Acidic or alkaline is milk’s pH?

The human body is continually attempting to maintain a state of equilibrium through a variety of internal mechanisms. To keep the acidity or basicity, or the pH levels balanced, is one such method.

There is a precise pH range for blood and digestive juices in the body. The body’s functions are jeopardised if the range isn’t maintained. The body’s pH levels are generally steady, but our diet can have an impact on them.

Even though milk is one of the most contentious beverages in terms of acidity or alkalinity, a well-balanced diet does not impact pH levels.

What is the milk’s pH, then? At pH levels of 6.4 to 6.9, which is close to neutral, milk has an acidic flavour that is not overpowering. Milk is acidic in nature because it includes lactic acid, a weak base that can donate a proton. Litmus paper transforms from blue to red when milk is poured on it.

It’s possible that the milk’s pH can be affected by a variety of other circumstances, but these are the most common.

The milk’s pH is still between 6.4 and 6.7, making it somewhat acidic.

We now know that the milk’s pH is somewhat acidic, and the reason for this is explained in the next paragraph:

Is there a reason why milk is so acidic?

Scientists have discovered that milk contains both perceived and true acidity.

The amphoteric reaction of fresh milk from the cow’s udder is caused by the milk’s apparent acidity.

Fresh milk is acidic because to the presence of carbon dioxide, acid phosphates, and casein.

Lactic acid is responsible for the milk’s actual acidity.

Lactobacillus bacteria in milk consume lactose sugar as a source of energy and convert it into lactic acid in the presence of oxygen, which causes milk’s acidity to rise with time.

Lactic acid production increases with time, resulting in sour milk due to the increased acidity.

Let’s first explore what pH means before learning more about the milk’s acidity.

What is PH, and what does it stand for?

Power of hydrogen (commonly known as pH) is a measure of hydrogen ion concentration in an aqueous solution that characterises acidity and basicity.

The negative logarithm of the hydrogen concentration in the aqueous solution, as expressed in math.

Lower hydrogen ion concentrations in acidic solutions lead to lower pH values, while higher hydrogen ion concentrations in basic solutions lead to higher pH values.

The acidity or basicity of a solution is quantified using the pH scale.

From 0 to 14, the pH scale covers the entire spectrum.

Acidic water has a pH of zero to seven, which indicates that the water is acidic.

A solution with a pH of 7 is said to be neutral.

If the pH is between 7 and 14, it indicates that the solution is basic.

The acidic characteristic of the aqueous solution reduces as the pH rises, resulting in a more basic solution.

To answer the question of whether or not dairy products can be alkaline, we must first determine what kind of milk is alkaline.

Which types of milk have an alkaline pH balance?

The pH of milk is close to neutral, but it is slightly acidic in nature.

However, the pH of the milk is irrelevant for some dairy products and milk varieties that can generate alkali in the body.

There are several examples of foods that are alkaline when they reach the digestive track, such as cottage cheese and yoghurt.

As a result of digestion, these meals produce an alkaline ash that helps to maintain a healthy pH level in the body.

Acid-forming and alkaline-forming foods must be consumed in the correct proportions for our bodies to function optimally.

Everyone’s excesses or insufficiency affects the human body. That doesn’t mean acid-forming or alkaline-forming meals have a pH of less than 7; it only means they don’t have a pH of more than 7.

Various types of milk and their acidity levels

Milk has a pH between 6.4 and 6.7, which makes it slightly acidic in nature, as stated earlier. However, when the milk’s source changes, so does its pH.

Mammalian mammals and some plants both produce milk.

The pH of milk obtained from the following sources is listed below:

Source of milk pH of milk
Human 6.35 – 7.35
Cow 6.05
Goat 6.28
Sheep 5.73
Buffalo 6.07

Oat, almond, cashew, and coconut milk all have a pH of about 6.

Acid-forming foods include all forms of cow’s milk, from raw to pasteurised to canned to dry.

Only raw milk, which is supposed to be alkaline-forming, is an exception to this rule. Although the pH of a food does not determine whether it is acidic or alkaline-forming.

Even though milk is often recommended as a treatment for acid reflux, the acid it produces in the stomach may actually exacerbate the illness.

However, milk has no antacid characteristics, which is why it has a healing effect on the throat and stomach, but it does not coat these areas.

Similarly, goat’s, sheep’s, and buffalo’s milk are all acid-forming, and the pH of the milk varies depending on the form in which it is being consumed. The pH of fresh milk is higher than that of processed or pasteurised milk, which has a lower pH than fresh milk.

Lentils (soya beans) are the primary ingredient of soy milk, a plant-based beverage.

Soybeans are considered alkaline-forming foods because they are neither acidic nor alkaline.

It is alkaline-forming in the body and has its own set of health benefits. • Almond milk:

Alkaline-forming in the body, coconut milk is made from mature brown coconuts.

Improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body can be achieved by consuming coconut milk.

Oat milk is acid-forming since it is made from oats.

Total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels can be reduced by drinking oat milk.

Raw vs. Pasteurized Milk

To put it another way, raw milk that has been heated to a certain temperature and then cooled is known as pasteurised milk.

Unpasteurized raw milk contains potentially dangerous germs and pathogens.

In order to receive raw milk from any animal, you must be willing to put yourself at risk for major health issues.

However, a few of the enzymes found in raw milk are rendered inactive by heating, and this does not pose a health hazard because these enzymes are not critical to human health.

As a result of pasteurisation, raw milk loses some of its Vitamin C content.

It’s a common misconception that drinking raw milk is beneficial for those with lactose intolerance. Even yet, the microorganisms found in raw milk offer a significant risk, particularly to the elderly, who have weakened immune systems.

Raw milk has the same nutritional content and benefits as pasteurised milk except for the risk that comes with raw milk, which processed milk is not damaging to human health.

The Salt: NPR explains why some states want to legalise the sale of raw milk.

The Milk pH Is Affected By a Variety of Things

The following things have an impact on milk’s pH:

We know that the pH of milk falls as it sits for a lengthy amount of time, therefore we may conclude that this has an effect on the milk’s sourness.

Because Lactobacillus bacteria transform lactose sugar into lactic acid when milk is left standing for an extended period of time, the acidity of the milk gradually increases.

It is important to note that the pH of milk changes depending on whether it has been pasteurised or not, as well as the presence or absence of additives.

The pH of fresh milk is always higher than that of processed or pasteurised milk because of the inclusion of chemicals and the elimination of hazardous germs and bacteria.

The pH of the milk also varies depending on the milk’s source. The milk’s pH varies depending on where it comes from, as was previously explained.

In terms of pH, human milk has the greatest value, whereas milk from other animals is slightly acidic, and plant-derived milk has a pH of around 6.

Bacteria in the milk begin to grow at a faster rate at higher temperatures, causing the milk’s pH to drop.

Milk decomposes when Lactobacillus bacteria use lactose as a source of energy. As milk decays, more lactic acid is generated, resulting in a fall in pH and an increase in the acidity of the beverage.

As a result, as the temperature rises, so does milk deterioration, and as the pH drops, so does the acidity.

Here is a video that explains how milk is pasteurised. Check it out.


Because milk is somewhat acidic, it is often mistaken for being neutral in nature because it has a pH near to but less than neutral.

Milk with the greatest pH, such as fresh milk, is more acidic after processing and pasteurisation, or if the milk is left to stand for a long time.

Several milk products, such as almond milk and yoghurt, are alkaline-forming meals that help neutralise gastric acid. The pH of milk changes depending on where it comes from. The milk from mammals is acid-forming, whereas the milk from plants is alkaline-forming in the human body.

Pasteurized milk, on the other hand, is safe and free of diseases like germs and microorganisms since it has been heated to sterilise it. In order to avoid consuming raw milk, it must be pasteurised, which involves heating the milk to a specified temperature and then allowing it to cool.

Pasteurization and other methods of processing milk, such as the addition of preservatives or other additives, can also alter the pH.

The milk’s pH ranges from 6.4 to 6.7, which is near to neutral.

Read more: Chemical Hybridization and Polarity of the ICl3 Lewis Structure

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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