What Is the pH of Vinegar?
The pH (acidity) of a substance is its ability to neutralize another substance’s acidity. For example, water will not neutralize other substances’ alkalinity; it only provides a buffer between them. A solution with high acidity or low base is called basic, while one with equal amounts of both acids is called basic plus. If you have a solution containing hydrogen chloride and sulfuric acid, the pH would be 7.0, because there are seven times as much HCl ions as SAs in the mixture. The pH of vinegar is around 5.5; it has a very weak acidic effect on most substances, but some things like certain fruits react strongly to it.
When vinegar reacts with foods, it causes them to become rancid faster than they normally do when exposed to air or light. Most of the time, vinegar does not affect food in any way. However, if you add too much vinegar to your diet, it may cause diarrhea.
Vinegar is made from fermented fruit juice such as applesauce or grapefruit juice. These juices contain natural acids which give them their distinctive taste and color. When these juices are strained through cloths or paper filters, the alcohol present in the liquid is removed and left behind as a residue called “vinegar.”
The acid in the fruit juice reacts with the alcohol in it. Over time, a residue is then left behind in the container along with the liquid. The more juice you have, the more alcohol is present; this is why it takes so many gallons of apple juice to produce one gallon of vinegar.
Acidic foods contain a high amount of H+ ions. These ions are what conduct electrical energy in the body and allow muscles to contract. An acidic body can cause all sorts of problems such as lowering your body’s ability to heal, muscle fatigue, and even weak bones. Obtaining too many H+ ions in your system can result in serious medical conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver or even cancer.
By drinking enough amounts of acidic foods and liquids, you dilute and wash away these ions; this is why most people drink a lot of water daily.
Acids also affect your skin by lowering its pH. This is the reason why people who consume large amounts of acidic foods have a shiny, red face. The lower the pH of your skin, the greater your rate of skin cancer and bacterial infection will be. Having a high amount of acidic foods in your diet may also cause your bones to weaken and fractures to occur more easily.
Your body’s normal pH level is slightly alkaline at a 7.35 to 7.45 range. As you consume more acidic foods, your body must work twice as hard to achieve this natural level.
This is why people with kidney problems and liver conditions must avoid drinking large quantities of acidic food or liquids altogether.
Acidic foods can also cause cavities in your teeth by rapidly breaking down the enamel and allowing harmful bacteria to enter the tooth and cause infection. Some acidic foods, such as lemons and limes, contain high amounts of a substance called chlorophyll. This substance breaks down tooth enamel much faster than acids alone. By drinking or eating acidic substances with no dental protection, you are at a high risk for tooth decay or even toothaches.
Some of the more dangerous acids found in foods and other substances are hydrochloric acid, nitric acid (used in gunpowder), and sulfuric acid. These chemicals can cause extreme burns and permanent tissue damage if ingested or introduced to the eyes or other mucous membranes. It is best to keep these substances away from children at all times.
Highly acidic substances can also be found in common items around the house. Over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen all contain a heavy amount of acids that can cause significant irritation to the digestive tract. Pills such as antibiotics also often contain high amounts of acids that can lead to stomach problems if taken on an empty stomach.
The most common acid found in the average home is probably vinegar. Vinegar is made by allowing ethanol (grain alcohol), to react with acetic acid bacteria. This bacteria can be found in the air or on unclean surfaces. The best way to avoid getting food poisoning from consuming vinegar is to ensure all of your utensils are properly cleaned and then sanitized.
Acidic foods can also cause a condition called heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition is caused by stomach acids leaking upward into the esophagus, which then causes a burning sensation in the chest area. Eating large meals, caffeine or alcohol can all lead to heartburn. Other risk factors include obesity, pregnancy, lying down within three hours of eating and some foods such as peppermint and chocolate.
How to Eat Acidic Foods
As we mentioned before, it’s important that you eat acidic foods on a full stomach so that your stomach doesn’t produce as much gastric acid. Taking antacids or baking soda in water can help reduce the acid from food, but that is not a long-term solution to the problem. It’s much better to eat smaller meals throughout the day so your stomach doesn’t produce as much gastric acid in the first place.
Many people think that they can fix their damaged tooth enamel by brushing their teeth immediately after eating acidic foods. This is one of the biggest myths about eating acidic foods. Letting the acid sit on your teeth for a prolonged period of time can actually cause more damage than if you had just eaten the food without brushing your teeth at all.
In summary, acidic foods can help with weight loss and provide many essential nutrients for your body. However, these benefits are canceled out by the negative effects that can be caused by eating too many acidic foods, such as burping, indigestion, and accelerated tooth decay.
If you have eaten too many acidic food and are experiencing pain, there are some over-the-counter antacids that can help. These include milk of magnesia, Tums, and Rolaids.
From this point on, it is best to only consume acidic foods in moderation. If you are experiencing any digestive issues after eating acidic food, take a break from eating these types of food for a couple of days and focus on eating non-acidic foods instead.
By sticking to a proper diet and eating a varied selection of foods, you can achieve all the benefits that acidic foods have to offer, without putting your body through unnecessary stress.
Sources & references used in this article:
Modelling the pH of mayonnaise by the ratio of egg to vinegar by R Xiong, G Xie, AS Edmondson – Food Control, 2000 – Elsevier
Study of pineapple peelings processing into vinegar by biotechnology by SK Sossou, Y Ameyapoh, SD Karou… – Pakistan Journal of …, 2009 – researchgate.net
The effects of four acidifying sprays, vinegar, and water on canine cutaneous pH levels by JL Matousek, KL Campbell… – Journal of the …, 2003 – meridian.allenpress.com
The fate of Listeria monocytogenes in selected fresh vegetable juice as affected by temperature, pH and vinegar by IB Enweani, OO Chukwu, CC Onochie… – Nigeria Journal of …, 2001 – researchgate.net
Improvement of solar based rainwater disinfection by using lemon and vinegar as catalysts by MT Amin, MY Han – Desalination, 2011 – Elsevier
Texture changes associated with insolubilization of sarcoplasmic proteins during salt‐vinegar curing of fish by M Toyohara, M Murata, M Ando, S Kubota… – Journal of food …, 1999 – Wiley Online Library