Health food junkies, hold onto your hats: the alkaline diet myth is about to be revealed.
Have you heard about the benefits of eating an alkaline diet? Perhaps (like me) you've even tried out this way of eating in search of better health?
Many alternative health professionals assert that we can influence the pH balance in our bodies (acidic vs. alkaline) by eating a mostly vegetarian diet without sugar and refined carbohydrates. Advocates of alkaline diets claim that this style of eating lowers incidences of cancer, prevents bone loss and kidney stones, and makes certain chronic diseases less likely.
Guess what. None of these health claims have actually been proven.
After my first child was born, I discovered The Body Ecology Diet and became convinced that I was on my way to an early grave unless I could shift my body's pH balance by eating mostly alkalizing foods. While eating more cultured foods and less processed foods certainly helped to turn my health around, I feel it's only fair to shed some light upon the alkaline diet myth.
Normal pH in the human body
Your pH measures how acidic or alkaline things are, with 0 being most acidic and 14 being most alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral.
The pH of the human body varies depending on the body part it’s associated with.
For example, our stomachs must be acidic in order to digest food, with pH ranging from 1.35 – 5. Blood, on the other hand, is slightly alkaline with a pH of 7.35 – 7.45. A woman's vagina is generally acidic, but becomes more alkaline around ovulation, making it more hospitable to sperm.
Your body’s pH is NOT impacted by diet
Our bodies maintain pH levels – regardless of diet – because our survival is entirely dependent on it.
Folks who think they are monitoring their body's pH balance will often perform urine tests. While foods may impact the pH of urine (output of waste), they won’t affect the pH of blood or other vital body parts unless you are very, very ill.
So those pee sticks are not telling you a thing about the pH of your insides. (source)
As with any sensible, nutrient-dense diet, an “alkaline” diet discourages eating processed foods and refined sugars. It also encourages eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and staying hydrated.
That all sounds perfectly fine, and for folks in need of a more cleansing diet due to disease or obesity – a lean toward greens and other veggies may a smart move.
But, contrary to the recommendations of the alkaline diet, protein and animal fat will not turn your body into a toxic vat of acid. In fact, regardless of what you eat, it is very unlikely that you will affect your body's acid/alkaline balance at all.
But diet still matters
The moral of the story is not to go out and eat a big mac and fries washed down with a super-sized coke. Do that enough, and it will kill you regardless of your body's ability to maintain pH balance.
But by all means, enjoy a grass fed burger or steak, and top it with cheese from pasture-raised cows and bacon from properly raised pigs. Don't feel guilty in the slightest – unless you're not sharing with me!
Now that we've determined that meat will not deteriorate your health by making you too acidic, hop over to these posts and to learn:
- Why grassfed beef is good for you
- Why butter (from pasture-raised cows) is a superfood
- And why you should celebrate your secret love for bacon
In my next post I will dispel other popular meat myths including: why meat does not “rot in your stomach” and why eating lots of animal protein will not kill you.
Stay tuned! And be sure to share with your meat fearing family and friends.
Have you tried an alkaline diet?
Share your experience in the comments below.
i think Donna Gates (who wrote Body Ecology Diet) presented the concept of acid/alkaline as a guideline similar to yin and yang– which, as an acupuncturist, you can understand, right? in fact, she even incorporates some bits of information on chinese medicine into her 7 principles.
maybe it is just me, but i always understood her use of “acidic” to mean “inflammatory.” and “acid/alkaline” to be more about balance.
balance between a little meat (which is more dense in nutrient profile) and veggies (which have all those fringe phytonutrients) is a good thing! for me, her breakdown of acid/alkaline helped me to understand my own body.
i especially love her focus on fermented foods. she introduced this concept to me- through her book- when no one else was really talking about it! sally fallon put attention to these food, but donna gates really highlights their value and benefits in a way that makes sense.
and i do not recall her suggesting that we test the pH of our urine?
I did BED two years ago myself and there was nothing in the book about testing for pH levels. One thing the diet did do for me was to help me get more plant food into my diet overall, but I found the 80/20 ratio hard to carry out. Plus the grain meals were seldom satisfying and I ended up eating more when I had them. Though even with that, I feel grateful to her for introducing me to seed grains. Helpful now that I am on a gluten-free diet.
What I found most interesting about the book is that I felt she did try to cater hard to vegetarians while also staying close to WAPF principles. The articles from her web site are more aligned toward real food, praising grass-fed meats, liver, and broth more than I saw in the book.
You have stated here that there is no proof of food affecting the alkalinity of a person’s body. I beg to differ, when a micro biologist/nutritionist started taking blood and studying it from very ill patients of his and then putting them on an alkaline diet, he then would take another sample of blood and he could see huge changes… there has been proof over and over and over again. This man’s name is Dr. Robert Young, you might want to get all the facts before stating something that is just not true. Thank you I do enjoy your posts and have learnt much from you… just wanted to share with you there is scientific evidence of the opposite of what you are stating above.
Click to read more on “Dr.” Robert O. Young: http://www.quackwatch.com/11Ind/young3.html
Just to comment about quackwatch…. that site is very dangerous. It has portrayed many prestigious people that represent alternative medicine to be “quacks”. I can not speak for Dr Robert Young but I can for ones that I personally have studied with along with others that are famous in the herbal world….
Yeah I wouldn’t trust anything from quackwatch – the guy who runs it was de-licensed as a medical provider and is considered un-credible by the courts. More info: http://www.quackpotwatch.org/quackpots/quackpots/barrett.htm
Quackwatch is completely unreliable. Just more propaganda from the AMA/FDA/Big pharma unholy alliance, to keep the $$$ in the hands of the conventional status quo medical field and especially big pharma. http://www.quackpotwatch.org/quackpots/quackpots/barrett.htm
Dee Meadows says
Perhaps you should learn more about chemistry and physiology before you post. Our bodies are not as fragile as some people want us to believe. There is no overall body pH. A low pH is not always bad just because we fear the word “acidic”. Trust me, you want stomachs and vaginas acidic. You should always read the original PEER-REVIEWED scientific article and understand which journals are valid and which are not scientific peer-reviewed.
Michelle Farmer says
Then why did I have to spend so long in nursing school learning about ABGs and respiratory or metabolic acidosis or alkalosis. Your body definitely has a pH range that it is supposed to be at. I wish you had been around during school to tell my teachers so I wouldn’t of had to spend all that time studying! Jeeze…
Dr. EM says
Those things you learned in school were about the pH of the *blood*, which is indeed tightly controlled under normal circumstances. Dee Meadows is also right, in that other systems/parts of our bodies have different pH from our blood. Vaginas and stomachs are very acidic, and that’s good! I think her point was that there isn’t one overall pH of our body, but rather that different parts of our body have different pH.
–Someone who spent even longer than you did learning about ABGs etc (I’m a doctor) 🙂
Bre Burey says
thats is not true the stomach acid is HCL hydro chloric acid and that is water and salt just because its called acid doesnt mean its acidifying, and yeast lives on acid so the vagina should never be acidic… take an alkalizing bath in baking soda and sea salt add a little boron salt and never ever have all those lady problems.. like yeast infections.. the body is alkaline by design and when it becomes acidic low pH potential of hydrogen is low dehydrated after all H2O is hydrogenx2 and oxygen and there is nothing acidic with that… study the periodic table of elements and see the alkali minerals that boost pH and keep it balanced…
jessica autumn says
So all the coffee I’ve been drinking has no ill effects on my PH levels? What lifestyle and environmental factors do affect our bodies PH levels?
Hi Jessica, thanks for your comment. No, coffee and lifestyle will not affect your body’s pH. It’s not to say stress and coffee cannot be bad for you in excess, it’s just that using pH as a marker for health is scientifically unsound. I hope that helps answer your questions.
Dee Meadows says
If I have GIRD, won’t drinking coffe (or wine or soda, for that matter) make it worse because I am drinking something acidic? My doctor told me to stop eating acidic foods (tomatoes, soda, vinegar) to help my stomach heal.
Jake K says
I’ve read into this from both angles: trying to believe in it and then trying to find the flaws of an alkaline diet. In this particular post countering the concept, it basically says diet won’t impact your bodies pH (mainly speaking of blood pH), because your body basically balances itself out. Well this is where I’m not sure where all the sensible critical thinkers are. The alkaline diet does teach that your body naturally balances its own pH from within. But it pulls it from other resources that contain alkalizing minerals…i.e. your bones and muscles. I brought up critical thinking, because if it’s known that your body pulls vital resources from within, then they must be replaced. Whether or not a pee strip shows real time pH for any organ or fluid, you must maintain an overall balance so that those minerals aren’t pulled from your bones, teeth, muscles, etc…I practice eating meat with little restriction, mainly because I just absolutely require it in my diet; however, if something I ate were to make my body more acidic, I supplement daily with pHour salts, green power drinks, green salads, veggies, fruits, and basically anything raw, organic, and/or “alkalizing”. What I’ve determined is that regardless of being able to tell real time pH of my blood, foods making you acidic is a real thing. That your body does in fact balance itself out, but at the cost of vital minerals from within…just supplement and replace what’s being stolen from yourself. You don’t have to be a conservative alkaline freak, just be aware that the number of people with osteoporosis and cancer continually climb to those whose health is impacted by a Western diet.
EXACTLY!!! Very very well said. My thoughts precisely. Your body fights hard to stay in balance…help it by NOT putting the worst “foods” in there, and your organs will be more effective at doing ALL the things they need to do to keep you upright. Geesh!
Dr. Tanelian of “Molecular Fitness” fame, as well as the Yoli diet plan/MLM deal, both market alkalinizing formulas. Using both formulas (not simultaneously) did affect my digestion – not bad or good, just different – and subjectively seemed to augment the benefits from my newly-embraced anti-inflammatory dietary regimen. Perhaps alkalinity in the body is more dependent upon the efficiency and health of the gut rather than ingestion of any one pill or capsule orally. “Clean” eating places less stress on the liver and kidneys, IMHO.
Though I do as much alkaline as possible and I’ve been pescetarian for 25 years, I do feel it’s a good guideline to follow. I will never eat meat other than fish here and there again. My body is happier because of it. Digesting meat never worked out very well for me.
I feel good (in certain ways) from eating meat, and then I feel bad (in certain ways) from eating meat. There is def good and bad for me. I think, personally, my biggest issue is overeating meat in a sitting and it causes an acidic reaction in my body. But if I go even two days without meat, my stomach and head starts feeling “empty” and the second I start eating meat, I feel “fulfilled” again. I have done vegan in the past and it was too hard, I had too many issues.
I have a digestive disease and am extremely sensitive to foods. Vegetables and fruits calm my inflammation. Grains and legumes worsen my inflammation. So do refined sugars and processed ingredients. As for dairy, I have no problem with butter, but milk and cheese worsen my inflammation. As for meat, contrary to the Alkaline Diet recommendations, meat calms my inflammation. I did lose a ton of blood due to my digestive disease. I consume bone broth soups to replace the nutrients I lost and fish for the omega-3s. In fact, I stopped being a vegetarian due to all the blood I had lost. I think the problem with meat for many is that they consume way more than they need, so they experience benefits when they stop consuming it.
What are your thoughts on alkilizing drops?
Bre Burey says
salt is an alkali mineral, same as magnesium, potassium all top of the periodic table of elements that keep pH balanced.. himalayan salt celtic salt all good rock mineral salts.. never ever toxic table salt…
What about the water we drink ? is it true that high akalized water cleans out toxins?/ or is that a myth too??
Hi Erika, thanks for your question. I’m not sold on the alkaline water craze – I think water should simply be free of contaminants and mineral rich. I do think that alkaline foods can be used for cleansing and this can include dark leafy greens, other vegetables, and good water. These foods won’t, however, make the body more alkaline.
Emily I am wondering what you are basing your opinions on, where are you getting your sources from stating it makes no difference? As there has been much study done on when a person is just juicing and what happens to the body, through blood … very interested in hearing where you are receiving your info from? thanks sharon
Perhaps it is fine for some people to live on an alkaline diet. Maybe some will do well using it for cleansing. I know from my experience of being raised on one was not beneficial for me. Speaking from my own experience- I became healthy when I rebelled as a teenager and began eating small amounts of meat and dairy.
Every body is different, every body probably requires different types of food based on their own genetics and history. I believe in BALANCE. After eating alkaline for many years I would get terribly ill if I had to eat anything out of my diet restrictions. I feel like it is extremely important for my gut health to keep my body strong and able to digest whatever I might be stuck eating- especially while traveling.
In 1995, Young himself was charged with two third-degree felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, but pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge. He drew blood from two women, told them they were ill, and then sold them herbal products to treat their “illnesses.” Young argued that he “looked at the women’s blood and simply gave them some nutritional advice.”
In 2001, Young was charged with another felony in Utah when a woman suffering from cancer claimed he analyzed her blood and told her to stop chemotherapy and take his “Super Greens” product instead. Young told the woman that he had cured people suffering from AIDS, the affidavit alleged. A month later Young was arrested when an undercover agent went to him for a consultation. Young allegedly analyzed her blood and prescribed a liquid diet. A judge ordered Young to stop drawing blood or risk being denied bail. *
Have you read into blood types and what they digest best? Apparently different blood types are better at digesting certain diets and they seem to prefer/not prefer them. Heard a little about it and it was very interesting; also seemed to match the people I know. I really need to look more into it (and really have been meaning to) but thought it was relevant to the topic. Seems like a concept worth getting more familiar with! You may be interested by it or already know that- just thought I’d throw it out there!
I agree with you Ella, every body is different. I am much like you, it sounds like.
@Sommer’s comment – yea Eat Right for Your Blood Type by Dr D’Adamo. Great stuff.
Lindsay Christianson says
My understanding is that body acidity is not necessarily the cause of disease in and of itself at least in the sense of it directly having an effect on your blood acidity directly, but rather the acidity is an indicator or result of disease which can, of course, be impacted by diet and nutrition. The implications of this is that it is not necessary to be overly concerned with acidity or alkalinity of foods as much as a varied, high quality, nutrient packed diet. If you stave off disease in general you can avoid overly acidic blood and thus avoid more complicated diseases like cancer which require an acid environment to thrive…
I’ve never done an alkaline diet, but I have a friend who did. She was diagnosed with several forms of cancer and went on a nutritional therapy that was vegan/alkaline. Within 9 months, she was deemed cancer free. It worked for her. On the other hand, I’ve heard about people healing disease on a Paleo diet, which, of course includes lots of meat. I personally think everyone’s body is unique and needs different things to heal. I also think sometimes it can be good to cut out a food group like meat, dairy or grains for a short period. If you have eaten some foods your whole life, you may not even realize they are causing you problems until you cut them out and see the problem disappear or come back when you reintroduce them. But that is just my observation and opinion.
I’m on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet. I consume very little meat. The Paleo Diet allows meat, but it also allows vegetables and fruits. You could be on the Paleo Diet and eat no meat if you wanted to.
I can only speak for myself, but for me hit has work to be in the watch to keep a balanced PH, alkaline.. there are many foods which are acidic, and they create lots of issues, well create inflammation then other issues.. I have kept cancer free thanks to an vegetarian, alkaline diet.. and yes there are others who have healed doing the paleo.. but more and more studies are coming out as to what acidity eventually does to the body.. we are all different, as to how our bodies process everything, so I would not say this or that is not good, or totally disregard it.. now a days what creates so much inbalance, acidity and disease/inflamation, is the GMOS, the use of hormones, of pesticides in our foods.. I know many healthy people who eat butter and drink raw milk BUT those are grass fed cows.. I think to say that “none of the claims have been proven ….” is not too smart (well I should say is a bit arrogant ~ none knows everything, nor all things work for everyone… )… there are now tons of people and cases being compiled of people who have healed on the alkaline diet, (including and many with cancers, and serious chronic disease) and I am sure with Paleo diet, or GAPs diet, we are all in the search of what works for each of us , so no need to discard one theory over another.. anyway, that is my personal experience and my humble opinion; the good thing is that people are wanting to eat healthy and live healthy at every level.. that is wonderful!!!! Namaste
Kathleen Pearson says
I agree with you for the most part, Angelina. I believe that there is sound science behind the idea that eating fewer foods that need acid to digest them and eating more foods that require an alkaline digestive juice to digest them is a sound course to follow for good health. Emotions and attitudes can also cause an over acid reaction in the chemistry of the body. I know from my own experience that eating the wrong combination of foods and eating foods that either stay acid or require acid to digest them, are detrimental to my health causing my blood acid to rise to alarming levels. Inflammation is also a side effect of becoming over acid. When ever I eat foods that remain acid in the body, like vinegar, or require acid to be digested, Osteoarthritis flares up in my body. Blood type and individual physiology are factors as well. There is no scientific doubt that people who eat a mostly vegetarian diet are healthier than those who eat a mainly acid (meat, sweets, fats and grains) producing diet.
Vinegar is a fermented alkalining food
Dee Meadows says
Vinegar has a pH of 2-3…how can that be alkaline?
In the body it becomes alkaline
Bre Burey says
white vinegar is acidifying and feeds yeast but Apple cider vinegar Braggs is fermented with mother in and that leaves an alkaline ash after digestion so yes its good and alkalizing..
I went as far as getting an alkaline water filter and the book the allaline diet. The water tastes amazing so I have kept with it. In the book, they were against Nything with vinager in it, so they made a salad dressing using oil and fruit juice. As I know about the many health benifits that apple cider vinager has, I decided to not bother with the book.
I think that we can get all caught up in this diet or that diet. And quite simply, eat like your grandma did. Buy meat raised as nature intended, dairy products that have been raised and processed as they been done for hundreds of years. Plants grown in the age old tradition of looking after the soil etc, and then get on and enjoy yourself, heck, you could even throw in the odd chocolate bar! I think our health has more to do with our emotional state than we know at the moment. Obviously eat well, but be happy, let god take care of the rest.
Excellent advice Liz! We need to get back to clean eating. Best Regards
Great article. I’ve wondered about this diet. I appreciate getting the facts. The challenge with grass fed meat is simply cost and availability.
Actually I became too alkaline because I decided to juice and juiced for too long. My sinuses were terrible. Once I stopped juicing and supplemented with calamo my ph stabilized and my sinus infections went away. Very funny how everyone is so worried about being too acidic:) great post!
Dee Meadows says
Why would juicing cause you to be alkaline? And how were you measuring your pH? Urine? Blood? Skin? All have different pH.
Yes, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I find that if I consume too many whole vegetables in too short a time, then the fiber will overwhelm my stomach and I’ll be in extreme pain until the vegetables get to the intestines.
I totally agree about our bodies constantly maintaining homeostasis with whatever we consume and do. It’s the body’s survival mechanism. I just wonder what it depletes from us as it does this. For instance, doesn’t the body leech calcium from our bones to neutralize the body when there are high amounts of acid present? This can lead to osteoporosis. What are your thoughts?
Check out this journal article. It seems like a decent overall review about the alkaline diet. It’s probably doesn’t answer all our questions but it does touch on some of them.
The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits
Kathleen Pearson says
Here’s more on the metabolic pH~
The science :
Kathleen Pearson says
I found this helpful as well. As I have said before, modern diet and it’s resultant metabolic acidosis is the primary cause of illness we see in the USA today.
What do you think about this journal article??
The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195546/#B14
I don’t know about this…for, at least anecdotally, I have seen it happen with one of my clients. A client who had been fighting cancer returning for some time, went on a highly alkaline diet with whole foods supplements (alkanlizing) and had her blood pH tested before, during, and after. Her pH went from 5 (where it had been testing for some time) at the beginning of this initial 21 day program, to 7 by the end.
Then, after the process was completed, she, unfortunately did not stay on the diet (or the maintenance supplements), and her blood pH became more acidic again.
Dan d says
Impossible. If her blood pH was 5, she would have been long dead!
You state that there is evidence. Where is your evidence for your claims?
Hi Lori, this post is documented with sources, but if you’d like more info, this two part article by Chris Kresser goes into more detail:
Dr Robert Young he is a microbiologist/ naturopath and has studied blood and food and it’s related affect on one another. His findings are amazing… look him up him and his wife has written one book called the ph miracle… scientific evidence of how our bodies react to food and stress … it’s a mind opener 🙂
I had heard (and it makes sense to me) that to keep your body in balance, it takes calcium from your bones to modify an over-adcidic pH. Several friends who do a lot of meat and potatoes diet have osteopina or osteoporosis. FWIW/
Dee Meadows says
Correlation does not equal causation
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I believe you are spot on – one of the leading researchers and pioneers of advanced biomedical technologies: Aubrey de grey said that the blood does an extraordinary job of maintaining blood ph levels within a range of 0.1 and that what you eat has no effect on it whatsoever.
I also recommend supporting his work which sums to eradicate entirely all age related disease!
the website: http://sens.org
I wouldn’t personally like to say whether or not the alkaline Diet actually works, and I don’t have proof to say either yes or no. I do think that for some people it has worked and worked extremely well, others not so well, and for some, not at all.
Having said that, if any of these so called diets make people feel better, have a healthier life style, loose weight, even in the act of changing diets, cures a person of certain heath problems; “Are they bad.???”.
If your thinking of any diets, my advise would be to check with you doctor first. They know your medical history etc. etc. and can advise you what are your best options…
I’m confused by this post and the following discussion. I haven’t seen any promoters of the alkaline diet claiming that an acidic diet changes your blood pH. It’s my understanding that the justification for the alkaline diet isn’t that a disproportionate amount of acidic food makes your blood acidic; rather, the justification is that a disproportionate amount of acidic food wears out your body as it works to maintain the blood pH balance (causing inflammation, etc.). If that’s true, then nothing you’ve said contradicts the basic argument behind an increased ratio of alkaline foods relative to acidic (assuming you’re starting out with a typical, highly acidic diet). That said, I wish I understood why one is supposed to maintain an 80/20 ratio of alkaline to acidic foods. It seems like 50/50 should do the trick. A 50/50 ratio would be easier, that’s for sure.
Hi Nora! I am so glad you posted this comment and you are spot on!! I have read every post in this discussion, scrolling down and down, trying to find SOMEBODY who makes this point and understands the goal of the alkaline diet. It seems like almost all, except for 1 or 2, posters before you have completely missed the point of the diet (in my humble opinion). The diet is not supposed to change the pH of your body, your blood, etc. Like you’ve all said, there isn’t much that can do that. Your body does that for you. The goal is to **lessen the strain** it takes for your body to do so. A body working only minimally to maintain its pH is going to be healthier than a body that is working itself to death to maintain its pH. It’s like when a woman is pregnant: taking prenatal vitamins is advised. If the woman does NOT take any vitamins, then fine–the baby will probably still be healthy. But this does not mean you should say “Oh, great! The vitamins were just a load of crap all along! Turns out you don’t need them!”……..No. The vitamins keep a woman’s body from straining, struggling, starving itself to care for the baby, which it will do at all costs. It is relatively rare for a miscarriage to occur from malnutrition, BUT a malnourished pregnant woman’s body is going to suffer when it has to devote all its energy to the baby, at the cost of the mother’s poor health. I really hope we can re-direct this conversation and get to the bottom of this “myth”! I want to do this diet to permanently cure my chronic hand eczema–which I’ve only had since giving birth to my son.
Dee Meadows says
Your body doesn’t strain to maintain pH. Because the foods you eat don’t have any thing to do with this. Most Americans are not malnourished either. This is stuff people say to sell easy-fix amazing diets, like the alkaline one. Read REAL science articles in a peer-reviewed journal- not something you see on TV late at night.
Also, I wanted to mention–I think the 80/20 ratio is only advised when one is trying to OVERCOME an illness or a detour from health. A much more balanced ratio of about 60/40 is recommended for trying to MAINTAIN health. I believe the 80/20 ratio is only supposed to be done temporarily, until a certain set of unhealthy symptoms subside, and then one can return to a more balanced ratio. I’m guessing 60/40 would be better than 50/50 because a 60% alkaline diet would ensure you “stay alkaline”.
I don’t know about your ph vs acid but regardless of if ur meat is grass fed it will clog your arteries, have you piss calcium for 2 hours after you eat it, give you heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, mad cow, on & on. I wouldn’t put too much stock in anyone telling you butter (of any kind) is a frickin super food. Hello….
Based on what I’ve read, I think that feasting on wild animals, or mostly grass fed meat, provides lower fat contens, better omega-3/omega-6 ratio’s, and other important variations that make them healthier than the more common grocery store stuff.
The key word the all BS artists use now a days is that there is no proof?
You will find the proof when you die from an acidic diet.
I have been a health nut for 45 years now, I think I have allot more experience here then she will have for 40 more years.
I eat very little meat in comparison to my veggies, I also practice other ways to keep alkaline,
I am 66 an a perfect example of good health.
You are informed! I lot of posts here are just misinformation. I for one know the alkaline diet works.
Dan d says
Well said. The author of this article states that nothing we eat affects our blood ph. Well that part is true. But the body, in balancing that ph robs minerals from other parts of the body. Duh. cts our blood ph
Well, quite the varied opinions and evidence of many people. I am not someone who has tested the alkaline diet or gone paleo, yada, yada, yada. I have over the years tried many different ideas, as many have, to just feel better and look better. Over the time, I have come to one conclusion and this article still backs it up as do all the following commentary. Nutrition at the end of the day decides it all. Many factors play into health. You can eat organic all your life and die young of malnutrition. alkalinity can help or not help. True, the body requires alkaline to neutralize acid to help keep the ph of the body balanced, how else would it achieve it? The issue is more the fact as to whether your body can spare this to do that job. Certain nutrients are needed to achieve the full processing of protein, carbs, fiber, etc and unfortunately a lot of those cannot be obtained from food anymore, organic or not, because the ground has been abused for so long. I’m sure many of you have watched movies like foodmatters and know that the soil is sadly lacking and has been for many, many years. Simple carbs are instant energy as I am sure you know, so unless you are doing or have just done some intense exercise, keep these to a minimum. Vegetables bring many micronutrients that you cannot get from meat and vice versa. We are all omnivores and are thus supposed to have some level of meat and veg and fish. Fish is very important as it is a major source of essential fats as is other seafood. Looking healthy does not always mean being healthy unfortunately. I know everyone has their opinion on what works but one thing I do know is that I don’t know everything because it is impossible to do. Learn all that you can. Take on other opinions and don’t dismiss them. Thank you to everyone who has posted comments here because I have learned a lot but nutrition in its entirely which equals balance is I think the overall goal. Nutrition in my mind includes meditation and always doing what you can to avoid the invisible predators like EMFs. You cannot say, unfortunately, that one thing worked when you may have inadvertently changed something else you did too. Health and wealth and my best wishes to all of you. I really hope you find the balance for you. I found one that works and when cashflow (the overall evil) allows, that’s what I shall be doing. Just felt like putting in my thoughts :). Namaste
Acidic diets may not affect the actual pH of the body, but that surely isn’t to say they are without health detriments. Acidosis can lead to bone degradation, and the fact that so many cancer patients are able to remiss after eliminating these foods just goes to show that an acidic state is cancer promoting.
Ron L says
Interesting article. I think some of the many promoters of the alkaline diet say that the problem is that acid foods cause the tissues of the body to become acidic rather than the blood. In order to maintain the blood at its alkaline range, the body transfers the diet-produced acids from the blood to the tissues. And they say that having acidic tissues causes health problems, low oxygen environment, breeding ground for illness. Don’t know if this theory is true.
Sylvia RN MSN NP-C says
As a nurse practitioner, I think those people must not understand the basics on how your body tightly regulates ph by kidneys/lungs- it’s one of the most basic things we learn in nursing school. If our body ph was affected so much by foods, we’d all be dead! We have such a narrow ph range at which we can survive! We check ph all the time in the ED to which reflects how kidneys are functioning (metabolic acidosis/alkalosis) and also lungs (respiratory alkalosis/acidosis). The only time you could change your ph from food intake is by taking a huge number of antacids (very unnatural in the normal food world). I agree- don’t worry about PH, eat whole & healthy foods & your body will take care of the rest!
It is true that grass fed meat is always better, natural anything is always better. My definition of natural is anything from nature not altered by humans. But it is a lie that meat is not acidic, especially when compared to plants. The truth is, if we consume a diet with more plants, and not necessarily less good meat or less good fats, the same amount is fine, we will live a longer life with less disease and sickness. I don’t know if this was mentioned in any of the comments, but I felt it was necessary to mention. Don’t get too optimistic people, you can’t just only eat meat and fats even if they’re from healthy sources! We need three times at least the amount of vegetables to meat on a daily basis to maintain optimal health, optimal efficiency, and therefore optimal lifespan. I don’t know if anyone’s considering this here on this website. Consider the amount of toxins you could possibly inhale through the air alone let alone your water for one example. Plastic, mercury, lead, and radiation is another story! Meat alone isn’t going to help rid your body of them. Eating green leafy foods is like a super vitamin. The Chinese and the Mediterranean diet are surely ones to follow if you would like to live to your own personal DNAs lifespan if you don’t know anything or much about medical science and the body’s physiology and anatomy. Everybody’s different and some people have stronger bodies than others because their DNA is stronger or maybe they were fortunate and had a family with that could afford three regular meals a day. My mother for one, will probably live to probably 90 in most of her life she ate junk simple carbs and unhealthy meats barely any vegetables and lots of cheeses. I’m her first daughter and I’d be lucky if I could do the same! I’m not so fortunate! I believe that I could possibly littil at if I do all the right things for my body. I’m in extreme pain everyday and I do notice an improvement when I would eat more dark green leafy vegetables in my diet. The improvement is immediate and I get better sleep that same night. The key is to just listen to your body, if something is bothering you clearly you need to figure it out. If you don’t, you will either only get worse (not make you stronger), and then one day get you sick. That sickness could come and go,, or last for the rest of your life and then one day kill you. All depends on your DNA and what it says you’re prone to. We can all prevent our genetic diseases and dispositions if we only try. It’s not hard to eat better green leaves and it’s not hard to get over the taste eventually. Especially when you feel the difference. Some of us get old and eventually realize this but some of us never do and hopefully those of you who never will, will read this and change your delusion or ignorance.
Nothing important can ever be said in few words.
Elizabeth Sparkman says
In your article, you assert quite a few claims, but what factual evidence can you provide to support your theories?
Hi Elizabeth, your question has already been answered within the comments. However, I’ll answer again: This post is documented with sources, but if you’d like more info, this two part article by Chris Kresser goes into more detail:
Hope this helps!
Regina Lovetere says
Forgive me if this was answered in the comments, but what are your thoughts on alkaline water? I’ve been drinking it consistently for over 2 years now and have seen two obvious health benefits; my acid reflux due to gallbladder removal is controlled and I’ve yet to get sick (flu, cold, etc.) since adding it to my diet. It’s been my only consistency for the last 2 years, even during times where my diet consisted of Ramen and fast food. I really admire your blog and would love to hear what you think of the water. Thanks!
Emily Bartlett says
Hi Regina, I’m not sold on alkaline water. I think water should be free of contaminants and be mineral rich. Alkaline foods can be used for cleansing and this can include dark leafy greens, other vegetables, and good water. These foods won’t make the body more alkaline, though.
Please allow me to correct you on this article. Sadly people these days have no ethics and will write and say anything in order to get paid by the different food industries.
Let’s take a look at the source you are citing and consider as authoritative, CHRIS KRESSER. CHRIS KRESSER replies the following about Dr. Robert Young who is one if not the main pioneer of the PH education movement.
The approach used by Dr. Young is very confronting and challenging because it turns a lot of what we know upside down….I have studied with him for a few years now and am convinced that some of his innovative ideas have merit and will in time be embraced by mainstream science. We need innovators or pathfinders who are not afraid to challenge existing believes….even if it is just for the exercise of questioning what is believed to be true….I have been following James’s comments for a long while and believe him to be sincere and knowledgeable ….and to compare his views with Dr. Young’s is going to set in motion an avalanche. Stay open to new ideas, research and come to conclusions that are based on innovative science rather than old and often out dated paradigms.”
So here we have the one and only source you are citing for your article admitting that he has actually studied with Dr. Young and doesn’t disagree with him but rather recognizes that he is right.
Who ever has eyes to see let them see. The truth is obvious, alkalinity is of utmost importance to your health and natural balance of the body. The reason why no much difference in PH is noticed in the blood based on what you eat is because maintaining an alkaline balance in the blood is so important that the body sacrifices whatever it can to help maintain this. This means that because you don’t see a change in blood PH is not perfectly fine to have meat, bacon, eggs and all the rest of the highly acidic foods. If you continue having acid foods it will be at the cost of sacrificing other vital organs or parts of your body to cope with the avalanche of acidity thrown at it.
In case you still disagree with this, I invite you too look at Dr Robert Young’s carefully explained evidence on his many published books and even for free on the internet. Many other medical doctors around the world agree and have further confirmed Dr Young’s research and evidece.
The ultimate evidence to this however is the incredible change and well being you feel after changing to an alkaline diet. If you hav not eaten an alkaline / raw vegan diet for a year you are not able to make a valid judgement on this.
In conclusion Please note that you are not dispelling or revealing anything on this article, in the contrary you are blinding people that could drastically improve their health or life threatening diseases if it were not for these kind of posts.
Russ Cashin says
I must disagree with your article Emily. There is considerable evidence that a high acid load on the body is harmful. You can read more at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195546/. This NIH summary includes over 50 references to supporting studies & research indicating that an Alkaline diet is beneficial to health, including this one indicating that Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2597402/. I have seen the evidence first hand that an alkaline diet improves overall well-being.
Erik Johansson Andersson says
but Isn’t it beneficial to minimize the amount of effort required by the body in order to maintain balance?
Emily Bartlett says
Hi Erik, sure, that is a good idea. However, there is a lot of undue emphasis on alkalizing foods and that is really what the article is about.
Why foods affect everyone in different ways can be explained by Dr Bruce Lipton through Qantum Physics and the science of Epigenetics. Our cellular community of over 50 trillion cells responds to what we think, what we eat and our environment. Brilliant, and you don’t have to have a degree to understand. His books are informative, interesting and fun to read.
Wow! Emily, you really stirred up some stuff there! I, for one, am grateful for your article. I’ve been having crazy GI stuff going on for six months, have tried GAPS diet only to have my symptoms kick up again and recently ended up on a super strict elimination diet with lots of meat, fish, and only three vegetables. It’s tough because I love vegetables! But I keep reacting to everything. I think it may be yeast overgrowth or some other crazy microbes (I find out test results today) so I was surfing around and found BED. Needless to say it was upsetting to me to read Donna Gates say that the amounts of the only food I can tolerate right now might be causing me harm.
So thank you, Emily! Your article has offered me peace of mind right now until I can get rid of some of these little rascals that are creating havoc in my gut and get back to a more balanced diet that I long for.
Three times in the past 12 years or so, I have developed a fairly acute inflammatory condition that was at first diagnosed at Rheumatoid Arthritis. At that time, I was put on first prednisone and then methotrexate by rheumatologists.
About 9 months later I heard a Tony Robbins CD about alkalinity and acidity and I did the cleanse he recommended on the CD. For 5 days I didn’t eat any food and drank 10 glasses of water (I put Crystal Light Sugar Free Lemonade in the water because the taste of the green drink almost gagged me) with a big tablespoon and a half of The Perfect Food, which is a green drink made by Garden of Life. It is a powder that has spirulina, alfalfa, wheat grass, lemon grass, etc. in it. He said I could use any of the green drinks and that they were all about the same. After four days, 98% of my pain was gone (and the pain prior to the medication was excruciating). For a few days, I started eating salads and kept drinking the 10 glasses of green a day, and then went back to my regular diet around 10 days after I started the cleanse/fast, but kept drinking a glass or two of the green a day. Two week later, I discontinued the methotrexate and was fine for several years.
It has come back twice, from first a separation, then a divorce and each time it came on because of stressful situations and me eating a lot of fast food and gaining weight and not going to the gym or exercising regularly. If I lose weight, and drink either a green drink or a lot of fresh vegetable and fruit juices that I make with a juicer at home, it goes away. So I don’t know if it’s the acidity is lowered, or my body is able to heal itself by receiving the necessary micronutrients in the vegetables and fruits, but it goes away and I feel better and my cholesterol drops and my blood sugar.
I too have an autoimmune disease. I find that consuming large quantities of whole vegetables and fruits helps. I find that grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugars, and processed ingredients worsens my inflammation. Meaty bone broth soups are helping replace many of the nutrients that I lost from losing too much blood. Fish provides omega-3s, which are anti-inflammatory. So I’m finding meat to be a benefit for inflammation. However, I can see how some people may not need meat, especially those who have consumed too much meat in the past.
Emily, I am curious what your thoughts on food combining are. The Body Ecology Diet also dictates that you should not eat proteins and carbs together. Fruit should be eaten alone. No grains with that meat and veggies. I don’t get why this is supposed to be helpful.
Emily Bartlett says
Hi Meghan, While there may indeed be benefits to food combining, I haven’t found it relevant to my life and haven’t felt the need to apply it.
I have acid reflux and do find that the alkalizing system works for me. Eating a teaspoon of mustard (acidic, but very alkalizing in the body) for example, has worked better than antacids. Many things that work have not been proven. I’m not an alternative medicine fanatic, but I’d rather just eat a healthy diet than take Pepto Bismol and Nexium every day. Especially since nexium can cause renal failure (something that also was not proven until recently…)
It’s very sad to me to see young people like this write an entire article claiming something they believe to be true that is detrimental and even dangerous to their audience. The most basic research will show that the body does indeed attempt to maintain an alkaline pH balance at all costs; however this is often at the cost of our bone density for one thing. When we are feeding our bodies poisons and it is scrambling to keep our body alkaline it is often taking calcium from our bones in order to do so. And that’s only the beginning.
I beg to differ with the article about the alkaline diet. I am doing the diet and have never felt better. My arthritis is getting better, along with my IC symptoms. Before you start ripping this diet apart, I think you should try it. Perhaps at this time in your life you are not suffering from the affects of acidity in your diet. However, as you age, the symptoms will pop up unless you take measure to reduce the amount of acid you take in.
Our bodies are constantly working to maintain proper conditions. They are exposed to dangerous toxins, stresses, bad food choices etc. With this being said are blood pressures always in constant normal areas? No, how about our kidney functions are they always in constant normal areas? No. And the list goes on. Do you think our acid/alkaline readings are always in the normal areas? I say No they are not but the nice thing is that the human body can adjust but with the right tools. Bad food is makeing many people FAT all through America. And America has more sick people then ever before especially cancer. Now say food don’t matter it does. Americans are eating less green vegetation and more processed garbage out of drive threws and look at how fat and sick they are! Yes food matters!
James Irving says
Thank you! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. My wife has been telling me the acidity level in the meat I eat will give me cancer. I’m showing her this article ASAP.
It doesn’t matter whether or not meat is acidic. Consuming too much of it can cause health problems. It can also increase the risk of getting certain cancers, such as colon cancer.
Your body has built in buffers to maintain balance. Once these are exhausted you see imbalances in acid/base. Your urine can be a helpful indicator as to what is going on in your body. If your urine is acidic your body is excreting acids to maintain blood ph and keep it alkaline. Too much meat and sugar can increase acidity and in the long run put too much work on the liver and kidneys. You also have to consider that how much oxygen you are getting plays a role in acidosis and alkalosis. Carbonic acid is produced by CO2 and accumulates in the blood stream. An alkaline diet can be beneficial for smokers and people with lung disorders. Just as many alkalizing foods can be detrimental to people with kidney disease/failure.
Maria A. Molina says
Absolutely great tips.
I hear you on all of this but I’d like to shed some light on this. I have a condition called laryngopharyngeal reflux – it causes an inflamed trachea and larynx that makes it difficult for me to breathe and causes a chronic cough that brings me to vomit once it’s progressed. All of this to say, I was given acid-reducing medication which completely destroyed my stomach – causing a whole host of other symptoms. I didn’t know what to do and ultimately found dr. Jaime koufman who recommended a completely acid-free diet. After over 15 years of suffering, it helped. But my symptoms weren’t gone. It was only when I went vegan and eliminated meat – that everything shifted. I love red meat and enjoyed it. The acid free diet and dr’s who treat reflux don’t mention meat and milk as trigger foods. But they are. All this to say that proven or not proven, eliminating red meat from my diet reduced acid more than any other food I eliminated and has subsequently contributed to the quality of my life. Just wanted to share..