Hops vs Heartburn: Debunking the Myths

Hops vs Heartburn: Debunking the Myths


Beer is one of the oldest and most popular alcoholic beverages consumed across the globe. With a history that dates back over 10,000 years, beer culture has evolved from a social lubricant to a cultural identity for millions of people worldwide. As the industry continues to grow, so do the myths that surround it. One of the most persistent myths is that hops cause heartburn. However, this assumption is completely untrue, and in this article, we will debunk this myth.

What are Hops?

Hops are a type of flower that is native to Eurasia but is now grown worldwide due to its popularity as a beer ingredient. Hops contribute aroma, bitterness, and flavor to beer, making it an essential ingredient in many styles of beer, including IPAs, pale ales, and stouts. Hops are also used for medicinal purposes like reducing inflammation and insomnia.

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest and throat that is caused by acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, the tube that connects the stomach to the throat. Heartburn can be triggered by certain foods and beverages, including spicy, fatty, and acidic foods like citrus fruits, as well as alcohol.

The Link Between Hops and Heartburn

One of the most persistent myths about beer is that the hops used in the brewing process can trigger heartburn. However, this is not true. While some people may experience heartburn after drinking beer, it is not the hops that are causing the problem.

Debunking the Myths

There are several reasons why hops cannot be solely responsible for heartburn. First, not all beers contain hops, yet people still experience heartburn after consuming them. Second, hops are not acidic. In fact, the pH of hops ranges from 5.0 to 8.0, making them more alkaline than acidic. Therefore, hops cannot increase the acidity of beer and cause heartburn.

Additionally, the symptoms of heartburn can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, obesity, smoking, and poor diet. Therefore, it is possible that some people may experience heartburn after consuming beer due to a combination of different factors, rather than just the hops alone.

How Beer Can Trigger Heartburn

While it is not the hops that contribute to heartburn, beer itself can trigger acid reflux in some people. Beer is highly carbonated, which can cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. Additionally, beer is acidic, with a pH ranging from 4.0 to 5.0, which can also contribute to acid reflux.

Therefore, if you are prone to heartburn, it is recommended that you avoid excessive consumption of beer. Choosing lower carbonated beers or drinking small amounts of beer can be helpful in managing symptoms of acid reflux.


In conclusion, the myth that hops cause heartburn is nothing but a myth. While beer can trigger heartburn in some people, it is not solely due to hops. Hops are actually alkaline and do not contribute to the acidity of beer. Therefore, the next time you enjoy your favorite hoppy beer, do not blame the hops for your heartburn! Instead, try modifying your diet, drinking less, or opting for less carbonated beers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can drinking beer cause heartburn?

A: Yes, beer can trigger symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn due to its carbonation and acidity.

Q: Is heartburn caused by hops?

A: No, hops cannot cause heartburn as they are alkaline and not acidic.

Q: What is the best way to manage heartburn symptoms?

A: Avoiding trigger foods and drinks, losing weight, and reducing stress and anxiety can all help manage symptoms of heartburn.

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