Diet Plan Information: Alkaline Diet


What is the Alkaline Diet Plan?

The alkaline diet (also known as the alkaline ash diet or the acid-alkaline diet) follows the idea that eating certain foods that leave metabolic waste can alter your body’s pH level and result in health issues. The main hypothesis is that all foods leave behind some metabolic waste that can be neutral, alkaline, or acidic. By avoiding the food items that leave acidic metabolic waste and leave you with an acidic body, you can make your body more alkaline which can improve your health.


So… What is pH?

pH Scale

In case it’s been a while since you took that high school chemistry course, here’s some information on pH. Potential Hydrogen (pH) is a scale from 0 to 14 that ranks whether a substance is alkaline (basic), neutral, and acidic. The pH scale is centered around the neutral pH of 7, meaning a substance is neither alkaline nor acidic.

In the pH scale, 0-6.9 is considered acidic, 7.0 is considered neutral, and 7.1-14 is considered alkaline. For example, vinegar is acidic (pH 2-4), pure water is neutral (pH 7.0), and sweet potatoes are alkaline (pH 9.0).


And Why Should I Care About pH?

Those who advocate the alkaline diet argue that keeping your body’s pH in balance is the key to better health. Many who follow this diet use pH testing strips to monitor the pH in their urine, aiming to keep it alkaline (pH 7.0+) rather than acidic (pH 6.9-). It’s worth noting however that different parts of your body will have different pH values as they serve different purposes.


How Does the Alkaline Diet Plan Work?

Proponents of the alkaline diet suggest that consuming acid-forming foods may throw off your body chemistry, tipping your pH balance into the acidic category which could lead to health issues. Conversely, eating items that are naturally alkaline (non-acidic foods or alkalizing foods) may lead to health benefits.

Eating alkaline can alter the pH of your urine (Remer & Manz, 1995). In fact, urinating is one of the ways your body maintains its natural pH. If you eat highly acidic foods like red meat, the pH of your urine will become more acidic while your body expels the metabolic waste. Additionally, states of being can alter your body’s pH. Being dehydrated, over-exerting your body during intense periods of physical activity, and being mostly sedentary can all affect your body’s pH.


What Can You Eat on the Alkaline Diet?

A scale showing which foods are alkaline and which food are acidic, based on pH.

The good news is that there are many, many foods and food groups that you can eat on the alkaline diet. The alkaline diet menu is extensive! Consuming these foods may help to alkalize the body and reduce your pH.

Most whole foods, plants, and fruits are allowed. There are numerous food charts on the alkaline diet online. Please note that this list does not cover everything that is alkaline as there are many more foods that are.

  • Leafy Greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, collard greens)
  • High-Alkaline Vegetables (onions, corn, beets, celery, peas, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, egg plants, olives, bell peppers, asparagus, cabbage)
  • Non-Acidic Fruits (tomatoes, cherries, apricots, pineapples, apples, pears, mangoes, papayas, kiwi, melons, grapefruit, papayas, lemons, limes, bananas)
  • Some Grains (wild rice, quinoa, hemp seeds, lima beans)


What Can’t You Eat on the Alkaline Diet?

Technically, the alkaline diet does not prohibit any food group. Rather, it advocated that only 20 percent of your daily nutritional values come from acidic food groups. Acidic food groups include but are not limited to:

  • Stimulants (coffee, soda, energy drinks, black tea, fruit juice)
  • Carbonated Water
  • Dairy (cheese, milk, butter, yogurt)
  • Carbohydrates and Grains (bread, pasta, oats, brown rice, barley)
  • Certain Nuts (peanuts, chestnuts, walnuts, pistachios)
  • Certain Fruits (coconut, plums)
  • Artificial Sweeteners 
  • Proteins (eggs, pork, beef, fish, poultry)


How Do You Implement the Alkaline Diet?

If you’re ready to start on the alkaline diet, you’ll find yourself needing to cut out the acids in your life. This includes eschewing many processed foods and instead turning to a more natural, plant-based diet. It is recommended that you fill your plate with plant-based foods first like wild rice, sweet potatoes, spinach, and cauliflower before adding in the 20 percent of acidic foods like meat, bread, and dairy.

Additionally, on your path to greater health it may be necessary to cut out numerous habits in your life. It can be difficult for some to remain abstinent from these temptations but if you’re willing to make the change, there is no doubt you’ll see a number of health benefits.

  • No smoking or using tobacco
  • No alcohol
  • No drug use

You can purchase a quality alkaline water filter here. This ionizing water pitcher may help protect you and your loved ones’ health and fuel your body with clean, high pH water.


Pros of the Alkaline Diet

  • No Calculator Necessary: As long as your plate has roughly 80 percent alkaline foods and no more than 20 percent acidic foods, you’re good to go!
  • Bring on the Veggies: The alkaline diet relies heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables as the base of its food pyramid. If you’re a salad-lover, vegetarian, or vegan, this diet is right up your alley!
  • Nothing is Prohibited (using common sense moderation, of course): You can still eat the occasional sandwich or hamburger while still consuming mostly alkaline foods.


Cons of the Alkaline Diet

  • More Research Needed: There are few human studies that actually prove that the alkaline diet is reliably effective regarding the body’s pH levels. Many scientists hypothesize that instead the benefits come from a diet low in processed foods and high in natural, plant-based nutrition.
  • Learning the pH Scale of Food: If you don’t already know which foods are acidic and which ones are alkaline, you may find yourself checking Google every time you sit down for a meal to make sure it will adhere to the alkaline diet.


Books on the Alkaline Diet Plan


Evidence-Based Studies on the Alkaline Diet Plan

There are numerous studies on the body’s pH value and how it can vary based on what foods you consume and what your lifestyle is.

  • Benefits of Alkaline Water Consumption: “In addition, a large number of studies showing the benefits of alkaline water (mineral water) have revealed that people consuming water with a high level of total dissolved solids (TDS) (ie, with a high mineral content) have shown a lower incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer and lower total mortality rates” (Mousa, 2016).
  • Benefits of Alkaline Diet on Sprinters: “Thus, an alkalizing diet may be an easy and natural way to enhance 400-m sprint performance for athletes without the necessity of taking artificial dietary supplements” (Limmer, Eibl & Platen, 2018).
  • Benefits of Alkaline Diets for Chronic Kidney Disease: “Patients who followed the diet have seen a slowing of progression and occasionally regression of their renal function. Both observations and scientific literature indicate that this is because of a reduction in the acid content of the diet” (Passey, 2017).
  • Carnivore versus Herbivore Stomach pH Levels: “Based on the available data, our analysis illustrates a general pattern in which species feeding on carrion and animals have significantly higher stomach acidities compared to species feeding on insects, leaves, or fruit” (Beasley et al., 2015).

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