Verdict: The Alkaline Diet is Just Hype

465460141The alkaline diet—a diet that many people have recently supported as being healthy and a decent strategy for weight loss—is certainly not new but it has been revived recently because of celebrity endorsements. But is there any scientific basis for this diet hype?

What this diet essentially entails is consuming foods and drinks that change your internal pH to a more alkaline environment, the theory being that most people have an internal pH which is far too acidic. Your pH is a measurement of acid versus alkaline. The lower the pH a solution has, the more acidic it is.

The rationale for this diet is that the consumption of meat, dairy products, and refined carbohydrates like sugar and processed food creates an added acid burden inside our bodies which can encourage weight gain, osteoporosis, and chronic disease development like cancer. Since these foods naturally have a lower pH, it is thought that consuming them will also lower your internal pH.

Advertisement

This alkaline diet is a vegan-prototype diet which promotes the consumption of vegetables, juices, nuts, fruits, and legumes. It is low in calories, fat, and protein, but high in fiber, water, and nutrients. The diet also recommends that people drink water treated with minerals to increase their pH.

So does this diet actually work?

The issue here is really quite scientific and irrefutable—and that is that your blood pH is always at 7.4. There is very little change which can occur in this reading, despite your diet. Your body has many different mechanisms in place to ensure this to be the case. There is very little latitude in this reading!

Some experts also suggest that drinking mineralized water or eating foods with a higher pH will make no difference in the pH of your blood. I could not agree more with this assertion!

Advertisement

The same can be said for cancer growth. It is true that cancer cell growth is accelerated outside of the body in an acidic environment. However, to suggest that cancer cell growth is perpetuated by an acidic environment inside the human body is preposterous!

What about the stories regarding the dramatic amounts of weight people have experienced while trying this diet? Well, that can easily be explained. Diets of this nature are inherently very low in calories and high in fiber. While consuming them, you will feel fuller so you will eat less and lose weight primarily through caloric deficit.

As well, some of the lost weight is water and not fat. These types of diets are also not protein-sparing so expect to lose muscle along the way.

Other nutritional experts have noted that “Some of the healthy foods that this diet limits are things like mushrooms, tropical fruits, and berries. I’d encourage people to pick the foods that they eat based on the nutrition in them, rather than looking at every single item and questioning is it acid, is it alkaline?”

Good point!

Source:
“Alkaline diet’s scientific basis ‘taken out of context,’” CBC News web site; http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/alkaline-diet-s-scientific-basis-taken-out-of-context-1.2510523