Alkaline Diet Review | Good Diet Bad Lifestyle | MyFit

Team MyFit December 21, 2011 3
  • Difficulty to Follow
  • Research Support
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Effectiveness

Under the category of “What’s old is new again” is the Alkaline Diet, sometimes called The Ash Diet or pH balance diet and while it has stirred up controversy in recent years, the initial concept was first laid out by Dr. William Howard Hay in the 1920’s as part of his food-combining theory. The basic premise is simple.  The human body operates best with a pH balance between 7.35-7.45.  The lower number is indicative of  a more acidic environment and the higher number one that is more alkaline. Certain foods, once digested, create “ash” which neutralizes the acidic elements in the body and help to maintain an alkaline environment.

Alkaline VS Acidic

Modern diets that include meat, sugar, caffeine, sweet fruits, dairy and grains tend to keep the body’s pH balance more toward the lower end and that acidic environment sets the stage for a number of modern ills including obesity (specifically abdominal fat that is associated with high cortisol levels), cancer, low energy levels, and a tendency toward yeast and fungus infections as well as osteoporosis. Therefore it should be noted that foods that are considered acidic in nature are not necessarily acidic in the body once digested and can contribute to higher alkaline levels.

Alkaline Foods List

  • All Sprouts
  • Almonds
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Buckwheat
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chives
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cucumber
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Evening Primrose
  • Flax
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Green Beans
  • Hemp
  • Hummus
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lemon
  • Lentils
  • Lettuce
  • Lime
  • Mung Beans
  • Oil Blends
  • Olives
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Red Cabbage
  • Rhubarb
  • Sesame
  • Spelt
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower
  • Tahini
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Watercress
  • Watermelon

Health Benefits

OnionFew studies have been done on alkaline diets. Lab work shows that acidic environments appear to favor the development of cancer while alkaline ones seem to enhance the effectiveness of certain cancer drugs; however, no human trials have been done to date.  There is agreement in the medical and nutritional community that being on the acidic end of the pH scale can lead to osteoporosis. Arguments against the alkaline diet point out that eliminating some “acidic” foods such as dairy which contain calcium and vitamin D (both important for bone health and the latter showing signs as being useful against cancer) and most fruits which contain phytonutrients and fiber would create huge nutritional holes.

Our bodies have several ways of maintaining a healthy pH balance. Increased respiration raises the pH level, bicarbonate and hemoglobin both “mop up” excess hydrogen ions keeping the blood from becoming too acidic and the kidney helps remove excessive acidic liquids out in the urine. Proponents would point out that while the body does have homeostatic systems in place to regulate pH levels, constantly working them is an unnecessary tax on the body. There is also the argument that an alkaline diet is in many ways closer to the eating-style humans had throughout most of our history. Our hunter/gatherer ancestors were mostly gatherers and the more easily and safely attained beans, nuts, legumes and tubers would be a first diet choice and accessible to anyone;  fruits hanging from trees and vines would have been the next choice and, in general, more acidic in the body. Finally, meat would be the rarest and hardest to get.  Milk entered the human food chain only in the last few thousand years and for only a small fraction of that time has it been cow’s milk.

You can download a alkaline food chart here

Conclusion

As with other past nutritional ideas the alkaline diet will go through the process of promotion, rejection, censure and almost certainly at some point serious inquiry. Until then it falls to the individual to weigh common sense, history and personal experience to judge if this nutritional philosophy is right for them.




3 Comments »

  1. Ninja Health Chef March 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm -

    Very nice post, I am personally a big believer in eating a balanced of two thirds alkaline and a third acidic foods. This is where the body wants to be pH neutral, each and every second millions of cells react and give off a slightly acidic reaction so you need to lean towards the alkaline side.