Yogurt’s health benefits, especially for the digestive system, are well-known. However, yogurt is an acidic dairy food, so is it good or bad for acid reflux?
Certain types of yogurt, when eaten in moderation, may be good for acid reflux. Plain yogurt that isn’t too sour, is low in fat, and free from added sugars is recommended, since high fat and sugar have been associated with worsening of acid reflux symptoms.
There’s a lot more to understand when it comes to yogurt and acid reflux. Read on below to learn more.
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Does Yogurt Help Acid Reflux?
Some people wonder whether yogurt is good or bad for acid reflux, an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition characterized by acid backflow into the esophagus from the stomach.
There is no clear answer, since people who suffer from acid reflux react differently to various types of yogurt: for some people, they may find moderate consumption of yogurt provides relief from symptoms of acid reflux while the same yogurt may make the condition worse for others.
However, medical guidelines state that the fat and sugar content of food may trigger acid reflux. Being cautious of the type of yogurt you eat can reduce the chances of experiencing acid reflux symptoms.
Which Yogurt Is Best for Acid Reflux?
Technically speaking, yogurt is an acidic food because its pH levels range from 6-8. Once consumed, it does not produce high amounts of stomach acid since the fermentation process reduces its pH levels though certain ingredients and yogurt making processes can increase or decrease its acidity.
Additionally, yogurt is a low acid-forming food and won’t affect the acid and alkaline balance in the body.
Having said that, not all yogurt is made equally. There are dozens of different types of yogurt with varying ingredients, fat, and sugar content. These are the types of yogurt that are best for acid reflux:
- Low fat: Foods that are high in fat, specifically whole fat milk, cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax too much. In the process, more stomach acid travels back up into the esophagus which then offsets acid reflux symptoms. Additionally, yogurt made from whole fat milk should be avoided because this can be harder to digest and can trigger acid reflux.
Look for yogurt that contains under 3 grams of fat for every 100 gram serving; fat-free and non-fat yogurt which have under 0.15 grams of fat per 100 grams are also beneficial.
- Low sugar: Eating small amounts of sugar in itself doesn’t cause acid reflux symptoms. But when sugar is combined with other ingredients that are known to cause acidity, symptoms can appear. Stay away from yogurt that has been flavored with citrus foods, chocolate, and other acidic foods.
Strawberry and other berry-flavored yogurt varieties are usually well-tolerated by individuals with acid reflux. If you are buying flavored yogurt from a commercial yogurt brand, just be sure to stay away from those with more than 4-8 grams of added sugars in every serving.
Plain, unflavored regular and Greek yogurt usually contains no added sugars, and this is best for avoiding acid reflux. Most types of flavored yogurt will already contain some lactose, which is a naturally occurring sugar though it’s safe in small amounts.
- Not too sour: Yogurt flavors vary in the flavor spectrum; some are more sour while others are sweeter. Some people may notice that sour yogurt exacerbates acid reflux, while others can tolerate it well.
- High probiotic content: Yogurt that contains at least 100 million live and active probiotic cultures can benefit the digestive system as a whole. The probiotic content of yogurt can improve the acidity levels of the stomach and improve its acid-alkaline balance if consumed in moderate amounts regularly.
Best Yogurt for Acid Reflux Available at the Supermarket
There are many brands of yogurt offering varieties that are suitable for people with acid reflux to eat. Here are some of those brands:
- Activia is an American brand of yogurt that contains an exclusive probiotic strain, Bifidobacterium animalis lactis. This strain has been chosen specifically for its potency in the gastrointestinal tract, and they have several varieties that are low in fat and sugar. Additionally, Activia has conducted studies on their probiotics that prove it can help with the symptoms of acid reflux when consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Siggi’s is a brand of traditional Icelandic yogurt, naturally low in sugar and containing no artificial sweeteners. Several yogurt options are available including nonfat, lower sugar, and low fat- all of which are recommended for people with acid reflux. Plant-based, protein-rich yogurts are also delectable and do wonderful things for your gut health.
- Chobani is a famous dairy brand, renowned for their excellent Greek style, zero-sugar, and probiotic yogurt all of which are low in fat too. Chobani does not use any artificial sweeteners, lactose, preservatives, gluten, and GMO in any product. With so many delicious flavors available, boasting of a combination of 6 live and active cultures, this brand is recommended for those with acid reflux.
Can You Eat Yogurt With Acid Reflux?
Yogurt has a cool, soothing sensation as it goes down the esophagus. Because of this, many people find it refreshing to eat when you have an acid reflux attack.
Yogurt is generally safe to eat when you have acid reflux for as long as it’s low in fat, doesn’t contain whole-fat milk, low in sugar, and isn’t too sour. Otherwise, it may aggravate the symptoms.
Does Greek Yogurt Help With Acid Reflux?
Plain, unflavored Greek yogurt that is low in fat and sugar is usually well tolerated among people with acid reflux but there are those who find it aggravates symptoms. To reduce your chances of worsening symptoms, don’t eat sour Greek yogurt during an acid reflux attack.
Some people with acid reflux can benefit from eating specific types of yogurt. Just keep in mind that it’s best for you to observe your symptoms when eating certain types of yogurt but most importantly, take other lifestyle factors into consideration.