According to WebMD, the alkaline diet is the kind of diet with which everyone can easily jump on board. The promise of the alkaline diet, also known as the alkaline acid diet and alkaline ash diet, is that you can lose a ton of weight all while preventing physical diseases like cancer and arthritic conditions. The idea behind the diet is that foods like refined sugar, meat, wheat and processed foods can actually cause your body to produce acid, (and reduce the body’s pH levels) which has been said to be bad for you. It is also said that “eating specific foods that make your body more alkaline, on the other hand, can protect against those conditions as well as shed pounds. The alkaline diet really rocketed into the news when Victoria Beckham tweeted about an alkaline diet cookbook in January of 2013.” (1.)
According to the demands of the alkaline diet, like most diets, it requires an intense amount of effort. You, most likely, will be reducing (or cutting out completely) a lot of the foods you are typically used to eating such as eggs, meat, most grains, and processed foods, dairy foods included. What about alcohol and caffeine? Those items are strictly prohibited as well when it comes to the diet. So, the burning question with the alkaline diet and most diets in general is: Does it really work? Here, we are going to uncover the alkaline diet myths.
In an article posted on mindbodygreen.com, “The Alkaline Diet, Myth or Must?” they note that foods can’t actually influence the pH levels in your blood. The article does support the idea that there is some truth behind the theory that food can leave behind an acidic or alkaline type residue once it is metabolized. However, pure fats, sugars and starches are said to be neutral and don’t actually contain protein, sulfur or minerals whereas animal products and grains are considered “acid-forming, while fruits and vegetables are alkaline forming.”(2) The site further suggests that if you were to grab a pH stick and test your urine following a green smoothie and a chicken sandwich, one would find that the levels of pH following the smoothie would be more alkaline urine and after the sandwich more of an acidic urine. The site also concludes that “unless you suffer from kidney disease or insulin resistance, you can’t substantially change the pH of your blood by changing the foods you eat. This is because your body is programmed to work within a blood pH of around 7.4. A slight change of this pH and your body starts to shut down. For this reason your body is awesome at tightly regulating the pH of your blood.” (2)
Secondly, according to the website, “An acidic diet doesn’t cause demineralization of bones and osteoporosis.” It is said that, “the body pulls minerals from our bones to neutralize any excess acid produced from our diet and, over time, this can cause bone demineralization and osteoporosis. However, this theory completely negates the vital role that the kidneys play in pH regulation. The kidneys create a sustainable cycle for maintaining body pH without any role of the bones, and here is how it all goes down…
1. Any acid produced from your diet is quickly buffered by bicarbonate ions in the blood.
2. This reaction produces carbon dioxide and salts, which are expelled through the lungs and urine, respectfully.
3. The kidney produces more bicarbonate ions and sends them to the blood to replace the used bicarbonate ions. So unless you stop breathing, peeing or your kidneys fail, you can bet that your blood is chilling at a nice pH of 7.4, and no one is robbing anything from your bones.” (2.)
Number three on their list says that “An acidic diet doesn’t cause or promote cancer.” The article further tells us that “Pro-alkaline diet folk will argue that cancer can only grow in an acidic environment, and that an alkaline-based diet can prevent cancer cell growth and replication. The truth is that cancer creates its own acidic environment, independent of the body’s pH and the diet, through ramping up glycolysis and reducing circulation. Thus, the acidity of your diet won’t affect the development of cancer.” (2)
Lastly, the final fact about the alkaline diet, according to mindybodygreen.com is that, “Studies that show detrimental effects of an acidic diet are flawed.” The articles goes on to explain that “If you’ve read through the review papers examining the effect of acid-forming diets and health, you’ll notice the cited studies showing deleterious effects of an acidic-forming diet are highly flawed or limited. Three key flaws/limitations stuck out to me like a sore thumb…
1. The subjects suffer from kidney disease or insulin resistance (both conditions that inhibit the ability of the body to buffer acid).
2. Healthy subjects are given ammonium chloride and other supplements (rather than real food) to induce acidosis.
3. Potential correlations and causations between acidic-forming diets, muscle wasting and osteoporosis are speculative or based on observational data rather than proper data. In the end, you’ll have a rough time trying to find concrete evidence behind the diet-induced pH dysregulation in healthy people.” (2)
All in all, the alkaline diet is absolutely rich in fruits and vegetables. So, we can certainly give credit where credit is due, and when it comes to the alkaline diet, it definitely deserves credit for having some positive benefits and impact on improving the health of others. Without a doubt, those who choose the alkaline diet will definitely be eating and consuming more fruits and vegetables than ever before. When it comes to the theology and idea, however, that you can absolutely prevent cancer, arthritic conditions and affect the pH levels within your body, is absolutely untrue and has been completely debunked by leading experts and anyone who has even attempted to uncover the secrets and truths behind the alkaline diet. The claims of this diet are absolutely scientifically unsubstantiated.