’t come with any other ingredients that would lead to acidity. It’s also made with certified USDA organic products and live active cultures that are good for you.
The Stonyfield Organic Nonfat Yogurt contains 0 fat and has lower sugar than many other store-bought brands. This versatile product can be eaten alone or made into tasty dishes, baked goods, sauces, and so much more.
Despite being strawberry flavored, the Chobani Less Sugar Low-Fat Greek Yogurt ticks all the boxes when it comes to the ideal low-acid yogurt. It contains less just 9 grams of sugar and 2% of milk fats, making it a delightful healthy snack for any time of the day.
How Can You Tell if Yogurt Is Acidic or Alkaline?
Measuring pH levels of yogurt can easily be done at home with the use of a pH strip which is made of litmus paper, enabling anyone to gauge the pH values of liquids. Generally, these work by simply dipping the strip into yogurt for a few seconds, though it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Once the process has been completed, the pH strip will reveal a color that determines the acidity level following the official scale of 0-6, where 0 is highly acidic while 6 is very alkaline. However, there are also some strips that only indicate whether a liquid is acid or alkaline.
There is also the option of using a digital pH tester, which works by dipping the instrument into food. A digital display will indicate the pH levels conveniently.
Here are some pH testing meters that you can find on Amazon:
- Apera Instruments Premium Series Food pH Pocket Tester Kit: This is a useful pH tester that helps conveniently and accurately test the acidity or alkalinity of food. It automatically self-calibrates and displays the results in a large, clear LCD screen with three backlit colors. The Apera Instruments Pocket Tester is a complete test kit with ready-to-use features including batteries, calibration bottles, a lanyard, and storage solutions.
- Ultra-Long Premium pH Meter: A versatile pH meter that can be used for soft and liquid foods, the Ultra-Long Premium pH meter has a 12cm spear tip that is ideal for dipping into yogurt. One-touch calibration ensures accuracy, and the results are displayed in a large LCD – all stored in a waterproof digital housing.
- LabRat Plastic pH Test Strips: These universal pH test strips will come in handy for testing yogurt and many other household products, using diagnostic grade features. The results are almost instantaneous, too. The LabRat Plastic pH test strips boast of a full range of acidity and alkalinity levels, and after dipping it, the results can be measured through the color chart.
Yogurt can either be acidic or alkaline, depending on its ingredients as well as the type of body of the consumer. Choosing the right kind of yogurt for your needs can make a big difference in your health.