Popcorn for you may not just be popped kernels. It means so much more. For popcorn lovers, it’s a way to relax after a hard day’s work. It means unwinding in front of your favorite show, and sometimes it’s the only way to enjoy movies at the theater.
However, not everyone can stomach buttered popcorn.
Popcorn, especially that with toppings or flavor, can trigger acid reflux. Not every kind of popcorn is bad, but natural popcorn can be hard to find.
Is buttered popcorn bad for acid reflux? Not really; recent research has stressed the benefits of salted or buttered popcorn and how it can be a great treat for people with gastric issues.
Let’s discuss acid reflux and buttered popcorn, how they are linked, and toppings you should avoid.
All About Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can be a one-time occurrence; however, constant reflux may morph into GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
Acid reflux may occur when a food item reacts badly with your stomach, leading to a flow or reflux of stomach acid back into the connecting tube. This can lead to heartburn, a damaged esophagus, or more severe symptoms needing urgent attention.
A National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases study suggests that 20% of the American population has GERD (1). This is quite a significant percentage.
It means 1 in 5 Americans will develop GERD at some point in their life.
The National Library of Medicine states that GERD may be caused by a lack of physical activity, bad eating habits, different kinds of medicines, and even smoking (2).
However, exposing your stomach to processed foods or causing irritation by consuming things your stomach reacts badly to can worsen the symptoms.
Determining whether you are allergic to this treat, and consuming it accordingly, can help reduce your symptoms. Similarly, finding recipes to help you enjoy popcorn without acid reflux can help you lead a healthy and happy life.
Popcorn and Acid Reflux
Is buttered popcorn bad for acid reflux? The short answer is no. Buttered popcorn isn’t bad for acid reflux.
Popcorn is a whole grain. It is made up of fiber. Plain popcorn should not cause acid reflux. However, once you start getting creative with the toppings, you should keep in mind the flavors to avoid.
Acidity, Alkalinity, and Why They Matter
The pH scale consists of a range that goes from 1 up to 14. The numbers between 6 and 7 are neutral, with the higher numbers being alkaline and the lower range acidic.
Popcorn is around 7 to 7.3 on the pH scale, which means it is not extremely acidic or alkaline. Plain popcorn cannot trigger your acid reflux as it isn’t acidic enough. However, some toppings may.
Toppings to Avoid
With a pH scale of 7 and around 6.2, respectively, salt and butter should not harm your gastric system. They are not the aggravators you are looking for.
Similarly, you can enjoy garlic, parmesan, cheddar popcorn, and kettle corn. However, the following toppings may be harmful.
Caramel, milk chocolate, or even cheese like cream cheese could lead to acid reflux. They are far more acidic than butter which can be bad for acid reflux.
Benefits of Buttered Popcorn
There are many ways you can turn buttered popcorn into a healthy snack. Just go easy on the salt and butter, and you have yourself a great treat. Here are a few health benefits of popcorn that WebMD stresses upon (3).
The Nutrition Values
Popcorn is packed with many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, and more.
The Caloric Benefit
Popcorn is such a great snack to mindlessly munch on because it doesn’t contain as many calories as other treats. Plus, the high fiber quantity gets you full much faster!
This fiber, and the neutral acidity level, work together to absorb the extra acidity in the body to provide some relief.
Popcorn is great for heart disease, inflammation, digestion, and other diseases related to the gastric system.
So, is buttered popcorn bad for acid reflux? Not if it’s mixed in with other flavors! Buttered popcorn in itself does not trigger acid reflux. However, here are some instances where buttered popcorn can become acidic.
When Buttered Popcorn Becomes Acidic
The mass-produced popcorn you are served at movie theaters or the pre-packaged ones you bring home may be wreaking havoc on your system.
The Pre-Packaging Issue
Pre-packaged popcorn is often processed. This means that it contains additives (some kinds of acids) that are not good for acid reflux. These pre-packaged kernels are usually boiled in advance for preservation. Once boiled, they become more acidic than before.
The Microwaved Kernel
Microwaving kernels may not be as good an option as air-popping them. Air-popped kernels are a much healthier option for people suffering from GERD. This is because air-popped kernels use lesser fat (oil) to help the kernels pop!
Eating Too Much Too Fast
Buttered popcorn isn’t bad for acid reflux. However, consuming too much of it, or eating it too fast, may trigger the reflux. Furthermore, loading it up with extra salt and butter is not good for your health.
Foods that Trigger Acid Reflux, and Solutions
If you suffer from acid reflux, avoid having the following foods to manage your symptoms.
- Caffeine and Carbonated Drinks
- Milk Chocolate
- Acidic Cheese
- Fried Food
- Acidic Fruits and Vegetables
If you have already consumed something causing extreme acid reflux and heartburn, here are some things you can do to calm it down.
- Ginger: Grating or cutting up ginger and letting it steep in boiling water before drinking it can help reduce heartburn.
- Vinegar: Keeping vinegar-soaked salad on the dining table has been known to reduce issues relating to the gastric system. Sipping on apple cider vinegar has also been known to help.
- Baking Soda: Mixing some baking soda in water and consuming it can reduce heartburn at the moment. However, consult a doctor before having this as it should only be consumed occasionally.
Acid Reflux Bonus FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about buttered popcorn and popcorn in general, along with the answers.
1. Is Corn Bad for Acid Reflux?
Corn is not really bad for acid reflux. Eating too much of something is never great, and it can irritate your stomach in different ways if overconsumed. However, it surely does not lead to acid reflux as it is not that low on the pH scale.
2. Is Buttered Popcorn Bad for Acid Reflux?
It depends on the kinds of buttered popcorn we are talking about. Homemade butter popcorn is not bad for acid reflux, as you know what you put inside it. Other types of popcorn, however, may be highly acidic and should be avoided.
Moreover, microwaved pre-packaged popcorn is bad for acid reflux, no matter the flavor.
3. Is Cream Cheese Popcorn Bad for Acid Reflux?
Some kinds of cheeses are not good for the stomach. They are highly acidic, and people with GERD cannot tolerate them within their digestive system. This makes the body rebel, leading to acid reflux.
4. Is Microwaved Popcorn Bad for Acid Reflux?
Yes, microwaved popcorn is bad for two reasons. Firstly. Its usually pre-packaged, which leads to the consumption of many additives. Secondly, microwaved popcorn uses a lot of fat, leading to bad heartburn and acid reflux.
5. Is Chocolate Popcorn Bad for Acid Reflux?
It depends on the kind of chocolate that we are talking about. Dark chocolate is not as acidic as milk chocolate since it does not contain the milk component. If you want to mix milk chocolate with popcorn, it’s not a great idea.
6. Why Did I Vomit After Eating Buttered Popcorn?
If you vomited after eating popcorn, you might have eaten too quickly. You could also have eaten a lot of popcorn in one go or added too much butter or salt, which upset your stomach.
7. Can I Eat Popcorn When My Stomach is Upset?
When your stomach is upset, your body needs low-soluble fibers to recover fast. Popcorn is the complete opposite. Consuming it may irritate your bowels, prolonging your illness.
8. Does Popcorn Cause Gas?
If popcorn is causing you gas, perhaps it’s time you visited a doctor. Popcorn should not cause gas in a healthy person. If it is, chances are there are some underlying issues. Perhaps you are allergic to it, or you have a condition that prevents you from digesting food well.
9. Is Acid Reflex Curable?
Yes. Every problem has its unique solution, and GERD is the same. Acid reflux is curable; however, medicine is not the only option. You need to invest in good eating and fitness habits to see a change!
The Road to a Healthy Life
The road to a healthy life is loaded with obstacles. It is easy to resort to foods like theater popcorn, caramel popcorn, cheese, or even milk chocolate popcorn. It tastes great, is readily available, and is easy to cook.
However, things that are hard to do are often better options. For example, spending time shopping at a grocery store and looking for organic items is much better spent than purchasing inorganic items, arriving home, and throwing them in the microwave so that you can eat them in front of the TV.
Understanding what your stomach is saying to you, the things it demands from you, and the language it speaks can do wonders for your acid reflux. Knowing that there is a food that triggers your reflux is the first step.
Following that is just a push and pull of the items you pair for the best results. We suggest consulting your doctor before changing your diet or adopting any of the abovementioned techniques. After all, your doctor knows your health the best.