It’s probably been a while since you last took a chemistry or biology class, so here’s an update on how certain foods can change your body’s acidity and how you can use that to your advantage to reap the benefits of an alkaline diet for health.Below, you will find out how to use the Alkaline Diet for weight loss.
The idea behind the alkaline diet (also known as the acid-base diet or the soda-ash diet) is that food affects the pH level in the body. Proponents of the alkaline diet claim that the excess acidity in the body caused by the modern diet can lead to many diseases, including arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney, and liver disease, and even cancer.
Foods that dieters call acid-forming include meat, wheat and other grains, refined sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods. This is not to avoid naturally acidic foods, as some of them (like lemons) produce alkaline ash when digested. Some food sources that leave acidic ash include protein, phosphate, and sulphur, while alkaline components include foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Essentially, the foods you eat change as your body breaks them down, and some leave behind residue or “ash” that is somewhere on the spectrum from acidic to basic (alkaline). Foods are on a scale between alkaline and acidic: fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, are alkaline, while coffee, sugar and refined flours, white bread, cheese, and meats are in the acidic category.
Alkaline foods are mostly fruits and vegetables, and generally accepted nutrition guidelines tell us that a plant-based diet is best for our health. Studies have shown that a diet rich in alkaline foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed plant protein sources, causes urine pH to be alkaline, which helps protect healthy cells and balance essential mineral levels.
If someone is following a strict alkaline diet of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods, as some websites suggest, the risk of certain vitamin or protein deficiencies may be greater. Some studies have shown that regulating a highly acidic environment with special supplements like baking soda can promote alkalinity, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that an alkaline diet has similar benefits.
While eating more alkaline foods (like fruits and vegetables) does have benefits, the basic premise of an alkaline diet, regardless of their pH, makes the alkaline diet a myth. The rationale behind the alkaline diet is that you can alter the pH balance of your body and blood through the foods you eat, although there is currently no evidence that this is possible.
Many alkaline dieters believe that to maintain a constant blood pH, your body absorbs alkaline minerals, such as calcium from your bones, to buffer the acid from the acid-producing foods you eat. Many alkaline diets claim that consuming many acid-forming foods can cause calcium to be leached from the bones to maintain the body’s pH balance.
Benefits of the Alkaline diet
The alkaline diet includes many healthy foods that are acid-forming, rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and essential for overall health, including grains, legumes, and nuts. This can be a little confusing because the list of foods you can eat aren’t necessarily all alkaline – they just need to form more alkaline ions after metabolism to make your body less acidic.
- Proponents of alkaline cleansing recommend eating alkaline foods and eliminating those that produce acid, arguing that if your body must work less to maintain it, it’s easier on all your organs and systems, and you can get a lot of health benefits. They also argue that your body is happier in an alkaline state and that food can change that balance.
- Since alkaline-forming foods are anti-inflammatory foods, eating an alkaline diet gives your body a chance to reach normal leptin levels and be satisfied with the amount of calories you really need. Because diet reduces leptin and inflammation, limiting your intake of acid-producing foods and eating more alkaline-producing foods can make weight loss easier.
- Based on the idea that tumours grow in an acidic environment, it is argued that a diet rich in alkaline foods creates an internal environment that inhibits cancer development. A small number of studies show that adding alkaline minerals to the diet can help with back pain.
- A previous review published in the Journal of Environment and Public Health found that eating more alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables could help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke and improve memory and cognition.
- Eating and drinking alkali ensures that the body can easily reach an optimal average pH of 7.3 without stressing other organs or bodily functions. The alkaline diet primarily emphasizes conscious eating behaviour, which includes healthy food choices including vegetables, fruits, nuts, lentils, and drinking plenty of water while limiting sugar, meat, processed foods, and alcohol.
How to use the Alkaline Diet for weight loss is to switch to healthy alkaline foods. The good news is that switching from an acidic to a more alkaline eating plan is very easy. Well, if you enjoy a huge amount of red meat, processed foods and junk food, then it’s time to switch to alkaline foods in your eating plan. Rather than being limited by the potential acid load on the kidneys due to the individual foods you eat, it’s more important to focus on getting plenty of fruits and vegetables on your plate, most of which produce alkaline ash.
There is no scientific evidence to support the suggestion that eating an alkaline diet improves health or that eating certain foods can change the pH of the body. The American Cancer Institute does not support claims about cancer and the alkaline diet, arguing that the acidity or alkalinity of food has nothing to do with body chemistry. While there is no doubt that eating less processed food is a good thing, there is little scientific evidence to support the claim that an alkaline diet can significantly alter blood pH to treat disease.