Fans of the alkaline diet will tell you that every morsel you eat will affect the pH balance of your body. They’ll also tell you that you should eat 70% alkaline-producing foods to increase the alkalinity of the blood. The theory is that a higher pH level (high pH = alkaline, low pH = acidic) can reduce the risk of heart disease, bone disease and even cancer.
These claims are all well-known but there is now a growing argument that the alkaline diet is a myth. So what are we supposed to believe?
Here are six arguments against the alkaline diet:
- High pH isn’t always the optimal level of different parts of your body. Your stomach, for example, needs acid to break down food. Neutralising your stomach acid is not a good plan.
- Blood pH is regulated by the lungs and kidneys. The alkaline diet relies in part on testing the pH of urine and saliva, which varies greatly depending on what food you’ve just eaten. It doesn’t usually reflect the pH of the blood, which stays constant regardless.
- There is a theory which suggests that dietary ‘acid load’ plays a role in osteoporosis. This is based on the observation that higher protein intake increases the calcium level in the urine. However, protein intake can also increase calcium absorption and even the most detailed analyses has not shown the relationship between the body’s acid load and bone loss.
- Foods classed as alkaline include fruits and vegetables (fruits have an alkalising effect due to their high mineral content despite being acidic when we put them in our mouths). Fruits and vegetables are already known for being healthy and therefore it’s pretty clear why they are associated with lower disease risk. This isn’t necessarily due to their pH level however.
- Refined sugar and carbs are banned due to their acidity. Any diet that cuts these foods out will have a beneficial effect on the health, regardless of pH.
- Acid forming foods also include meats, proteins and grains. Even eggs and fish are among the acidic food list. Excluding wholesome foods such as eggs and lean proteins from the diet means the body is losing out on valuable nutrients.
As the British Dietetic association said, “"The diet's premise is to increase alkalising foods, such as fruit and vegetables, and reduce your intake of acid foods such as meat, salt and refined grains. That's pretty much what we consider as healthy eating anyway”.
What are your views? Any pro-alkaline dieters out there or do you agree with these guys?: