The Alkaline Diet is a way of eating that focuses on maintaining an optimal pH level in the body through the increased consumption of alkaline foods, and the decreased consumption of acidic foods.
The basis of the Alkaline Diet suggests that foods with higher acidity can disrupt the blood’s normal pH level, triggering the loss of essential minerals and thus forming an imbalance that can leave the body more susceptible to illness.
The concept of alkaline and acidic foods were hypothesized in the mid-1800s and heavily advocated by Dr. Sebi, introducing the idea that such foods leave a metabolic waste, also known as ash, after digestion.
While there are varying reports and studies debating the efficacy of the Alkaline Diet, it’s gained a great deal of traction thanks to its use in the medical field in the prevention of things like kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
As the body ranges naturally between 7.35 and 7.45, the Alkaline diet intends to balance blood pH levels. According to Dr. Melinda Ratini, any food consumed will substantially change the blood pH as the body constantly works to level it. Although, some research provides evidence that low acid-producing foods like protein and starches balanced with fruit and vegetables could prevent kidney stones, strengthen bones and muscles, improve heart and brain health, and reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.
How it works: The principles of the Alkaline Diet are straightforward. Individuals following this diet should focus on eating more alkaline foods, and fewer acidic foods. The diet should follow a 20% acid and 80% alkaline ratio to balance the natural body response of inflammation. Too much acidic foods could lead to headaches or shortness of breath whilst alkaline foods could lead to nausea, numbness, or muscle spasms. Because humans consume 20 to 30 times more acidic foods, the alkaline diet promotes balance in consuming alkalized foods.
In this diet, foods are classified into three categories: alkaline, neutral, and acidic.
- Alkaline foods - fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes
- Neutral foods - natural fats, sugars, and starches
- Acidic foods - meat, fish, poultry, grains, dairy, eggs, and alcohol
While foods are not restricted entirely, the goal is to incorporate a healthy mix to result in a balanced diet, whereas many people tend to lean toward more acidic foods. Instead, by lowering the intake of acidic foods, and adding in more alkaline foods, the body will achieve better balance.
Benefits: While there is some conflicting science regarding the benefits or lack thereof in the Alkaline Diet, there are a number of benefits that can come from simply incorporating many of these high-alkaline foods into one’s diet.
By eating a nutrient-rich diet full of fruits and vegetables, and cutting out less nutritious or processed foods, the body will function better and weight loss is common. In addition, incorporating more fruits and vegetables into daily eating builds healthy habits that can stick around for a lifetime.