Most fruits are acidic instead of alkaline, and that includes the commonly found varieties of grapes. This means they are low in pH level, which could impact specific groups of people.
According to a comparative study by Clemson University, seedless grapes are very acidic fruits with an average pH level between 2.9 and 3.82. Concord grapes are ever more acidic, with a pH in the 2.8 to 3.0 range. Niagara grapes have a pH level that averages between 2.8 and 3.27.
Acidity between different types of grapes is likely to vary slightly. All grapes can be considered very acidic fruits. The pH level of the average grape is comparable to the acidity of blueberries, strawberries, or pomegranates.
Grapes Are Considered Very Acidic
As a rule of thumb, the lower the number of the pH level, the higher the acidity of the object. Water is the neutral middle between acidic and alkaline, with a pH value of 7. This will put grapes firmly in the acidic group, together with a whole bunch of other fruits.
Most fruits are considered acidic, but some more than others. Grapes aren’t as bad as a lemon, but definitely worse than a banana.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat a grape, because they’re still very healthy and filled with essential nutrients. It just means that you should take some precautions about incorporating the fruit into your daily diet. This is especially true if you suffer from acid reflux problems, are in a high-risk group, or happen to have a lot of tooth decay problems.
How Much Acid Is In Grapes?
The average amount of acid in grapes can vary wildly, one study measured citric acid in grapes between 30 and 164 mg per liter, tartaric acid ranged between 4.98 and 7.48 grams per liter, and malic acid between 1.43–3.40 g/l.
Grape juices tend to contain a slightly higher acid content than the fruit, but the measurements are generally comparable to the fruits themselves. Again, it all depends on the type of grape used.
Despite the relatively high acid content, the flavor of grapes (and their juices) is still sweet and sugary. That’s because the fruits are packed with sugars, which will basically drown out any sour taste. This is comparable to, for example, what happens with the flavor of apples and apple juices.
Best Practices For Consuming Acidic Fruits
While occasionally eating grapes will generally not cause any health problems, daily intake of grapes, and especially grape juices and wines, should be approached with some caution. It can be safe if the following precautions are implemented:
- Proper dental care: Brushing your teeth directly after the consumption of acidic fruits or fruit juices is not recommended. This can worsen potential tooth decay. Erosion of tooth enamel can be avoided by waiting at least 30 minutes to an hour after the consumption of the aforementioned foods and drinks. Due to the high sugar content of fruits like grapes, it’s still important to maintain your regular cycle for brushing teeth. Twice a day, but make sure to wait an hour or so after drinking that glass of wine or taking that grape juice.
- Rinse with water: Immediately after eating grapes or drinking grape juice (or wine), one should flush their mouth with water. This can be as simple as taking a sip from a glass of water after consuming the fruit juice. Diluting the juice with water also has a similar effect, but won’t be as strong. It’s all about keeping the tooth enamel free of acid-rich foods and drinks.
- Expose your teeth less: If you regularly drink grape juices or wine, it’s recommended to either use a straw, or drink faster. This limits the exposure of the teeth to the acid in the beverage. These efforts all contribute to a reduced tooth erosion problem down the line.
- Mix and match: Another common strategy is to mix the fruit or grape juice with other ingredients that are less acidic. This is also a great idea if you happen to suffer from acid reflux problems. It’s not as heavy on the digestive system, including the teeth and stomach.
Eating Grapes: Possible With Acid Reflux?
People on an acid reflux diet are allowed to eat grapes, but should choose grape varieties with a relatively low level of acidity. Grapes do not have to cause acid reflux problems, especially when mixed and balanced out with less acidic ingredients.
If you suffer from a relatively serious variety of acid reflux, it is better to choose less acidic fruits such as melons or bananas. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, as the condition is known, causes acid from the stomach to return to the mouth. Daily consumption of sour grapes should definitely be avoided if you suffer from GERD.
However, the sweeter and less acidic grape varieties should be OK to consume in moderation. Make sure to incorporate the best practices and tips described earlier in this overview to avoid possible reflux problems. If you’re unsure if grapes can be included in your diet, consult a medical professional or dietician for personalized diet-related advice.
Should Babies Avoid Eating Grapes?
Babies can start eating grapes from the moment they start eating solid foods, around 6 months of age. To avoid choking hazards, grapes should always be cut lengthwise. Acidic and sour-tasting grapes should generally be avoided, as they can cause an upset stomach or skin rash.
While grapes do contain a lot of essential nutrients for babies, toddlers, and young children, it’s best to limit the daily intake of these snackable fruits. The reason for this is that eating large quantities of grapes might be bad for the digestive system and cause diarrhea.
For infants between 7 and 12 months old, the portion size should be around 10 to 20 grams of pre-cut grapes per serving. Older children can eat a handful, but make sure to keep cutting them for children under the age of about four years. They can be a healthy alternative to other sugary snacks, as long as they are served incidentally.
Grapes Are Healthy, But High In Acidity
While we can safely conclude that most types of grapes are high in acidity, the variety is considerable. How low pH levels are will differ dramatically depending on the varieties chosen. On average, red grapes are sweeter and less acidic than white grapes. The least acidic grape varieties include the following:
When you’re choosing wines, these can be good picks for you if you’re worried about the acidity of the fruits. Most grapes sold as fruits in the supermarket will not be these varieties. Concord grapes are the most common supermarket varieties. These are, unfortunately, very acidic. Seedless grape varieties are slightly less acidic, but they will still require a good amount of precaution.
If you’re unsure which types of grapes are sold in a store near you, make sure to check the label on the packaging. You can even do a test of the acidity at home, by simply using these paper pH strips. These self-use strips are also known as litmus papers. They rely on a color change in the paper for estimating the pH level of foods and beverages. Grapes can also be tested with litmus papers, which you can purchase on Amazon via this page.