Alkaline Diet Review
Everything You Need to Know About the Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet is a unique diet which involves eating alkaline foods like whole fruits, whole vegetables, and certain whole grains. It’s a low calorie diet designed to promote a healthy acid-alkaline balance within your body.
What Is The Alkaline Diet?
The alkaline diet is thought to be important because today’s standard American diet is highly acid-forming. When acids form within the body, it overwhelms the body’s natural acid-removing methods.
Basically, we eat too many acid-forming foods like meat, dairy, corn, wheat, and refined sugars while not eating enough alkalizing foods like whole fruits and vegetables.
By reducing the acid load on our body, we can reduce the strain on our body’s detoxification systems – like the kidneys and liver. This, in turn, can reduce our risk of diseases and illnesses.
Supporters of the diet also claim the diet has been linked to weight loss and a reduced risk of arthritis, cancer, and other diseases.
Dr. Oz is a noted supporter of the alkaline diet. In one episode from January 2015, Dr. Oz claimed that many American adults were facing a “toxic overload” and that by implementing his “alkaline food plan” they could reduce their risk of diabetes while cleansing their liver and losing weight.
How Does the Alkaline Diet Work?
You probably remember the pH scale from chemistry class. A pH of 0 is totally acidic, a pH of 14 is totally alkaline, and a pH of 7 is totally neutral.
Depending on your body, different parts will have different levels of acidity/alkalinity. Your blood, for example, is typically slightly alkaline, hovering between a pH of 7.35 and 7.45.
Your stomach, on the other hand, is very acidic, with a pH of 3.5 and lower (this acidity lets it break down food).
Your urine changes its acidity/alkalinity frequently depending on what you eat. The body uses urine to flush acidity/alkalinity from the body in order to keep your blood at a normal level.
Supporters of the alkaline diet claim that alkaline foods help your body maintain a proper blood pH level. This, in turn, helps your entire body become more balanced.
Benefits of the Alkaline Diet
As mentioned above, supporters of the alkaline diet have attributed this diet to a wide range of benefits. Those benefits include all of the following:
— Weight Loss
— Increased Energy
— Reduced Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
— Reduced Risk Of Diseases Like Arthritis And Cancer
These benefits are considered controversial in the medical community. The Canadian Cancer Society recently issued a statement, for example, claiming that there is “no evidence to support any of these claims” – especially in regards to a reduced risk of cancer.
Acid-Forming Foods Versus Alkaline-Forming Foods
The main premise of the alkaline diet is that we have alkaline-forming foods and acid-forming foods in our diet. We have too many acid-forming foods and not enough alkaline-forming foods.
As a result, our bodies are more acidic than they should be. In general, the two different types of foods can be broken down as follows:
— Alkaline-forming Foods: Most Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, Nuts, Seeds, And Herbal Teas.
— Acid-forming Foods: Most Grains, Meats, Dairy Products, Beans, Fish, Processed Foods, And Fast Food.
How to Start the Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet is one of the easiest diets to follow. It’s not really a strict diet: it’s more of a general meal plan.
The main rule of the alkaline diet is this: Eat a diet that contains 60% to 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% to 40% acid-forming foods.
When you do eat acid-forming foods, try to avoid the “bad” acid-forming foods, like fast food burgers, choosing instead to eat beans, grains, and fresh foods.
One of the most comprehensive sources of alkaline-forming foods on the internet can be found over at Greenopedia.com, which has separated foods into acidic and alkaline categories along with their “degree”: from highly alkaline/acidic to very low alkalinity/acidity.
Here are some of the most popular alkaline-forming foods that you might want to add to your diet: honey, asparagus, margarine, broccoli, apples, red wine, zucchini, hazelnuts, radishes, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, bananas, and celery.
At the same time, you should avoid popular acid-promoting foods like: beef, beer, ice cream, lobster, white pasta, processed cheese, white bread, pork, soy milk, turkey, mustard, ketchup, milk, coffee, chicken, and egg whites.
Do I Really Need to Drink Alkaline Water?
Some of the biggest supporters of the alkaline diet also love to drink alkaline water. Alkaline water is thought to help the body metabolize nutrients and expel toxins more efficiently than regular tap water.
It’s significantly more expensive than regular tap water because it’s rich with calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and other alkalizing compounds.
By drinking alkaline water, supporters claim that you can neutralize the acid in your blood stream, which significantly reduces your risk of “acidosis”.
Here’s how most of our water fits on the pH scale:
— Most Bottled Water (Reverse Osmosis): 6.0 pH (slightly acidic)
— Most Tap Water: 7.0 pH (neutral)
— Alkaline Water: 8.0 pH (slightly alkaline)
You can buy alkaline water from some grocery stores and health food stores. Certain bottled water manufacturers actually guarantee their water to be alkaline. Some of the popular alkaline water manufacturers include:
— Evamor (9.18 pH)
— Essential (9.26 pH)
— Kangen Water (9.5 pH)
Kangen water is actually a water ionization system that’s installed in your home like a water filter for around $2,000. This system lets you choose exactly what type of water you want to use – from very acidic to very alkaline. Kangen recommends using acidic water for cleaning, for example, while slightly alkaline water is the best for drinking.
Many popular bottled water manufacturers also sell slightly alkaline water. Fiji Water (7.6 pH), Evian (7.64 pH), and Arrowhead Spring Water (7.42 pH) are a few popular examples.
Scientific Evidence for the Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet has been studied sparingly over the years. Many of the studies published thus far, however, have been in favor the diet – although it’s not for the reasons you may think.
WebMD.com says the following about the alkaline diet:
“The alkaline diet claims to help your body maintain its blood pH level. In fact, nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant.”
Basically, our body already has a pretty effective mechanism for regulating the pH levels in the body. But that doesn’t mean the alkaline diet is totally ineffective. WebMD.com goes on to state that the diet could be healthy – but not for the reasons people think:
“…there's some early evidence that a diet low in acid-producing foods like animal protein (such as meat and cheese) and bread and high in fruits and veggies could help prevent kidney stones, keep bones and muscles strong, improve heart health and brain function, reduce low back pain, and lower risk for colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.”
Obviously, all of these benefits are extremely important. Anytime you can swap out refined sugars and grains for whole fruits and vegetables, you’re probably going to notice better overall health. To some people, that means the alkaline diet works as promised. To others, it simply means eating healthy is important.
One of the most conclusive studies on the alkaline diet was published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in October 2011. That study reviewed some of the largest alkaline studies ever performed in order to come up with the following conclusion:
“From the evidence outlined above, it would be prudent to consider an alkaline diet to reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic disease that are plaguing our aging population. One of the first considerations in an alkaline diet, which includes more fruits and vegetables, is to know what type of soil they were grown in since this may significantly influence the mineral content. At this time, there are limited scientific studies in this area, and many more studies are indicated in regards to muscle effects, growth hormone, and interaction with vitamin D.”
Once again, that study examined dozens of studies that looked at the connection between alkaline diet and cancer, muscle growth, back pain, and a wide range of other conditions. It’s considered one of the most comprehensive alkaline diet review studies to date.
Who Should Try the Alkaline Diet?
Ultimately, the alkaline diet appears to work as promised and reduce your risk of disease while helping you lose weight – it just doesn’t provide these benefits by changing the pH levels of your blood.
Instead, the alkaline diet primarily works by encouraging dieters to swap out unhealthy foods – like refined sugar, grains, and dairy products – for healthier foods like whole fruits and vegetables.
Alkaline water, unfortunately, isn’t backed by the same scientific evidence. There are also plenty of pricey alkaline diet guides and books found online – many of which convince you to buy certain supplements that have nothing to do with the alkaline diet.
If you’re going to follow the alkaline diet, all you need to do is start swapping out acid-forming foods for alkaline-forming foods. If you can do that, then scientific research suggests you can enjoy powerful health benefits.