The alkaline diet (also known as the alkaline acid diet, or the alkaline ash diet) has been guaranteed by its adherents to promote weight loss and prevent, among other health complications, arthritis, osteoporosis and cancer.
But anything so miraculous deserves further inquiry. Questions abound: what lies at the core these diet claims? And can these extraordinary claims be substantiated?
How the Diet Works & its Purported Health Benefits
Proponents of the alkaline diet argue that when you digest and metabolize food, the process generates an ash byproduct, which can be acidic or alkaline, depending upon the food consumed. Apparently, this ash affects the pH of the body’s blood, and thus, the pH of your body.
The alkaline diet is based on the theory that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate a diet composed primarily of alkaline generating, rather than acidic generating foods.
Since agriculture was fully incorporated into human existence, our diets have shifted to include a greater amount of foods like wheat, red meat and sugar, which, when digested, produce acid and shift internal pH away from its standard, slightly alkaline level.
Today, the modern western diet has further imbalanced the pH of our bodies, and according to those who back the alkaline diet, this imbalance is the root of a host of health problems, including, but not limited to, weight gain, ovarian cysts, arthritis, lugubriousness, nasal congestion, anxiety, irritability, headache, osteoporosis and cancer.
The human body is, as alkaline dieters suggest, slightly alkaline, but pH levels vary throughout. (For those of us who skipped chemistry, a pH of 7 is neutral, a pH less than 7 is acidic and a pH greater than 7 is alkaline).
Blood has a pH between 7.35 and 7.45; while the stomach, which contains hydrochloric acid for digestion, has a pH lower than 3.5. The central alkaline diet claim is this: acidic ash generated from processed and other foods changes the pH of your blood, which in turn lowers the pH of your body. In truth, nothing you eat will significantly change the pH of your blood from the 7.35-7.45 range.
Proponents of the diet cite low pH levels in urine as evidence of pH changes in the blood. However, urine pH shifts are normal and suggest healthy kidney function—and the kidneys are what regulate the blood’s pH. If your urine’s pH has dropped, your kidneys have done their job and are successfully regulating the pH of, and expelling waste from, the bloodstream.
Most alkaline diet claims fall like dominoes from here; but it should be noted that little to no scientific evidence supports the other ill health effects of an acid generating diet.
As it turns out, the alkaline diet is a healthful one. While the dieters’ claims about acid-generating foods don’t stack up, the alkaline-promoting foods they suggest for consumption are, in fact, good for you. Among these foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The alkaline dieters suggest you limit foods including red meat and grains, and they suggest you altogether avoid processed foods containing refined sugar.
One last thing: despite its health benefits, it is generally recommended that people with kidney failure, heart disease or cancer—or on medication—avoid the alkaline diet unless advised otherwise by a doctor.
CATEGORIES: Fad Diet, Diet Advice, Alkaline Diet, Ph, Diet Trend, Acidic Food