Morgan is a doctoral candidate in the field of clinical nutrition and nutritional neuroscience, having received her bachelors degree from Central Washington University.
Dieters are cued to select mainly Alkaline, plant sources of food and forgo Acid-promoting foods. Although there is no scientific proof of the Acid-Alkaline theory (the diet is widely contended by doctors and nutritionists), the diet does offer some benefits. It is important to note, however, that those benefits are not related to acid-base balance: the body’s organ systems are responsible for regulating blood pH, and diet does not significantly alter blood pH. Instead, the benefits of the Acid-Alkaline diet are thanks to its focus on vegetables and its elimination of processed foods. Dieters consume vegetables, fruit, soy, tofu, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They are not, however, allowed to consume processed foods, most meat, eggs, dairy, or grains.
While there is no single Acid-Alkaline plan or resource, there are a number of books and websites devoted to the topic. pH is a measurement relative acidity or alkalinity. The pH of the human body ranges from 7.35-7.45. Substances with a pH of less than 7 are acidic, whereas substances with a pH of 7 or greater are basic, or alkaline. Proponents of the Acid-Alkaline diet believe that eating acid-promoting substances disrupts the body’s pH, negatively impacting health. Therefore, eating Alkaline foods will help restore the body’s chemical balance, or so goes the scientifically unsupported theory of the Acid-Alkaline diet.
The Acid-Alkaline Diet is a very difficult diet to stick with long-term. It eliminates a huge number of foods and will likely leave the majority of dieters with cravings and little motivation to continue.
This diet is not cost-prohibitive, as it eliminates the cost of expensive meat products and whittles down shopping lists to a very select number of permissible items. There are no user fees, as is the case with some “brand-name” diets, and the only cost to users is the purchase of any guidebooks to help them in the process.
The Acid-Alkaline Diet requires a lot of time by way of research. As there is no single resource for the Acid-Alkaline diet, many dieters will likely spend at least 3-4 hours scouring the internet for information at the beginning of the diet, and then have to consult various guidebooks and charts regularly to identify whether specific foods are acidic or alkaline. Dieters should also expect to spend a large amount of time prepping and preparing meals, unless you plan to eat only raw vegetables, as the majority of your food consumption will be produce and soy products.
Overall, the Acid-Alkaline diet is considered to be a safe option, although the exclusion of so many foods may lead to nutritional gaps. You should always discuss any dietary changes with your doctor or healthcare team, who can recommend a diet that is most fitting for your specific goals and lifestyle preferences.
The Acid-Alkaline diet is a highly contested diet in the field of nutrition. While there are some benefits to the Acid-Alkaline plan, the diet’s scientific backing is nonexistent.
Benefits: Dieters who focus on an Acid-Alkaline style plan will undoubtedly increase their vegetable intake and reduce their saturated fat intake, which can be beneficial for those at increased risk for heart disease.
Downsides: The most negative aspect of the Acid-Alkaline plan is it’s reliance on faulty scientific theory: no research suggests that diet negatively impacts bodily pH. Furthermore, dieters will likely experience cravings on the plan, and may dislike the time required for meal prep and planning. As there is no single “authority” resource for the Acid-Alkaline plan, many dieters will lack educational tools and support needed to achieve long-term success. Dieters may or may not lose weight on the Acid-Alkaline Diet. Caloric balance ultimately determines whether weight is lost or gained. If the individual dieter reduces caloric intake while adhering to an Acid-Alkaline plan, they will lose weight thanks to that Caloric reduction.
The Bottom Line: The Acid-Alkaline plan is a safe one, but relies on faulty science and may or may not produce weight loss or regulate bodily pH, as the diet itself implies. Overall, there are better diets that deliver on their promises and promote scientifically proven concepts.