The Alkaline Diet
By now, you have probably heard about the Alkaline Diet. Proponents of this plan say that by replacing acid forming foods with alkaline forming foods, you can improve your health and prevent or cure cancer.
Is this fact or fiction? Sometimes on the internet, it can be difficult to tell the difference! However, we are going to rely on scientific fact to weed out what can be proven, and what is nothing more than snake oil.
Elle Macpherson says that she lost weight and lost all of her cravings for sugar on the diet
An Overview of the Alkaline Diet
The basic idea behind the alkaline diet is that foods change your blood and body tissue into an alkaline or acid base. This means that the actual pH of your blood and body will change, depending on which foods you eat. When the body metabolizes food for energy, you are, in effect, burning up the food in slow motion. The same way ashes are left behind after a wood fire, this ash is either acid or alkaline and this affects the pH of the body.
Proponents of this diet believe that cancer and other illnesses thrive in acidic environments and cannot live in an alkaline environment. By consuming foods that leave an alkaline ash behind, you are making your body an inhospitable place for cancer and disease.
According to the alkaline diet plan, foods are classified like this:
- Acidic Foods: Meat, bacon, chicken, butter, milk, dairy, eggs, poultry, fish, grains, cheese
- Alkaline Foods: Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, potatoes, honey, red wine, rasins, sea salt, mineral water, lentils, baking soda
- Neutral Foods: Natural fats like avocados and coconut oil, natural sugars, starches, tap water
It's interesting to note that some foods, which are acidic in and of themselves, such as lemons and apple cider vinegar, turn into a highly alkaline substance once consumed.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, the leading expert in this area, believes that a high acid forming diet is a more serious problem than anyone is aware of. Dr. Pizzorno published a paper in the distinguished British Journal of Nutrition in 2009 which states that "acidosis" is a real problem that people can solve by making simple changes in their diet.
Unfortunately, whomever came up with this idea doesn't know much about how the body actually works. Let's look at some of the major myths about this diet:
- You can't change the natural pH level of your blood or body tissue. The body has numerous systems in place to maintain its natural pH level, which varies depending on the body part you are talking about. The stomach is severely acid and this is an absolute necessity for breaking down food. The blood stays just slightly alkaline. If you were able to change your blood to a more alkaline or acid state, you would die.
- While proponents of this diet state that you can use urine pH strips to test for lower acid levels, this is also not entirely true. While what you eat CAN change the pH of your urine, this has nothing to do with your blood or body tissue. In fact, your kidneys are what removes excessive amounts of acid or alkaline ash, to keep your body in perfect balance.
- Other so called "benefits" of the alkaline diet, such as stopping cancer or disease, also have no basis in fact. While it is true that tumors grow faster in an acidic environment, this is because cancer makes its own acid. Studies that show cancer cells being killed by baking soda in a petri dish are true, but normal, healthy tissues will also be killed by baking soda in a petri dish. Cancer grows in normal, healthy body tissue that has a slightly alkaline pH.
- By encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables, you can improve your health and possibly prevent cancer. Numerous studies have shown that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is the best cancer protection money can buy.
- You can also improve your health by eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables as studies show lower levels of cholesterol and lower blood pressure levels.
- Many people, including super stars, like Gwynth Paltrow and Elle Macpherson, love the alkaline diet. Elle Macpherson says that, once she started following the alkaline diet, with its balanced ratio of 80/20 alkaline to acid forming foods, she lost weight, had less dry skin, and lost all of her cravings for sugar.
- Unfortunately, by restricting your diet to only eating produce and nuts, you are missing out on vital amino acids and other nutrients, including calcium, protein, and B vitamins that are vital to human survival.
A balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, along with meat and dairy, combined with daily exercise, may not be the most exciting plan, but it has been proven to be effective and healthy. After all, isn't that what you are looking for?