|I would like to know whether milk is acid or
base. Is it good for a gastric patient to consume
milk?? I would also like to know why hydrochloric
acid resolves in water when it is a covalent.
Milk is mildly basic; notice how milk curdles when
it is mixed with something acid (e.g. orange
All atomic bonds are partially
ionic and partially covalent, resulting in
compounds having electric dipoles. If two atoms
are bonded together that have differing
preferences to be negative or to be positive (this
is called "electro negativity"), then they will
have an electric dipole between the atoms, even if
they are still sharing electrons, because the
electrons will spend most of their time near the
more electronegative atom. Elements on the
periodic chart that are above and to the right are
more electronegative; thus, the most
electronegative element is Fluorine, because none
of the inert gasses are chemically reactive at
Hydrogen chloride is composed of
hydrogen (not electronegative), and chlorine (very
electronegative). This, there is a substantial
electric dipole between them. Water is composed of
hydrogen and oxygen (which is even more
electronegative). Hydrochloric acid dissolves in
water because the two are polar, so there are
interactions between electric charges between
them. Once dissolved, the hydrogen is not held to
the chlorine that strongly (there is a high ionic
component, and chlorine is a large atom), so the
bond becomes truly ionic, the hydrogen comes off,
and the chlorine is stuck with the extra electron.
This is why it is an acid. Alcohol, by contrast,
is also polar, again because of a hydrogen-oxygen
bond, but the oxygen is a smaller atom and holds
onto the hydrogen much more strongly, so it is a
much weaker acid.
This is a very good question. The answer is that
when Hydrochloric Acid does dissolve in water, it
is like a chemical reaction. It is quite different
from when you dissolve sugar in water. Sugar
molecules still exist in the water. When you
dissolve it in water, HCl is broken up into the
ions H+ and Cl-. It is these ions that are
stabilized in water, and usually, they can be
quite far apart from one another. So the reason
that HCl dissolves in water despite being
covalent, is that it is willing to break up into
If you dissolved HCl in a solvent
such as benzene, it would not break up, and
instead would retain its identity as a covalent
Just a quick answer: whether people with gastric
problems should or should not consume milk has
nothing to do with whether it is acidic or basic.
When I had an ulcer, drinking milk was the only
thing that made me feel better for over a month.
However, I was told by my doctor not to drink milk
because it is hard to digest. It sits in the
stomach for a long time, apparently, and meanwhile
your stomach is secreting acid. With my problem, I
was secreting too much acid all the time (stress),
so having some milk sit in my stomach to "soak it
up" really helped. A better solution was to take
medication to block acid production, which
eventually allowed my stomach to heal.
When milk is fresh it has a pH close to
neutral (6.7-6.5). As the milk ages, bacteria
begin to grow that produce lactic acid, so the pH
of milk will drop (<5.0) as it "sours".
Hydrochloric acid is never pure; it is always a
mix of water and hydrogen chloride. So it is the
hydrogen chloride (a gas) which is soluble and
covalent. Hydrogen chloride (HCl) dissociates in
water, which is what allows it to "dissolve". The
hydrogen ions (protons) react with water to form
hydronium ions (H3O) and the chloride ions are
free in solution. Water that is "saturated" with
hydrogen chloride gas (as much gas has dissolved
as is possible), is about 40% hydrochloric acid.
Click Here to return to the search form.
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.