Should You Try The Alkaline Diet To Have Maximal Health?

Apr 21, 2016 09:33 AM EDT | By Mark Jason Alcala

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The alkaline diet, with its emphasis on fruits and vegetables and prohibition of meats and dairy, has been claimed to reverse a host of disease by supposedly improving the body's pH levels.
(Photo : Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The alkaline diet has been gaining in popularity lately. A quick search on the net would yield around 3.0 million results showing the number of pages mentioning this type of diet. It has been advocated by various celebrities which further increased its apparent credibility.

The Theory Behind the Diet

For most, the diet's health claims are just too fantastic to be ignored. The theory is that a host of diseases such as heart disease, chronic fatigue and even cancer may be triggered by an acidic pH level of the body. And since most of the modern Western foods such as meat and processed carbohydrates are acid forming, this is one of the main reasons why chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes are so prevalent nowadays.

According to alkaline diet's proponents, changing the body's acidity is therefore of utmost importance. If diseases are caused by the body being too acidic, it only follows that reducing the body's acidity is the way to prevent and even reverse the disease it caused. It is only logical, right?

Health Claims Not Well Established

Unfortunately, health and nutrition experts do not agree with these claims. One of the main reason is that the theory that the food one eats will affect the pH level or acidity level of the body is not supported by scientific evidence, according to Authority Nutrition. The body maintains its own pH level and different parts of the body maintain different pH levels for that particular body part to function efficiently.

For example, the stomach will always be acidic with pH values ranging from 2 to 3.5 because of the hydrochloric acid it secrets. And it needs to stay that way to be able to digest food.

On the other hand, the blood will always be alkaline or basic with pH levels ranging from 7.35 to 7.45. While it may be true that the blood pH level could become acidic due to certain diseases, it has nothing to do with the type of food one is eating. Apparently, the only acidity level that might be affected by diet is urine.

Are There Advantages to the Alkaline Diet?

There could be advantages if one decides to adopt the alkaline diet but these are not a result of the body changing its pH level as claimed by the diet's proponents.

Since the diet advocates the consumption of fruits and vegetables while prohibiting meats with their high saturated fat content, the diet incidentally promotes healthy eating, reports WebMD. For this reason, the diet could lead to lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure which are also indicators for a healthy heart. However, these advantages have nothing to do with the body's pH level at all.

As for the diet's other health claims such as its claim to be able to prevent or even reverse cancer, no sufficient scientific evidence has been put forward to support the theory. Until more studies are done, one could still not say with certainty that the diet is helpful against the disease or not.

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