The Alkaline Diet which is also known as the Acid/Alkaline Diet has been steadily gaining popularity since its introduction a few years ago. Many celebrities use it claiming that it offers many benefits like weight loss, protection from diseases and increased energy level. The big question is if it really is effective and if there is significant evidence that it really offers any benefits.
What is The Alkaline Diet?
The Alkaline Diet is a diet designed to improve overall health. When it was being created, the basis was the acid/alkali theory of disease. According to the theory, when the food we eat is broken down in the body through digestion, waste products are produced which either can be acidic or alkaline. The acidity depends on the type of food consumed. Experts who support the alkaline diet say that eating foods that leave a lot of acidic waste products affects our bodies negatively which leaves us vulnerable to a range of diseases. They claim that eating a diet high in alkaline forming foods have a positive effect on health and wellness.
What You Can and Cannot Eat?
The diet suggests eating plenty of fruits and vegetables which are alkaline-promoting foods. Tofu, soybeans, seeds and nuts are also alkaline-promoting foods so you can add these to your diet. On the other hand, the acidic foods include meat, dairy, eggs, most grains and processed foods so consumption of these should be limited. Most books regarding the alkaline diet also suggest eliminating alcohol and caffeine from the diet completely since these are highly acidic in nature.
Does The Alkaline Diet Really Work?
To determine if the Alkaline Diet really works, the biggest question is if what we eat really affects the pH of our body. The answer is pretty complicated because pH value varies greatly in the body. Certain parts are alkaline while others are acidic. For instance, the stomach is highly acidic while the blood is slightly alkaline in nature.
The typical Western diet which is high in processed foods and meat while low in fruit and vegetable intake is acidic in nature. Naturally, this type of diet has low nutritional value and it is also low in fiber. This can have a negative effect on overall health in the long term. However, foods that form acid are not always bad for you. There are many highly nutritious foods that are acidic in nature like fish, dairy, meat and whole grains. A diet is not really judged on specific food items but it is considered as a whole entity.
Evaluation of the Alkaline Diet
There is really no significant evidence that the Alkaline Diet offers any considerable health benefits. As a matter of fact, many health experts do not agree with the Acid/Alkali Theory of Disease. Moreover, there is no evidence whatsoever that it helps with weight loss. However, unlike many other fad diets, the Alkaline Diet is actually healthy because it encourages plenty of fruits and vegetables in the diet while reducing consumption of processed and junk foods. The main problem is that there is no evolutionary evidence of the mechanism behind the diet. Also, acids are actually important building blocks of life which includes essential fatty acids, amino acids and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Advantages of the Alkaline Diet
- It is suitable for vegans and vegetarians and the diet promotes the consumption of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables
- Meat, dairy and other acidic proteins are off limits so intake of saturated fat is lowered considerably
- It is mostly wheat and gluten free which is good for many individuals
- Most food allergy triggers like nuts, eggs, shellfish and milk are almost eliminated from the diet
- There is no need for additional purchases so you can save money
- Most of the foods can be found at the supermarket or grocery stores
- It is high in fiber which helps improve digestive health
- The diet considerably lowers intake of processed foods which are known to be unhealthy
Disadvantages of the Alkaline Diet
- There is very little evidence that it offers any health benefits
- No clinical studies have shown that it helps with weight loss
- You may need to take supplements to meet nutritional needs
- There is still some exposure to allergy triggers like gluten
- The diet is high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat
- The nutritional imbalance can cause low energy levels especially on active individuals
- There are many feedbacks saying it is not really effective when it comes to weight loss
After taking a closer look at the Alkaline Diet, it is generally healthy because it is high in fruits and vegetables. The diet also encourages avoiding the consumption of processed foods, meat and other food items that are considered unhealthy. The main problem is the lack of evidence that it offers any health benefits. Moreover, there is zero proof that the diet helps with weight loss.
Evan Jensen | Consumer Health Digest
Evan Jensen is a renowned American Nutritionist, Diet Expert and health writer. He holds MA in Journalism. He specializes in writing about diet, nutrition, exercise and preventive care. He personally has participated in Marathons, Mountain Endurance Races and many other sporting activities.