Does The Alkaline Diet Work?


What Is The Alkaline Diet?

The alkaline diet is among the more popular diets at the moment. The alkaline diet focuses on foods that ostensibly create an alkaline environment in the body. An alkaline environment in the body, according to proponents of the diet, is one that makes the formation of disease very difficult.

What The Alkaline Diet Gets Right, And Wrong…

Foods encouraged on the alkaline diet are:

  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes

On the other hand, the alkaline diet seeks to get rid of foods that ostensibly create an acidic environment within the body, which is thought to promote disease.

Foods that are discouraged on the alkaline diet are:

  • Meat, including poultry and fish
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Grains
  • Alcohol

Interestingly, these foods are thought to be neutral:

  • Natural fats
  • Starches
  • Sugars

Proponents of an alkaline diet claim that it works wonders for health, and can even cure diseases like cancer.

What The Alkaline Diet Gets Wrong

In short, a number of things; ideas about how the alkaline diet works are rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of biochemistry.

Different parts of the body (i.e., the stomach) must maintain a certain level of acidity in order to perform their proper function. Without stomach acid, you could not properly digest food! Eating an alkaline diet is not going to alter the pH of your stomach, nor should you hope for that to happen.

The blood, on the other hand, remains at a constant slightly alkaline pH, regardless of what you eat; it is the kidney’s function to maintain this level in the blood.

Sometimes, the pH of the blood can change, but this only happens in serious disease states; if not treated immediately, a person will die. What you eat really has no bearing on the pH of blood.

Interestingly, the alkaline diets is one of the few that does not demonize sugar or starches. This, however, is in stark contrast to what research tells us; sugar and diets high in starch (read: carbohydrates) are associated with a number of diseases, including many of the diseases the alkaline diet purports to fight.

What The Alkaline Diet Gets Right

How the proponents of the alkaline diet say that it works does not really stack up against what we know to be true about biochemistry. Regardless, many people claim that there are a number of health benefits associated with the diet.

The one thing the alkaline diet gets right is that it promotes an abundance of whole foods, including fruits and vegetables. Any health benefits offered by the alkaline diet are likely due to the inclusion of these types of foods.

The Alkaline Diet Vs. The Kaufmann Diet

The alkaline diet is in stark contrast to what the Kaufmann Diet promotes. While it is possible to eat on the Kaufmann Diet without including animal protein, the reasons the alkaline diet excludes foods like meat and eggs does not constitute a good enough reason to exclude them. In other words, eating animal protein––particularly when it is organic, grass-fed, wild-caught, or otherwise responsibly sourced––is not unhealthy.

In fact, particularly if you are suffering from a fungal infection, eating a diet rich in protein and fats might work towards clearing that infection up. Eliminating sugar, carbohydrates, and starches from the diet works towards this end, as well, which would necessarily include limiting fruit.

Ultimately, the alkaline diet might include some benefits, but not for the reasons it purports. However, some of the foods it encourages likely do more to subtract from health than add to it.

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