respiratory reflux
February 6, 2023

Acid Reflux? pH (Acidity) Measurements of Common Condiments

respiratory reflux


  • This post listing the pH (acidity) of most common condiments was requested by followers, because a low-acid diet is essential for controlling and defeating acid reflux, i.e., heartburn, GERD, LPR, silent reflux, and respiratory reflux.
  • In the presence of acid, tissue-bound pepsin ― everyone with significant respiratory reflux has it ― causes inflammation and disease. Since many condiments are acidic, most should be minimized or avoided.
  • If you are not on a strict “reflux detox” program, you can use most condiments in small amounts as flavorings, especially if you are drinking alkaline water as a chaser, which provides pH-balancing. Some condiments like barbecue and hot sauces should be avoided because they cause reflux in most people.


What Is “pH” and What Is pH Balancing?

The pH scale, used to measure acidity, is somewhat counterintuitive. pH 7 is neutral; pH 1 is very acidic, and caustics like bleach have pH values from pH 8-14. For example, distilled water and most tap water is pH 7 (neutral), but vinegar at pH 2.9 and lemon juice at pH 2.7 are acidic.

By the way, the normal range of stomach acid is pH 1-4. Also note that the pH scale is a logarithmic scale, so pH 4 is ten times more acidic than pH 5, and pH 4.8 is twice as acidic as 5.0. That’s why simply diluting acidic beverages doesn’t make them non-acidic.

For people with reflux, it is best to avoid foods and beverages below pH 5. Having some pH paper can help you test questionable items; you really do not need to buy a pH meter. If you are on a reflux detox program, at the beginning, nothing below pH 5, period.

It’s Okay For Most Refluxers to Use Some Condiments

While I recommend a low-acid diet for refluxers, people often ask me about condiments … if they can use them. It depends. Again, if you are not on a strict detox program, you can use most condiments in small amounts as flavorings, especially if you are drinking alkaline water as a chaser, for pH-balancing.

Do not over do it, the acceptable maximum amount is a tablespoon. For very acidic condiments like horseradish, a level teaspoon is the maximum. And some condiments like barbecue, hot sauces, and high-fat dressings should be avoided as they cause reflux in most people.

The Condiment List: From Least to Most Acidic

Some items have daggers next to them indicating that they are bad for reflux for some other reason than acidity, e.g., high fat, known reflux trigger.(This list is available below in alphabetical order.)

7.3 Olives (Black pitted, Best Brand)                       

5.2 Italian dressing (Kraft Zesty Italian)                   

4.8 Soy sauce (Gluten-free Tamari)               

4.5 Agave nectar (Sweet Cactus Farms)

4.1 Salsa (Rosa Mexicano Tomato-Chipotle)

4.1 Salsa (Pace, medium)                   

3.9 Ranch dressing (Reduced fat, Kraft)

3.8 Russian dressing (Wishbone)       

3.8 Horseradish (store brand Harris Teeter)   

3.7 Salsa (Tostitos Chunky Salsa – Mild)

3.7 Barbecue sauce (Bull’s-Eye original)

3.6 Thousand Island dressing (Kraft)           

3.6 Mustard (Dijon, Grey Poupon)                

3.5 Caesar dressing (Newman’s Own)                     

3.4 Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins)     

3.4 Mayonnaise (Kraft)                                              

3.4 Ketchup (Heinz)                                      

3.4 Blue cheese dressing (Ken’s Chunky)    

3.4 Barbecue sauce (Store brand)                 

3.4 Duck sauce (Mee Tu)                   

3.3 Steak sauce (Heinz 57)                            

3.3 Horseradish (Inglehoffer Cream style)    

3.2 Steak sauce (A1)                                      

3.2 Mustard (Yellow, White Rose)                

3.2 Mustard (Brown, Gulden’s)                                

3.2 Ginger chutney (Duerr’s Chunky Conserve)       

3.2 Chili sauce (Heinz)                                             

3.1 Hot sauce (Texas Pete)                           

2.5 Hot sauce (Tabasco)       

Alphabetical Condiment List

Agave nectar (Sweet Cactus Farms) … 4.5

Barbecue sauce (Bull’s-Eye original) … 3.7

Barbecue sauce (Store brand) … 3.4

Blue cheese dressing (Ken’s Chunky) … 3.4

Caesar dressing (Newman’s Own) … 3.5

Chili sauce (Heinz) … 3.2

Duck sauce (Mee Tu) … 3.4

Ginger chutney (Duerr’s Chunky Conserve) … 3.2

Horseradish (Inglehoffer Cream style) … 3.3

Horseradish (store brand Harris Teeter) … 3.8

Hot sauce (Texas Pete) … 3.1

Hot sauce (Tabasco) … 2.5

Italian dressing (Kraft Zesty Italian) … 5.2

Ketchup (Heinz) … 3.4

Mayonnaise (Kraft) … 3.4

Mustard  (Dijon, Grey Poupon) … 3.6

Mustard (Yellow, White Rose) … 3.2

Mustard (Brown, Gulden’s) … 3.2

Olives (Black pitted, Best Brand) … 7.3

Ranch dressing (Reduced fat, Kraft) … 3.9

Russian dressing (Wishbone) … 3.8

Salsa (Pace, medium) … 4.1

Salsa (Tostitos Chunky Salsa – Mild) … 3.7

Salsa (Rosa Mexicano Tomato-Chipotle) … 4.1

Soy sauce (Gluten-free Tamari) … 4.8

Steak sauce (Heinz 57) … 3.3

Steak sauce (A1) … 3.2

Thousand Island dressing (Kraft) … 3.6

Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins) … 3.4

All pH measurements were made by the author using an Apera Instruments (Columbus, Ohio) ZenTest pH60S-Z Smart Spear pH Tester

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