You may have heard of the alkaline diet as a way to get glowing skin, and to boost your energy levels, immunity and fat loss. In fact, some (including celebrities) swear by the alkaline diet for transforming their health. This has some people referring to it as a ‘movement’, rather than a diet.
So, is the alkaline diet another Hollywood hoax, or can it actually provide long-term results? Let’s take a closer look at what it means to eat alkaline, and how it works.
What Is An Alkaline Diet?
Eating alkaline simply means that most of your diet is comprised of foods that have an alkalizing effect on your body. You see, all foods are either alkaline, acid-forming or neutral. This is based on the residue or ‘ash’ they leave behind on your blood— not on their taste.
For example, lemons have an alkalizing effect on your blood’s pH once metabolized, although you’d intuitively think they’d be acidic due to their sour taste.
Food is categorized as alkaline or acid-forming based on the minerals it contains. Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are alkaline minerals, while phosphorus is acidic. Food can contain all three of these minerals, but the minerals it’s highest in will determine the effect it has on your blood.
Let’s look at dairy products. They contain both calcium and phosphorus but are richer in phosphorus, which is why they have more of an acidifying effect on your body.
Why Eat Alkaline?
Now, you may be wondering why it even matters if you’re eating acidic or alkaline foods. Here’s why following an alkaline diet can improve how you feel on a daily basis.
At any given time, our bodies are striving to keep the pH of our blood in balance— which is roughly 7.4 on the pH scale. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with 0 being the most acidic, and 14 highly alkaline. As you can see, the ideal pH for your blood is smack dab in the middle: not too alkaline and not too acidic. Tipping the scale too far on either end can cause serious health symptoms.
For example, if your blood is too acidic, it’s harder for oxygen to flow through your body, which results in low energy and chronic fatigue. Poor oxygen delivery can also lower your immune system and leave you prone to illness. Skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema have also been linked to a diet rich in acidifying foods.
An acidic body also tends to hold on to fat and make weight loss very difficult, despite eating healthy and exercising. This is because fat cells store toxins, which are acidic when your body has too many to eliminate at once.
At the same time, you don’t want your blood to be too alkaline— otherwise, a condition called alkalosis can result. However, the average Western diet is far richer in acidifying foods, such as dairy products, grains, and refined sugar, that alkalosis is not as much of a concern when it comes to your diet.
The foods you eat have an impact on your blood’s pH, which can influence how well (or poor) you feel.
When you have more oxygen flowing throughout your body, you have more energy. This leads to a greater desire to exercise and do the activities you love. A healthier blood pH also eliminates toxins easier, resulting in effortless weight loss. In other words, a healthy body allows you to lead a more fulfilling, satisfying life. And eating more alkaline foods can help your body function better.
Why Do Some Say The Alkaline Diet Is A Hoax?
Now, some people argue the alkaline diet is a myth or a hoax and doesn’t actually work. There are also many rebuttals online to the claim that following a high alkaline diet can kill or prevent cancer because cancer cells can’t survive in an oxygenated environment.
The truth is, while there is a theory that the alkaline diet is a hoax and may not have as big of an impact on blood pH as we think (after all, your body is constantly striving to keep your pH in balance, with or without alkaline foods) — no bad can come from eating foods that are rich in alkaline vitamins and minerals.
Now, we’re not claiming in this article that an alkaline diet can cure cancer, or any other illness and disease. The foods that are recommended on an alkaline diet are whole, plant-based foods. This includes leafy greens, nuts, and seeds— aka the world’s most nutrient-dense foods. Eating these high alkaline foods provides your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep you healthy.
So, while the alkaline diet may be referred to as a scam or hoax by some, one way to view the alkaline diet is to consider all of the health benefits that come with eating vitamin and mineral rich foods and removing highly processed acidic foods, such as processed sugar.
It’s unlikely that anyone has ever failed to experience a positive change in their body when eating nutrient-dense foods. Hence, why nature provided them to us in the first place.