The trendy alkaline diet, which has gained popularity amongst A-list celebs, encourages the balance between acid-producing foods and alkalizing foods to help promote a stable pH. Proponents of the plan believe that a diet rich in less acidic foods can prevent aging, aid weight loss, and even fight serious diseases like cancer. It may sound impressive, but not all the information floating around is legit. Here’s everything you need to know before giving it a go.
1. It’s All About Maintaining a Healthy pH
According to the diet, maintaining a healthy pH (which is defined as anything above 7.0) is the key to living a healthy life. Since they’re acidic, things like sugar, caffeine, animal proteins, and processed food can cause the body’s pH to drop below 7.0, which is considered to be a state of acidosis. In a state of acidosis, the body cannot absorb nutrients or minerals as effectively, leaving you more susceptible to fatigue and illnesses.
2. But the pH of Our Blood Never Varies Much, Anyway
But here’s the thing: No matter what we eat, the pH of our blood never varies much (it’s always around 7.4)—our vital organs work hard to ensure this! And that’s because even a small variation in blood pH can be life threatening.
3. Initial Acid Content Doesn’t Matter
If you’re still interested in trying the diet, know this: When it comes to pinpointing which foods are acidic and which are alkaline, things aren’t always what they seem. For example, foods considered to be acidic like tomatoes, lemons, and oranges actually have an alkaline effect on the body once they’re metabolized. On the flip side, there’s red meat. Although lab tests say it’s alkaline, it leaves an acidic residue on the body. Go figure. So here’s what you need to remember: Nearly all fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices are alkaline-promoting; meat, dairy, corn, wheat, and refined sugars are all acid producing.
The Bottom Line
While the Alkaline Diet may help to keep you healthy and even aid your weight loss efforts, it’s not because of all the pH jibber-jabber. It’s because it focuses on wholesome, unprocessed foods rich in protective nutrients. Easy “alkaline-promoting” swaps like choosing brown rice over white, eating fish instead of red meat, and swapping added sugars for naturally sweet things like fruit just so happen to be the basis of a healthy diet.