The alkaline diet is based on the idea that the foods you eat can have a positive or negative effect on your health whether they are acid or alkaline producing in your body. Is this diet all it’s cracked up to be? This article will explore what exactly the alkaline diet is, which foods to eat and avoid, and also the benefits and considerations you can expect with adhering to it.
What is the Alkaline Diet?
The claims of the alkaline diet are that certain foods in the diet are acid-producing when eaten, throwing off the delicate pH balance of the body. It is thought that these acid-producing foods rob the bones of essential minerals and nutrients our bodies need. This in turn can lead to negative health effects such as a decreased immunity, fatigue, and improper bone health. Proponents of the alkaline diet claim that eating more alkaline-producing foods and fewer acid-producing foods keeps the body’s pH in proper balance for optimal health.
Which Foods Are Part of the Alkaline Diet?
The alkaline diet emphasizes consuming mostly plant-based foods and beverages such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbal teas. The diet discourages a high consumption of more acidic foods such as most grains, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, beans, legumes, and highly processed and refined ‘junk’ foods. These foods can still be eaten on an alkaline diet, but in much smaller and less frequent quantities than the alkaline-producing foods. It is encouraged to pair an acid-producing food with a more alkaline food in order to balance pH. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugar are also discouraged when following the alkaline diet.
Here’s an example of what a day might look like for those following an alkaline diet:
Breakfast: Berry Smoothie made with coconut milk, fresh blueberries, spinach, and avocado.
Lunch: Mixed green salad with black bean soup, and a fresh apple.
Snack: Baby carrots and hummus, and a handful of almonds.
Dinner: Broiled salmon with roasted asparagus.
What Are the Benefits and Considerations of an Alkaline Diet?
The benefits shown by those following an alkaline diet includes increased energy, improved mood, weight loss, increased bone health, and overall well-being. It is also recommended for those with inflammatory diseases and conditions such as arthritis, those who are overweight, or who are suffering from chronic fatigue and/or mood issues.
While the benefits of such a diet may be significant for those who choose to follow it, the evidence behind the alkaline diet is far less supported. There is no significant scientific evidence that the pH of foods positively or negatively affects one’s health. The human body is designed with the mechanisms needed in order to maintain proper pH balance whether or not acidic or alkaline foods are consumed. It is more likely the emphasis on more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and avoidance of processed foods and sugar that are the reason behind the benefits of the diet.
Overall, the alkaline diet has many key takeaways that can be a part of any healthy and balanced diet. Following an 80/20 rule behind healthy eating can help you enjoy the benefits of the diet, while also enjoying the foods you love. Stick to eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil 80 percent of the time, and saving treats such as sweets and alcohol 20 percent of the time.
This will provide you with the nutrients and benefits needed for health without feeling deprived, which makes for a sustainable and lifelong way of eating.