Acid alkaline diet is a very hot topic!
During my debates in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, I have been asked many questions and one of frequently asked one was related to food combining and body acidity in relation to acid forming foods.
I have been researching acid alkaline diet for a while as the whole alkaline diet thing has never made too much sense to me and I can see more and more how people are spending too much money on alkaline diets, I mean different products, promising great results.
First of all, what is the acid/alkaline diet?
It is based around the idea that the foods you eat can alter the acidity or alkalinity (the pH value) of your body. When you burn the foods and get energy (calories) from it the food leave an “ash” residue which is either acidic, alkaline or neutral and the alkaline diet propagators claim that this actually can leave your body either acidic or alkaline. Acid ash is thought to make you vulnerable to illness and disease, whereas alkaline ash is considered protective. By choosing more alkaline foods, you should be able to “alkalize” your body hence improve your health.
Certain food groups are considered acidic, alkaline or neutral:
- Acidic: Dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, grains and alcohol.
- Neutral: Natural fats, starches and natural sugars.
- Alkaline: Fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables.
Now, a pH level measures how acid or alkaline something is. A pH of 0 is totally acidic while a pH of 14 is completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Those levels vary throughout your body. Your blood is slightly alkaline, with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Your stomach is very acidic due to hydrochloric acid (HCl), with a pH of between 2-3.5 so it can break down food. And your urine changes, depending on what you eat and yes, the food ashes has some impact on your urine, but not your blood! The alkaline diet claims to help your body maintain its blood pH level. Kidneys (renal system) are mainly responsible for keeping your blood slightly alkaline together with the respiratory system. The food you eat has nothing to do with it. However, as I mentioned previously food may change the pH value of the urine 1,2.
Urine pH is not a reliable indicator of your body pH. For instance, if you are a sportsman/woman you may know that after a physical activity your urine is highly acidic not due to the food you ate, but simply due to a physical activity and all chemical reactions your body is going through and, of course, acids are formed as well. Bottom line, urine pH is actually a very poor indicator of overall body pH and general health. It can be influenced by many factors other than diet.
I would be careful with claims such as that acid forming diets causes osteoporosis (loss of bone density)3, 4, 5 and even cancer. There are certainly many other aspects/risks, not only what we eat and digest. The current research doesn’t support this either. I do not want to say that eating alkalizing foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are not making any difference, They actually are as they are saving our body regulatory mechanisms to work better and longer (like if you have a virus on your computer and your comp is using its mechanisms to fix it). Raw foods make a huge difference (especially huge amounts of phytonutrients, chlorophyll and antioxidants!), what I’m trying to point out is the fact that the alkaline diet is a hypothesis and we cannot blame only acid forming foods for our health issues.
I hope you find this short article helpful and leave me your message below if you have any questions.