Have you been seeing a lot of conflicting information about the alkaline diet online and unsure what to make of it all? Never fear! We’ve got you covered.
As weight-loss experts here at Plato Weight Management, we have grown accustomed to questions surrounding this eating regimen, so we will provide a detailed breakdown of the alkaline diet in this blog post to better enable you to make more informed decisions.
- The Alkaline diet
- What you can eat on the Alkaline diet
- The advantages and disadvantages of the Alkaline diet
- If the Alkaline diet is a Healthy Choice
The Alkaline diet
The alkaline diet is a way of eating that promotes fresh fruits and vegetables to keep a healthy pH level in the body.
It’s based on the idea that the food we consume changes our bodies’ pH, making them more acidic or alkaline.
However, be aware that the body already has many mechanisms for maintaining a constant pH, including processes regulated by the lungs and kidneys.
According to advocates of the alkaline diet, a diet including many alkaline foods has particular health benefits, while a diet high in acid-making foods deranges the blood’s natural pH level.
As a result, the diet’s theory is that the body tries to reinstate equilibrium by losing vital minerals (such as calcium). This disparity is thought to make people more susceptible to illness.
The idea of alkaline and acidic foods were put forward midway through the 19th century. It was suggested that foods leave an acid or alkaline “ash” in the body when they are broken down.
The waste—or ash—leftover from the burning of foods, according to advocates of the alkaline diet, has a direct effect on the body’s acidity or alkalinity. In principle, eating additional alkaline foods can help to alkalise your body and enhance your health.
The alkaline diet has been utilised to help avoid kidney stones and urinary tract infections. It’s important to note, though, that there isn’t much research to back up a lot of this diet’s reported health advantages.
U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 edition has the alkaline diet classed at number 29 in best diets. Overall, it got a 2.5 out of 5 rating. Its ranking is based on dubious science, a plethora of guidelines that make it impossible to obey, and its lack of weight-loss efficacy.
To read our blog about if cleanse and detox diets actually work, please follow the link here.
What you can eat on the Alkaline diet
Individuals who adopt the alkaline diet are advised to consume a lot of alkaline foods and eat less acidic foods. Food classes are classified as alkaline (fruits, nuts, legumes, vegetables), neutral (natural fats, starches, sugars), or acidic (meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol) in the diet.
PH is a scale that measures from 0 to 14, with lesser numbers representing more acidic, greater numbers representing more alkaline, and seven representing neutral.
The alkaline diet doesn’t require fasting or excluding foods to specific hours of the day, like intermittent fasting, for example. The diet motivates people to consume more alkaline foods and less acidic foods. The diet encourages adherents to think of acid and alkaline foods as a continuum and focus on a healthy diet rather than seeing the food lists as “foods to consume” and “foods to stay away from.”
The eating pattern’s objective is to have more alkaline foods and fewer acidic foods by doing the following:
- Eating more fruits and vegetables
- Removing fizzy drinks from your diet
- Drinking adequate amounts of water each day
- Only having one serving of protein from an animal source per day
- Using vegetables instead of processed carbohydrates
The advantages and disadvantages of the Alkaline diet
The alkaline diet permits people to consume more fruits and vegetables while steering clear foods that are highly refined with a lot of sodium and saturated fat.
Anyone will benefit from elevating their fruit and vegetable intake while decreasing their refined food intake, as the traditional Western diet is low in fruits and vegetables and contains a lot higher sodium and fat than is advised.
However, the alkaline diet does come with several disadvantages.
A pro of the alkaline diet is that since fruit and vegetable-rich diets are very filling, they are easier to adhere to.
Although it is not a question that consuming less refined foods is advantageous, there is no empirical evidence to strengthen the argument that an alkaline diet will dramatically adjust blood pH levels for disease treatment.
It’s worth remembering, however, that pH levels in different parts of the body vary a lot, while whole-body pH is held within a narrow range thanks to the kidneys and lungs.
Unfortunately, there’s no scientific literature to back up the arguments that consuming an alkaline diet can enhance your health or that certain foods can change your bodies pH.
Proponents of the diet, for example, argue that a high-acid intake enhances the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in the elderly.
As claimed by the theory, the body extracts calcium from bones, an alkaline material, to counteract acidity. The science, however, refutes this. Researchers followed 861 men and women above 70 years old in 2015 and demonstrated that dietary acid load had no significant links to bone mineral thickness or osteoporosis.
While the diet lets individuals intake more balanced foods, it does so at the cost of certain nutritious foods like milk and dairy, which peak in dietary protein and calcium.
The diet’s arguments about limiting these foods are deceptive, as evidence proposes that eating these foods does not result in the body becoming acidic or interfere with calcium metabolism. Eating meat, on the other hand, has no effect on your body’s pH.
To read our blog about the keto diet and if it is an effective way to lose weight, please follow the link here.
If the Alkaline Diet is a Healthy Choice
The alkaline diet focuses attention on consuming organic, whole foods, including several fruits and vegetables, and avoiding refined foods. It permits for minimal quantities of animal protein and dairy while restricting refined grains, resulting in a wide variety of nutrients.
Dietary guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) contain calorie requirements and recommendations for a safe, balanced diet.
In addition to dairy, the USDA recommends the following nutrient-dense foods: vegetables and dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli), fruits, grains (quinoa, brown rice, oats), lean meats (chicken breast, fish), beans and legumes, nuts and seeds.
Adopting a plant-based, fruit-and-vegetable-rich diet will help you reach overall health and protect you from some diseases. However, the alkaline diet contains many nutritious foods rich in nutrition, vitamins, and minerals and are important for overall health, such as grains, beans, and nuts. Meanwhile, coffee and wine are on the base list, which nutritionists believe should be consumed in moderation.
So far, as mentioned, there isn’t any clinical evidence to strengthen declarations that an alkaline diet will assist you with losing weight and battle disease. However, some evidence suggests that some aspects of the diet could be advantageous to some populations’ wellbeing.
Maintains muscles mass
Adhering to an alkaline diet may assist you in maintaining muscle mass as you get to an older age, which is necessary for avoiding falls and fractures.
A three-year clinical trial with 384 men and women (ages 65 and up) found that a high intake of potassium-rich foods, such as the fruits and vegetables recommended as the foundation of the alkaline diet, may aid older adults to keep muscle mass as they age.
Could assist diabetes
There is also evidence that the diet may lend a hand to prevent diabetes. In a 2014 study, 66,485 women were followed for 14 years.
Over that time, there were 1,372 new cases of diabetes. Researchers discovered that those with the most acid-forming diets had a significantly greater risk of developing diabetes after checking the participants’ food consumption.
Could help prevent Kidney Disease
A higher acid load in the diet is thought to elevate metabolic acidosis and the likelihood of kidney disease progression. In a 2015 study, academics followed 15,055 individuals without kidney disease for 21 years.
They came across that, after controlling for other factors (risk factors, caloric intake, and demographics), a higher dietary acid load was related to an increased likelihood of developing kidney disease.
Could Help Prevent CVD
Although research is inconsistent, a high acid load diet may be related to higher death rates.
According to a 2016 paper, individuals with the greatest Potential renal acid load (PRAL) scores had a significant increase in cardiovascular disease and were more inclined to be in the high-risk group than those with the lowest PRAL scores.
However, a second study showed that both highly acidic and highly alkaline diets have high death occurrences, whereas those with a more neutral diet live longer.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who consumed either a high dietary or alkaline load diet had a higher death rate than those who consumed an acid-base balanced diet.
While there are no regular risks with the alkaline diet, it is obvious that more evidence is required to decide its efficacy for the many health claims it makes.
Additionally, strictly adhering to the alkaline diet without taking into consideration protein or overall caloric intake, for instance, can lead to health issues such as protein or nutrient deficiency or excessive weight loss.
Furthermore, people with chronic diseases or taking medications that alter their calcium, potassium, or other minerals should consult their doctor before trying the diet.
To read the blog on the differences between good and bad fat, please follow the link here.
In conclusion, our bodies do a good job of controlling their pH levels by themselves for the average healthy person and doesn’t need specific dietary pH considerations.
While some medical conditions, such as kidney disease and diabetes, may affect pH regulation, there is no scientific literature to support the idea that a certain intake will make your body more acidic, making you more susceptible to disease.
Keep in mind that following a long-term or short-term diet may not be needed for you, and many diets, especially long-term diets, frankly don’t work.
While we do not support fad diets or unsustainable weight loss eating patterns, we do demonstrate the facts so that you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs, budget, and aims.
If you want to slim down, keep in mind that losing weight isn’t always the same as being your healthiest, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors all have a great impact on your overall health.
The best diet is always one that is well-balanced, long-lasting, and fits your lifestyle.
If you are interested in undertaking one of our evidence-based and results-backed Plato Weight Management programs, please make sure to check what program may be suitable for you at this link or contact us here!
You can find out what some of our previous clients had to say about the program on our success stories page!