How to Get the Most Out of the Alkaline Diet

May 7th 2016

Despite the theory behind the alkaline diet being disprovable, the actual recipes and advice are very good models for healthy eating. It is therefore worth using the good parts of the alkaline diet to support your own weight loss and healthy eating efforts without falling for the pseudo-science behind the food or purchasing any special diet products such as "Alkaline water."

The Theory

The theory behind the diet is some foods, such as wheat, refined sugar, processed foods and meat products, cause your body to produce excess acid. This acid is blamed for lots of illness and discomfort, including joint issues, cancers and inflammation. Eating specific foods that are supposed to make your body more alkaline is reputed to protect against those conditions and help you shed weight. Supporters of diet claim it actually affects the pH of the body when followed correctly and this is why it is effective.

Good Points

The mainstay of the alkaline diet is its focus on vegetables, fruits and other natural plant-based foods. Increasing levels of these foods in your diet ups your intake of vitamins, minerals and fiber. The diet also discourages processed foods, which can contain a lot of salt and sugars, animal products and stimulants such as coffee, tea and alcohol. This means the diet encourages you to eat a lot of high-nutrition, vegetable-based foods and reduce your intake of potentially harmful substances. Drinking water frequently is also encouraged, which helps you to stay hydrated and alert.

Issues and Problems

One issue with this diet is the food you eat cannot directly affect your blood pH. While it can affect the pH of urine, this has no real relationship to body acidity or alkalinity. It is the function of the kidneys to even out such spikes, so excess is naturally excreted in this way. The basic premise of the diet is therefore questionable.

Additionally, some proponents of the diet go further than the original specifications and demand fruits be excluded because of their natural sugar content, which proponents claim can promote acidity. This can limit the diet and reduce variety, which is one of the triggers that often causes people to cease following a diet.

What It all Means for You

Following the alkaline diet in its original form lets you adhere very closely to the guidelines for healthy eating currently widely accepted that encourage focus on plant-based foods and unprocessed ingredients. The diet also eliminates wheat, which some people find indigestible in large quantities, and dairy products, which are also a potential trigger for intolerances. This means the diet is good for those who may have a sensitivity to such foods or to processed items. However, there is no evidence the diet affects the pH levels of the body at all, and it can only promote health as much as any other well-balanced diet with sufficient nutrition and reduced levels of unnecessary stimulants and additives.

Conclusion

The alkaline diet, which is also known as the alkaline ash diet or alkaline acid diet, is supposed to promote weight loss and help followers avoid problems such as arthritis and cancer. It is popular among celebrities, and many claim to have seen extremely good results. However, questions remain about whether and how it works and its long-term effects.

Sources

WebMD.com "Alkaline diets" http://www.webmd.com/diet/alkaline-diets?page=1
AuthorityNutrition.com "The alkaline diet myth: An evidence-based review" http://authoritynutrition.com/the-alkaline-diet-myth/
Greatist.com "WTF is the alkaline diet and why should I care?" http://greatist.com/eat/what-is-the-alkaline-diet

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