The media is full of new diets and nutritional ideas, some of which have merit, while others offer no evidence to support their efficacy. One of the more recent popular diets trending is the alkaline or alkaline-acid diet.
What Is It?
The idea behind the alkaline diet is that foods that have been deemed “bad” for the intestinal system should be eliminated, and that by doing so one can feel healthier and better able to manage weight. The so-called “bad” foods are high in acidic properties and, therefore, offset the balance of alkaline in the body.
To better understand this balance, let’s review a few concepts:
-Acid and alkaline balance are measured on a pH scale.
-Complete acidic levels measure as a “0” on the scale, while complete alkaline registers at 14.
-Neutral pH is approximately 7.
-The average person’s blood has a pH of 7.2 – 7.5.
The human body has a system in place that maintains blood level pH through the elimination of urine. Because the body already manages this level, the effects of an alkaline diet are not particularly relevant in helping maintain a correct pH balance.
Does it Work?
Because the diet fails to have the impact on the body as expected, does that mean the diet is bad for you? Not necessarily. On the alkaline diet, you are expected to eat more fruits and vegetables, and increase your water intake, all while avoiding highly acidic items such as sugars, alcohol, coffee and processed foods. And because there is so much research around plant-based diets, particularly regarding their potential to lower the risk of certain types of cancers, contribute to a healthier heart and even reduce our risk of kidney stones (American Cancer Society, 2015), followers of this plan could certainly reap health benefits.
Conversly, a high-acidic diet may be linked to a number of conditions including (AltMedicine, 2014):
-Nasal and allergy issues
-Increased colds and flus
-Lack of energy
In summary, although the concept behind the alkaline plan may not be accurately applied, the recommendations for incorporating more fruits, vegetables and water in one’s diet while avoiding higher-acidic items such as sugars, alcohol, coffee and processed foods, may certainly make it easier to maintain a healthy weight and contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle.