The alkaline diet, also known as the alkaline ash diet, is often talked about in celebrity circles, with Victoria Beckham, Tom Brady, and Kate Hudson all said to have followed the plan. Supporters of the diet claim it has many health benefits. It can help you lose weight, and may even help those fighting chronic kidney disease and cancer. It sounds too good to be true, right?
Let’s discover if the hype of the alkaline diet is fact or fiction. Here’s a look at what the alkaline diet is, how it works, common alkaline foods, and the possible advantages of an alkaline diet.
- 1 What is the alkaline diet?
- 2 How do alkaline diets work?
- 3 What are alkaline foods?
- 4 Alkaline diet pros and cons
- 5 Is the alkaline diet good for you?
- 6 The bottom line: Do alkaline diets work?
- 7 Lose weight with fasting
What is the alkaline diet?
The alkaline diet is based on the simple principle that if you lower your body’s pH level by avoiding acid-forming foods and drinks, you can enjoy better health, boost your metabolism, and reduce the risk of developing serious chronic conditions such as kidney disease and cancer.
How do alkaline diets work?
To understand how alkaline diets work, you first need to understand metabolism and how acidic foods might affect it.
Metabolism refers to how your body converts food into energy, often likened to a fire, as it’s how your body “burns” calories. It works similarly to burning a log on a flame, as breaking down food into energy involves creating a chemical reaction in the body which leaves an “ash” or residue. This leftover residue in your body is known as metabolic waste.
Depending on the food you consume, this waste can be acidic, neutral, or alkaline. The theory behind the alkaline diet suggests that consuming foods that cause acidic metabolic waste can harm your body. On the flip side, eating foods that leave an alkaline (non-acidic) residue can be productive and improve your health.
A pH scale measures acidic value, which can be monitored from urine. This scale runs from 0-14, with seven classed as neutral and less acidic (alkaline) foods scoring more than 7.
Alkaline diet benefits revolve around the theory that consuming more alkaline foods to reduce the acidity of the waste in your bloodstream prompts better health.
What are alkaline foods?
Alkaline foods have a low acidity level and a pH value of more than 7. The best alkaline foods tend to be plant-based, so you find a lot of fruit and veggies in the alkaline diet. See below what foods to eat and which to avoid on the alkaline diet:
Top alkaline foods to eat
- Non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, leafy greens, cabbage)
- Fresh fruit
- Unsweetened fruit juice
- Almonds and nuts
- Almond milk
- Soy foods
- Coconut oil
- Mineral soda water
Neutral foods to limit
- Starches like rice, oats, quinoa, and potatoes.
- Natural fats, including butter and olive oil.
Acid-forming foods to avoid
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice-cream
- Processed food
- High-protein foods
- Rice, corn, and wheat
- Sugary sodas
- Peanuts and walnuts
Alkaline diet pros and cons
Experts have mixed opinions about the alkaline diet. Supporters claim that lowering your blood-acid levels has health benefits, although this is a theory, and there is insufficient evidence to say this diet can help you achieve this.
One small study does suggest that following a diet with reduced protein intake like the alkaline diet may be beneficial for those with chronic kidney disease and cancer. Still, most experts believe that food alone can’t change your body’s pH value, and changing the body’s acidity levels is unnecessary, as the body “has an amazing ability to maintain a steady pH, regardless of diet.”
Is the alkaline diet good for you?
Despite a lack of evidence to support many of the claimed benefits of the alkaline diet, the plan does restrict junk food, limit sugar intake, and prompt eating more fruit and vegetables, all healthy eating habits.
The upshot is that the alkaline diet involves eating healthy plant-based foods. However, it lacks protein, and there’s no reliable evidence to suggest that following this diet alone will affect your body’s pH levels.
Following a less restrictive version of the diet and including helpings of healthy proteins and grains could benefit health and aid weight loss, all wise dietary practices that could easily be incorporated into your intermittent fasting plan during mealtimes.
Last Updated on June 26, 2023