The acid vs. alkaline diet debate in the nutrition world has been raging for decades. Like most fads, it comes and goes in popularity. This diet like many others, ebbs and flows depending on whether the world is short of news or not.
The premise of this diet sounds simple enough. However, what makes a food acidic or alkaline isn’t what you’d think.
Take A Second
Think of a common food that you perceive to be acidic.
Like me, lemons might have popped into your mind. Yes, lemons are acidic because they contain citric acid.
However, when we are talking about your body’s acid/base balance, what makes a food acidic or not, is based on how your kidneys deal with it. Herein lies a major problem with the acid vs. alkaline diet.
What Actually Happens
When the nutrients in a food reach your kidneys, they produce more ammonium (acidic) or more bicarbonate (alkaline). Scientists have created a way to measure and rate foods based on this, called the Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) score. Foods that produce an acidic response have a positive PRAL score and foods that produce an alkaline response have a negative PRAL score.
Fish, meat, cheese, eggs, and grains are considered acidic and have a positive PRAL score; vegetables and fruits are considered alkaline and have a negative PRAL score.
The main fear regarding an acidic diet is bone loss due to your body releasing minerals from your bones in order to optimize your body’s pH, but this is not proven.
The hard evidence to support the stringent adoption of an alkaline diet (shunning meats, cheese, and eggs for an abundance of vegetables) is lacking.
If you follow the guideline of eating fruits and/or vegetables at each of your meals while also making them the centerpiece of your dishes, then you will hedge your bets towards your diet being alkaline. Their alkaline nature aside, you can never go wrong eating more fresh produce.
Acid vs. Alkaline – The Play Off
- An acid producing diet does not leach calcium from your bones
- Blood pH is tightly controlled between 7.35 and 7.45 – slightly alkaline (diet has little or no influence on this)
- The body regulates pH independent of the diet consumed
- The promoter of the diet, Robert O. Young was sentenced to prison for practising medicine without a licence. End of story.
- An alkaline diet does not prevent or cure cancer
- Supporters of this diet use the pH of urine as their measuring stick (so to speak) but this does not tell you anything about blood pH