Why Does Oatmeal Give Me Heartburn?


Generally, oatmeal is a good choice even for people who have more severe acid reflux like GERD or LPR so why does oatmeal give you heartburn?

There is a selection of reasons oatmeal might cause heartburn such as, expanding the stomach too much, the oats not being cooked properly and the oatmeal being more processed to name a few.

Below we will get into these causes in more detail and how to stop it from happening again.

Heartburn & Acid Reflux from Oatmeal

If you have experienced heartburn or acid reflux after eating oatmeal you might be wondering why and what the potential reason was.

Typically, a plain oatmeal is usually around a 6 pH. While a 6 pH is considered acidic on the pH scale in terms of food it’s a very low acidity. This means that the acidity itself it almost always never a problem that causes the heartburn or acid reflux effects even for people with more severe acid reflux. It’s usually because due to another reason.

Below we will cover each of the more likely reasons oatmeal might cause acid reflux symptoms.

Added Ingredients

Probably the most likely thing that might cause heartburn is something you might have added to the oatmeal and not the actual oatmeal itself. For example, if you added berries to your oatmeal they are quite acidic and they could worsen or cause heartburn or acid reflux which is more likely than the oatmeal itself.

Watch out for what you have added to your oatmeal. Acidic fruits like berries, excess sugar or spices like cinnamon might irritate or trigger acid reflux. For more on cinammon check our article – Is Cinnamon Help Acid Reflux?

Some added ingredients that should be fine if you have acid reflux include nuts or nut butters, bananas or honey/maple syrup. For a more extensive ingredients list that are suitable for acid reflux check our Wipeout Diet Plan.

Oatmeal Quality and Processing

The more an oatmeal has been processed the more likely it will be more acidic and harder to digest. This means the best choices for oatmeal is rolled oats that are plain with no added extras and ideally organic as this is the most pure and unprocessed form of oatmeal.

If you have been eating oatmeal that is more processed this could be contributing to your heartburn or acid reflux.

Milk Used

When making your oatmeal you will likely make it will either milk, a milk alternative or water. Each of these have their own pros and cons.

Some milks or alternative milks might be triggering for one reason or another. For example, regular milk might be too fatty, or the person might be intolerant to milk or lactose which could lead to acid reflux problems.

Also, some alternative milks can be more acidic than others or have more additives etc. Some of the best alternative milks are almond milk or even soy milk. It’s best to opt for milk that is unsweetened with as little preservatives as possible. For more on almond milk check our article – Is Almond Milk Good for Acid Reflux?

If you have taken regular milk or some alternative milks that might have contributed to your heartburn or acid reflux.

How it’s Cooked

How the oats are cooked can contribute to acid reflux affects. When cooking in the microwave there is a level of unpredictability and how fast the oats are cooked could lead to oats that are not cooked as thoroughly.

Therefore, the best option is to cook them in a pot for around 8-10 minutes on a medium heat. Also make sure to taste them before serving to make sure they are soft and fully cooked.

Oats that are not cooked properly are more likely cause to heartburn. If the oats are not fully cooked it makes them harder to digest which means a higher chance of indigestion and heartburn.

Amount of Oatmeal Eaten

The final reason you might have experienced heartburn or indigestion is the amount of the oatmeal eaten. If you eat too much oatmeal this can expand the stomach more and this increases the chance of valve above the stomach known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to open.

If the LES opens when it shouldn’t this often leads to acid reflux issues.

Fiber Levels

For some people the higher levels of fiber in oatmeal can lead to excess gas which sometimes leads to excess burping and a pressure buildup in the small intestines and stomach.

This sometimes can lead to the valve above the stomach opening more than it should which then leads to acid reflux issues.

Is Oatmeal Good for Acid Reflux?

While oatmeal can sometimes cause acid reflux this is not typically the case. Often oatmeal is a good choice because its not too acidic and generally is plain which often makes for a soothing choice that often will help balance out and calm acid reflux.

If you have experienced heartburn after eating oatmeal just take a moment to consider the points as we mentioned above.

Usually, 1 or 2 of them might have been contributing to the acid reflux and once changed will allow for oatmeal that will help your acid reflux instead of making it worse.

If you need more help on diet or anything else consider a private consultation with me here.

Related Interesting Questions

Why Does Oatmeal Make Me Bloated?

Sometimes oatmeal might make you bloated, that’s most likely due to the high fiber levels in the oatmeal or could even be due to the gluten if you are intolerant to gluten.

What Kind of Oatmeal is Best for Acid Reflux?

The best kind of oats for acid reflux is plain organic oats that has no additives.

We Recommend: 365 Organic Rolled Oats

How Do You Reduce Acidity in Oatmeal?

The best way to reduce the acidity of oatmeal is by using the more alkaline water or milk that you can find. The best and most alkaline option we have found was plain and unsweetened almond milk. This will be the best way to lower the oatmeal’s acidity.

We Recommend: MALK Unsweetened Almond Milk

What Can I Eat for Breakfast if I Have Acid Reflux?

Oatmeal is usually a good choice if you have acid reflux. A few other options include omelets, granola, or bread. For more detailed diet advice for acid reflux check out our Wipeout Diet Plan.

2 thoughts on “Why Does Oatmeal Give Me Heartburn?”

    1. Granola is mixture of oats and sometimes other ingredients like nuts. Homemade is likely better and less acidic but some store bought ones may be okay.

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