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The alkaline diet promises bold health benefits such as weight loss & more.

In recent years this diet and alkaline water have become heavily marketed, even locally in cafes, stores and churches. The marketing is persuasive! However, speak to any qualified human scientist, and they will immediately tell you that it makes zero scientific sense. Let’s have a look at why.

The alkaline diet claims that foods like fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables are alkaline. Meats, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol, are acidic, which will cause harmful effects on the human body. Robert O Young, arrested in 2014 for fraud, popularised this diet. He claimed that the human body needed to be alkaline to prevent disease. He was arrested for practising medicine without a licence and sued for over a 100million dollars by cancer patients advised to forgo medical treatment.

pH (potential of Hydrogen) is a scale used to determine if something is acidic (<7), neutral (7) or alkaline (>7). The first thing to understand is that what we eat or drink does not affect the pH of our bodies. Because our body’s pH is regulated by a buffer system that strongly resists changes despite adding acidic or essential elements. The pH in your body varies greatly depending on the organ or system. For example, our blood will always stay between 7.35-7.45 no matter what we eat, and our stomach maintains a pH of around 2 to aid digestion. Anything we eat or drink immediately acidifies as soon as it enters our stomach.

Often people use urine tests to claim that your body is acidic. The truth is our kidneys produce acidic urine to help regulate our body pH, so don’t fall for these tricks! For example, if you eat a steak, your kidneys will regulate the pH of the production of by-products. A perfect example of our body perfectly regulating its pH.

When it comes to cancer, the cancer cells can grow in alkaline environments, as proven by science. The cancer cells can produce an acidic environment, not the acidic one that causes cancer.

If our food or drink could alter our bodies’ pH, the truth is we would die!

Historically our ancestors’ diets were not leaning toward acidic or alkaline but contained a balance of all these foods and included regular drinking water from non-contaminated sources. The claim that tap water is void of electrolytes is non-problematic as it is first and foremost free and safe for us to drink. Not to mention that most people do not have access to safe drinking water. We obtain enough of these electrolytes through the foods we eat. Water is not the only source. Therefore you do not need to spend extra money on “alkalised” water, as it will indeed have no impact on your body’s pH. It costs more than regular water. Why would our ancestors have lived happy and healthy lives drinking normal fresh water without disease? We are looking for someone to blame for all this; it sure isn’t healthy foods.

The marketing claim that your body needs to be “alkaline” for weight loss is another very wild notion that sounds great but has no supporting evidence. Your body can burn fat regardless, and as we have learned, your body can control pH and will not succumb to change quickly. It does not need special water or foods to restore pH.

When taking advice from anyone, whether online or in person, we always need to check their qualifications. Ensure they have a registered and protected title by a reputable body regulating their practice. It is easy to get lost in online science if you are interested in this topic. It would be best if you had a robust understanding of human physiology, nutritional epidemiology and food science to understand the claims. So, if someone is pushing a diet or alkaline product to you with claims like weight loss to curing cancer, that is a huge RED FLAG.

The diet is not harmful as it encourages the intake of fruits and vegetables and restricts processed foods. However, many have begun to classify fruits and vegetables as acidic or alkaline and have taken it too far. Eliminating sources of high-quality sources of protein and whole grains is also problematic.

So, before spending your hard-earned money on something without scientific evidence to support it, think about what you could change in your diet that will guarantee an impact on your health. Follow a well-balanced diet, minimise processed foods, manage stress, stay active and sleep well. These are strategies that are proven time and time again through history that will keep you in top shape. Good health is not confusing or expensive. It is simple and kind.

“I’ve never seen a fad diet create such a misunderstanding of basic chemistry concepts, such as pH, and some pretty basic physiology concepts as well” Foodsciencebabe.


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