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How the gluten-free diet can cause new heartburn / GERD: sodium acid pyrophosphate

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I never really had much heartburn before my diagnosis of Celiac and consequent dietary changes. But since then, I have discovered Udis, Van's, Canyon Bakehouse, and many other gluten-free brands. About a year ago I began eating 2 waffles every day, 7 days a week with my breakfast. The waffles I was eating were Nature's Path and Van's, both which use very high amounts of sodium acid pyrophosphate. The waffles are mostly air and carbs. Within a few weeks I began to develop recurrent, very painful heartburn that would popup constantly. My tolerance for acidic foods declined--whereas previously it would take much more acidic foods to cause heartburn, now any amount, no matter how small, would cause heartburn. And it kept getting worse with each month to the point that I began to worry about my health. I developed GERD that wouldn't go away for 24 hours after eating an offending food. The offending foods list kept growing bigger and bigger to the point that almost anything would cause heartburn and some degree of GERD.

So I eliminated almost all foods containing sodium acid pyrophosphate and the heartburn and GERD stopped. I can eat tomato-based foods again with either no discomfort or 5% of the discomfort I used to experience, and I can eat foods on the offending food list again with no heartburn at all.

Despite searching the internet for hours for an answer to what was causing my heartburn and GERD, I found nothing definitive and had to figure it out on my own. Did you know there is absolutely nothing at all anywhere on the internet connecting sodium acid pyrophosphate with hearburn? To my knowledge this will be the first ever post on the topic on the entire internet. Either that, or both Google and DuckDuckGo are suppressing the information.

Also, did you know that sodium acid pyrophosphate is an ingredient found in almost all aluminum-free baking powder? That's what I get for trying to eliminate aluminum! I am making the switch to single-action aluminum-free baking powder soon--single-action doesn't have this ingredient, but it's less convenient to use unfortunately.

I'm interested to hear if it causes anyone else heartburn as well. I'm glad to be heartburn-free and comfortable for the first time in a year.

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I'm sorry to hear your dealing with this.... I just started having asthma type symptoms after I eat that are now being diagnosed as GERD...I've been prescribed a zantac type antacid, and no real improvement. I've been gluten free for about 4 months after a positive blood test and my endoscopy is in 2 weeks...I'll look into the sodium acid pyrophosaphate...however my diet is very much paleo at the moment...I just started taking Apple cider vinegar and manuka honey and it seems to help calm things down, after some time online I'm reading that the acid reflux is due to too little acid in the stomach...I hope your feeling better!

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1 hour ago, ponyridepele said:

I'm sorry to hear your dealing with this.... I just started having asthma type symptoms after I eat that are now being diagnosed as GERD...I've been prescribed a zantac type antacid, and no real improvement. I've been gluten free for about 4 months after a positive blood test and my endoscopy is in 2 weeks...I'll look into the sodium acid pyrophosaphate...however my diet is very much paleo at the moment...I just started taking Apple cider vinegar and manuka honey and it seems to help calm things down, after some time online I'm reading that the acid reflux is due to too little acid in the stomach...I hope your feeling better!


If you have been gluten-free for 4 months there is not much point in doing an endoscopy to check for celiac disease.  You really shouldn't stop eating gluten until all the celiac disease testing is completed.  I think the minimum that is recommended is 2 weeks of eating gluten prior to an endoscopy for celiac.


  • Prior to blood testing we recommend 12 weeks of eating gluten.
  • Prior to an endoscopic biopsy we recommend 2 weeks of eating gluten.

In the case of a severe reaction to gluten, a medical professional may opt to shorten the 12-week challenge and move immediately to an endoscopic biopsy. May, 2013


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Hi Seeking 2012 & GFinDC,

Interested in the allergies & acid & heartburn. My 23yr old daughter who was diagnosed with celiac disease 3 years ago has been struggling with severe acid and seasonal allergies. She had an endoscopy done in June and was diagnosed with EoE. Has anyone else dealt with this? She is also allergic to wheat, yeast, shrimp & sesame seeds. Her GI doctor suggested she eliminate milk and dairy but that leaves her food options extremely limited. 

Any thoughts or insight?  

Thanks :) 

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ponyridepele is right. Low stomach acid contributes to GERD and too many CARBS if Dr. Chris Kreser is correct.

Timeline is important with any diagnosis.

IF you stomach acid was HIGH as you often hear (everywhere) you hear an acid for acid reducer’s then eating food (carbs, greasy things) wouldn’t bother you.

The acid would cut it up but if it is already low/weak then even a little acid can burn your esophagus which is not coated like the stomach to protect you from high acid.

BUT if it is low to start with then food will WEAKEN our/your acid so that you lose the food fight your in and things (carbs/fats) become to ferment, rancidify and cause heart burn.

All heartburn is not equal. IF you stomach acid is truly high then it WILL occur between meals when there is no food to tamp down the fire (occurring in your stomach) not your esophagus. The excess pressure from fermented carbs push open the trap door allowing the low acid you have burn the lining of your uncoated esophagus.

This (Heartburn) is a vicious cycle. STRONG stomach acid makes it a virtuous circle/cycle.

As you know seeking2012 from eating too much carbs in your diet AND ironically a food additive known for its ability to reduce stomach acid.

wikipedia summarize it well https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disodium_pyrophosphate

quoting "Disodium pyrophosphate is a popular leavening agent found in baking powders. It combines with sodium bicarbonate to release carbon dioxide"

And it is that propensity to produce C02 that further exasperating the situation and why it is more pronounced if the carbs you are eating use sodium acid pyrophosphate as a leavening agent.

Dr. Chris Kresser covers this topic well where he says CARBS (you were eating high carb meals) is the man culprit.

When he talks about "What every body ought to know about heartburn but doesn't"

Link provided here https://chriskresser.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-but-doesnt-about-heartburn-gerd/

As to how to eliminate  sodium acid pyrophosphate  from your foods that is a little harder to do.  It is much easier to just go low carb to help your heartburn from those two high CARB waffles a day.

The doctor's health press website explains why this is so http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/food-additives-to-avoid

Quoting "While it is now common practice for food manufacturers to label the amount of fat, calories or sodium on a product because they are required to do so, there is no such requirement for phosphorus. The amount of phosphorus in foods remains a hidden commodity." so as you noted seeking2012 you kind of have to hunt and peck your way through these things sometimes.  They (drs healthpress) are more concerned about Kidney patients who need a low phosphate diet than how it can contribute to heartburn in high carb meals but it is helpful to know what other health issues excess phosphates in the diet might trigger.

For as they say knowledge is power.

If you continue to experience heartburn when eating carbs the celiac posterboy has a great summary of why this is so.

See this link https://celiacposterboy.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/why-burping-is-good-and-bloating-is-bad-by-the-celiac-posterboy-and-how-to-begin-to-burp-without-being-bloated-a-healthy-state-of-good-digestion/

Where he talks about how  when gluten free people who like yourself still eat a high CARB based diet heartburn can be a problem still and how to overcome too many carbs in your diet.

It summarizes much of what Dr. Kresser emphasizes in his three part series on heartburn but with a gluten angle.

Where he dedicates the post to "Gluten Free in the Hudson Valley but not CARB Free: A healthy state of digestion and how to know when it is occurring; Why Burping is good and Bloating is bad by the Celiac Posterboy and how to stop being bloated when you burp."

CARBS are key when you are still having trouble with heartburn even if you are gluten free (which helps many people with their heartburn). 

Gluten free in the Hudson Valley swapped out one carb/gluten for another carb/rice and her heartburn/bloating came back with a vengeance.

See the original article here http://blogs.poughkeepsiejournal.com/glutenfreeinthehudsonvalley/2016/02/15/gluten-sick/ under the title "gluten sick" but it was carb sick  in her case because she was already eating quoting an almost gluten free meal (barring possible cross contamination issues) that she had eaten many times before without incident.  "Is it the copious amount of chocolate?  No, I checked the labels.  It can’t be the innocuous sushi roll, the same one I’ve eaten time and time again at the restaurant with no problems."

But as we know sometimes combinations can be deadly (heartburn) as they where in your case seeking2012 having unintended consequences.

the combination of the fat (chocolate) and carb meal were a deadly combination of burping and bloating.

According to the Mayo Clinic Bloating maybe related to “eating fatty foods, which can delay stomach emptying and make you feel uncomfortably full .  .  . With bloating, you may also have abdominal pain that can vary from mild and dull to sharp and intense”


From the gluten free but not carb free in the Hudson Valley article   "Sometimes bloating and burping can occur together and it is usually when a lot fatty foods together with a high carb meal that allows the high fat foods to delay stomach emptying causing the carbs to ferment . . . When they (fats and carbs) occur together  and our stomach acid has become so low our fats become rancid (spoil), our carbs ferment and our proteins putrefy" then heartburn results from these deadly combination of too low stomach acid and too many carbs (with fats often).

I hope this is helpful.

*** Remember as always this is not medical advice and should not be considered such. But like ponyridepele said after much research I believe this is what is happening and what has helped me.

It is well known in the Low Carb/atkins diet circle going low carb can help heartburn but this I hope in some small way explains why it is happening.

I had a friend who went low carb for years because of his heartburn issues but after a few years even the little carbs he was still eating  had heartburn come back despite only eating tortilla's with his fajitas until I told him carbs were his trigger.  And if Dr. Kresser is correct and the celiac posterboy is correct ANY carbs and not just gluten carbs can cause heartburn if your stomach acid is low enough.

And I hope we all feel better soon.

2 Timothy 2: 7  “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things”, this included.




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Let me tell you a funny story. I had been gluten-free for years when I developed terrible, painful heartburn.  Nothing seemed to work to make it go away.   I tried pills and dietary changes, but my esophagus kept burning.  Once or twice the acid even went up into my nose.


 A few months ago I began to notice that my heartburn went away on the weekends but came back during the work week pretty reliably. What was the difference? The only thing I could think was that during the work week I would eat eggs for breakfast and on the weekend I didn't. 


 I'm not going to say that my heartburn is 100% cured, but it's about 95% now. As long as I stay away from eggs. 


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