Understanding the Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet proposes that replacing acid-forming foods with alkaline alternatives can enhance health, with some enthusiasts even suggesting its potential in fighting diseases like cancer. This review delves into the scientific foundation of the alkaline diet.
Concept of the Alkaline Diet
The diet, also known as the acid-alkaline or alkaline ash diet, asserts that certain foods can impact the body’s pH, influencing health. Metabolism leaves behind an “ash” residue, categorized as acidic, neutral, or alkaline. Proponents argue that favoring alkaline foods can help “alkalize” the body, potentially improving health.
Food Categories and pH Levels
Acidic foods include meat, dairy, and grains, while alkaline foods comprise fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The pH scale, ranging from acidic (0.0–6.9) to alkaline (7.1–14.0), is a measure of acidity or alkalinity.
pH Levels in the Body
While proponents suggest monitoring urine pH, it’s crucial to note that pH varies within the body. Stomach acid is highly acidic (pH 1.5–2.0), aiding digestion, while blood is slightly alkaline (pH 7.35–7.45). Alkaline diet followers argue for alkaline urine as an indicator of health.
Food’s Impact on Urine pH
The body tightly regulates blood pH, with diet minimally affecting it. However, diet can alter urine pH, influenced by factors beyond food. Excreting acids in urine helps regulate blood pH, but urine pH doesn’t accurately reflect overall body pH.
Alkaline Diet and Osteoporosis
Contrary to the “acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis,” recent research disputes the claim that acid-forming diets lead to bone mineral density loss. High protein, acid-forming diets may even support bone health.
Acidity and Cancer
While past reviews found no direct link between acid-forming diets and cancer, newer research suggests a potential connection. However, the link remains unclear, and tumors create their acidic environment.
Ancestral Diets and Acidity
Examining the alkaline diet from an evolutionary standpoint reveals discrepancies, with studies suggesting ancestral diets were diverse and not strictly alkaline.
While the alkaline diet promotes health through whole foods, claims of pH level alterations impacting health lack robust support. The diet’s influence on chronic kidney disease or pH levels remains inconclusive.
Repurposed article originally published in Healthline