Water Water Everywhere, But Nothing Left to Drink
Over the past decade, specialty drinks such as enhanced teas, exotic juices, flavored waters, “superfood,” probiotic and sports drinks, have become popular alternatives to traditional carbonated soft drinks.. Unfortunately, most of these new beverages are just as acidic; and thus, just as unsuitable for refluxers as their predecessors. This is not good news. So what can a refluxer drink?
We hope that readers of Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure (and of this blog) already know that soft drinks (all carbonated beverages), bottled or not, are bad for reflux and most every other bottled thing is NOT okay either. It is the acid that is added to kill pathogenic bacteria and prolong shelf-life.
So, what can a refluxer drink? Our first advice is to read labels carefully and avoid the acids. If you’re going to control your reflux, you are going to have to learn to read labels and look out for ascorbic acid, acetic acid, citric acid, “vitamin C enhanced,” and “100% Vitamin C.” These are all code words for VERY ACIDIC!
How We Did the Testing (Materials & Methods): With hundreds of drink choices on the market, and seemingly more and more appearing every week, it is beyond our capacity to test the pH (acidity) of every variety and every drink brand. What we did do is test the most available drinks with an eye towards beverages refluxers might possibly be able to drink. We did not test carbonated, caffeinated, or chocolate-flavored drinks, because we already know these beverages are bad for refluxers.
More than one cup a day of caffeinated beverages, like coffee, green and black teas are not okay on The Reflux Diet. Some herbal teas, like chamomile, are terrific. Beware of other herbal teas. Though many herbal teas are good, we found that herbal teas infused with a fruit flavor are extremely acidic (as low as pH 2.8). Anything infused with orange, raspberry, lemon, or other citric flavor should be a red flag. As for the variety of bottled teas on the market, refluxer stay away. None that we tested had an acceptable pH for The Reflux Diet.
We are big advocates of homemade, pH-balanced smoothies, but what about those bottled smoothies that are so easy to grab in the grocery store? Well, the answer is some are acceptable and some are not. As you can guess, anything with a citric-fruit base is bad. Of the rest, vanilla flavored, high-protein drinks seem to be best.
Slim-fast Vanilla and Slim-fast Strawberry N Crème are both great (pH 6.9 and pH 6.8 respectively), as is Odwalla’s Vanilla Monster Protein Drink (pH 5.8) while Naked’s Green Machine (pH 4) and Odwalla’s Superfood Juice (pH 3.9) might seem okay but are bad.
Specialty waters, in most cases, are vitamin enhanced and not okay because the vitamin enhancement adds acid. A few exceptions exist. We have found that all tested brands of coconut water with no acids added are above pH 4.7, for instance, and unflavored Pedialyte is pH 5.4 and therefore, acceptable. With specialty waters especially, check the labels and look out for acids. Specialty waters that seem innocent (Vitamin Water, pH 3.1 – 3.6; Hint Unsweetened Essence Water, pH 3.9) can be deceptively acidic.
Probiotic drinks, like kombucha and kefir, are too acidic. Always steer clear. If you need probiotics, take the pills.
The rule with bottled juices is fruit juices are not okay and with vegetable juices you must be wary. A case in point is two carrot juices we tested. Odwalla Carrot Juice is all natural and pH 6.3; however, Ralph & Charlie’s Everyday Carrot Beverage was pH 3.9. Looking at the two bottles side by side, you would not notice a difference in appearance. Only when analyzing the label would you see that Ralph & Charlie’s Everyday Carrot Beverage is enhanced with acids and other preservatives and flavorings.
SHOWN HERE (BELOW) IS THE APPROVED LIST OF BEVERAGES THAT REFLUXERS CAN DRINK
|Slim-fast||Low Carb Vanilla||6.9|
|Slim-fast||Strawberry N Creme||6.8|
|Traditional Medicinals||Herb Tea: Echinacea Plus||6.4|
|Traditional Medicinals||Herb Tea: Organic Breathe Easy||6|
|The Republic of Tea||Rooibos||5.9|
|Odwalla||Vanilla monster protein drink||5.8|
|Adagio||Rooibos: Organic Vanilla||5.6|
|Traditional Medicinals||Herb Tea: Organic Gypsy Cold||5.5|
|Traditional Medicinals||Dandelion Root||5.3|
|VitaCoCo||100% Natural Coconut Water||5.2|
|Naked||100% Natural Coconut Water||5|
|Odwalla||Original Super Protein||4.8|
|Bigelow||Apple Cider Tea||4.8|
|Zico||100% Natural Coconut Water||4.7|