What is the Alkaline Diet
LAWD how can we keep up?
The reason there may be so many diets is because people are uniquely different. Their bodies work in different ways so some of these diets may work for some and not work for others.
If you have an acidic body, or even worse, metabolic acidosis, this diet claims to help you prevent damage and improve your health while aiding in fat loss.
Let’s hop right in, shall we?
What is Alkaline
Alkaline is the opposite of acidic. Some foods are acidic, some are alkaline. These adjectives describe the pH levels of those foods.
Based on the pH, the Alkaline diet postulates that some foods with higher lower pH levels (more acidic) like meat, sugar, and processed foods, create a more acidic body.
On the other hand, it theorizes that eating foods that are more alkaline, or less acidic, can improve a multitude of health conditions along with shedding a few pounds.
Sounds like the ultimate diet, huh?
Let’s get out our lab coats and beakers.
Litmus paper? Check.
What is pH, Exactly?
Um, yes –you–with your hand up? Oh, pH?….Ok, let’s go over what pH is.
Do you remember litmus strips? Well, its OK if you don’t –we’re going to dig up that lil repressed piece of info from chemistry.
Recall first that pH stands for the “quantity hydrogen” and is the measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in a solution. High concentrations of hydrogen ions = acidic. Low concentrations of hydrogen = alkaline.
Litmus paper tested the pH levels of solutions. If it turned red or was a shade of it, it registered as a low pH and was acidic. If it turned blue or a shade of it, it registered as a high pH and was alkaline.
Ringing any bells? Acids and bases. Buffering agents. Oooooh, there it is. Are you back in class?
So, recall a pH of 7, which is the pH of water, is neutral. Our blood is between 7.3 and 7.4-that matters because the Alkaline diet says foods affect blood and overall body acidity.
Your body constantly keeps your pH levels in balance, but certain conditions can lead to metabolic acidosis, and when that happens, bad things ensue.
It is theorized since the agricultural revolution, the human diet has changed drastically. Less potassium, fiber, bicarbonate and magnesium is consumed, and more sodium, saturated fat, chloride has taken its place. In other words, more acid, less alkaline.
This shift in nutrition may induce metabolic acidosis because our diets are no longer aligned genetically to our requirements. In addition, as we age, we lose a bit of our acid-base regulation. Combine the two and you have the makings of a metabolic disaster.
As a result of the acidic environment, the body develops metabolic acidosis—too much acid in your body fluids. This condition is often associated with those who have diabetes, but it affects the cardiovascular system, kidneys, liver, pancreas and insulin levels.
Additionally, renal failure results as does muscle loss. The immune system is broken down during acidic states and the body eventually burns out under the acidic conditions. The body becomes susceptible to other diseases because good bacteria that we need cannot survive in such acidic environments.
For instance, a lowered muscle pH causes a diminished muscle permeability, which blocks nutrients from entering cells therefore blocking nutritional absorption.
Correcting the acidic state of the body with bicarbonate, or other buffering or acid-reducing methods can preserve muscle mass and in some cases, correct acidosis.
The Alkaline Diet
Now that you understand pH and acidic foods, you can understand why the Alkaline diet can be viewed as a life saver. And, studies do support many of the claims.
Studies show that the alkaline diet may:
- Increase weight loss.
- Improve bone health.
- Reduce muscle wasting.
- Reduce blood pressure.
- Reduce the risk of stroke.
- Increase Human Growth Hormone.
- Improve cardiovascular health.
While the studies are impressive, we have to consider the foods that are considered alkaline. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits and lacking or restricted in meats and dairy is, in fact, a simply healthier diet. Nutrition-wise—pH levels not considered. So, just eating healthier can certainly bring about some, if not all, the benefits listed above.
Studies show a healthy diet like described above will reduce acid load and preserve muscle mass. It was not an alkaline diet study. Just a healthy diet study. Imagine that.
So, the hype may be in the name, but we’ve always been the hype guys for fruits and veggies.
So if you’re up to the challenge—call it the alkaline diet or the healthy eating challenge, here is a list of what you should eat:
- Nuts (some)
- Vegetables (green ones and leafy ones are great choices)
Foods to Avoid
- Canned and Packaged Foods
- Meats (moderate if you’re not a vegetarian- but note-it is strictly forbidden in the AD)
- Processed Foods
If you’re not a big list fan, here’s a couple pics for you. You’re welcome.
This diet sounds a bit like the Paleo diet, huh? Pre-agricultural revolution foods….Maybe we were a lot smarter thousands of years ago…..
So, now you know—if you can’t completely avoid meats and dairy—make smarter choices so your body can work smarter. Want to bump up your body’s IQ even more? Go here.