The name Alkaline Diet describes a set of related diets that are based on the ability of food to affect the acidity and pH of body fluids, in this way certain products such as vegetables are considered alkaline while meats and flours are acids, it is about consuming alkaline products and avoiding acids in order to facilitate healthy processes in the body and prevent diseases.
The indicator of the level of acidity or alkalinity in fluids, including blood and urine, is the pH or hydrogen potential , it is a value that is obtained from the relationship between the amount of bicarbonate and carbon dioxide; It is presented on a scale that goes from 0, indicating the highest possible acid value, up to 14, which indicates the maximum alkalinity. For humans, the ideal blood pH value is 7.4 at which level metabolism and all biochemical reactions are optimized.
When a pH imbalance occurs, the body does not perform fundamental functions correctly, therefore an ion exchange system comes into operation that will compensate for this imbalance, the body will take minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium to compensate for the imbalance. On the other hand, to seek balance, the alkaline diet proposes a diet based on fruits and vegetables avoiding the consumption of red meat, pork, poultry and dairy products , as well as fats and sugars.
The Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet consists of the balanced consumption of alkaline and acidic foods to maintain a pH in the blood of 7.4. Its complementary premise is the idea that modern diets cause our body to produce too much acid and this excess acid, in addition to being harmful, turns into fat that accumulates, leading to weight gain. Those same high levels of acidity have been linked to disorders such as osteoporosis, arthritis, heart and kidney problems, headaches, digestive problems, demineralization of nails and hair, fatigue and lack of energy.
As mentioned above, the diet recommends reducing the consumption of foods that produce acids, in favor of alkaline foods that reduce the levels of acidity in the body. The idea is that an alkaline diet helps keep the body’s acidity at healthy levels. Therefore, and this is what most followers of the alkaline diet do, the diet is based on 80% alkaline products and only 20% acidic foods.
It should be noted that this diet has many followers, including some celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Miranda Kerr, Victoria Beckham and Gywneth Paltrow, according to various other media such as Channing Tatum, Chris Hemsworth, Josh Duhamel and Mark Rufflo have resorted to the principles of the alkaline diet to offset your meal plans.
What to eat on the Alkaline Diet
Nutritionists and other professionals who defend this diet suggest the 80/20 rule where most of the food, 80%, will be alkaline and the remaining 20% will be acidic. We must remember that alkalizing foods are considered those that, when combined with the enzymes of the digestive system, generate alkaline by-products, and acid foods are those that after being digested generate acidifying by-products in the blood. As we can see, it is not about eliminating acidic foods from the diet but about reducing their consumption.
The classification of foods according to their ability to generate alkaline or acid residues is not entirely simple because there is a wide spectrum where a food goes from super alkalizing to super acidifying through various intermediate scales. In addition, the acidity or not of a food is not determined by its flavor but by the minerals present in its composition.
Calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and potassium are the main alkaline minerals; Foods that have high concentrations of these minerals are considered alkaline-forming foods, while foods high in sulfur, phosphorus, iodine, and chlorine are acid-forming foods.
To make things easier for us, we have the following classification: Alkaline foods include most fruits, vegetables, greens, seeds, nuts, spices, herbs, and condiments. Acidic foods include red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cereals, legumes, and dairy. Let’s now go on to detail a little more which foods are alkaline and which are acidic.
This list includes many foods that range from slightly alkaline to very alkalizing.
Alkaline herbs and sprouts
Wheat, barley, kamut, oat grass; kamut sprouts, soybeans, quinoa, radish, spelled, alfalfa, amaranth, broccoli and fenugreek.
Oils First pressing oils from avocado, olive and flax.
Sprouted whole wheat bread, sprouted pancakes, gluten-free and yeast-free breads and pitas.
Asparagus, broccoli, chilli, paprika, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, zucchini, dandelion, green beans, white beans, kidney beans, spinach, leeks, artichokes, kale, wakame seaweed, kelp seaweed, cabbage, chives, Endives, Swiss chard, cabbage, sweet potato, coriander, basil, parsley, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, beets, aubergine, garlic, onion, celery, cucumber, lamb’s lettuce, arugula, watercress, lettuce, peas, broad beans, new potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, radish, snow peas.
Alkaline cereals and legumes
amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, kamut, millet, quinoa, spelled, lentils, beans, chickpeas, Chinese beans, small white beans, pinto beans, red beans, white beans, soybeans.
apple, grapefruit, soursop, guava, melon, watermelon, apricot, pear, pineapple, avocado or avocado, banana or plantain, mango, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, coconut, raisins, dates, berries, figs, lemon, lime, grapes, nectarine, peach, orange, tangerine, peach, strawberries or strawberries, tropical fruits, rhubarb, tomato, grapefruit, fresh coconut and papaya.
Alkaline Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, coconut, flax seeds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, macaamia nuts, pumpkin seed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.
Alkalizing spices and condiments
Chili, cinnamon, curry, ginger, herbs, miso, mustard, unrefined sea salt, tamari.
Alkaline water, tofu, seitan, herbal teas, green tea, Stevia, apple cider vinegar, bee pollen, juices and green juices, lecithin granules, probiotic cultures.
This list includes foods that range from slightly acidic to highly acidifying.
Bacon, beef, canned meat, eggs, lamb, organ meats, venison, pork, rabbit, sausage, turkey, white fish, blue fish, shellfish, clams, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, prawns and prawns.
Apples, apricots, currants, dates, grapes, mango, peach, pears, plum, raisins, raspberry, strawberries, tropical fruits, blackberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, blueberry peas, sweet melon, oranges, pineapple, plums.
Cashews, peanuts, pistachios, coquitos, chestnuts.
Acidifying dairy products
Butter, margarine, cow’s cheese, goat’s cheese, sheep’s cheese, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, cream, soy cheese.
Cooked oil, oils exposed to heat, light oils.
Alcohol, coffee, black tea, carbonated drinks, sodas, pasteurized juices, cocoa, energy drinks, sports drinks, cola-based drinks, tap water, decaffeinated drinks, flavored water.
Aspartame, Carob, corn syrup, fructose, refined sugar, saccharin, sucrose, maple syrup.
White bread, pasta, noodles, French fries, pizza, mushrooms, mushrooms, chocolate, cookies, candies, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, pickles, vinegars, Tabasco sauce, tamari, wasabi, tobacco.
Important: This is a general classification where each food is taken according to the predominance of acidifying or alkalizing components. There are many other products that have not been included and the list does not pretend to be exhaustive, it is merely indicative.
Benefits of a balanced pH
Like everything in life, balance is the key in an alkaline diet and in food in general, if we manage to maintain a balanced pH then we will enjoy good energy levels to face each day, our nervous system will be calm and the muscles relaxed, the digestion will be very good and optimal intestinal motility without signs of constipation, the defenses will be stronger so we will hardly suffer from colds. In general, we will have a lot of physical and mental vitality, inner peace and a feeling of mental clarity.
Consequences of a very acidic diet
Eating a diet with an excess of acidifying products makes us feel low in energy, without strength, that our mental processes are slower, we suffer from headaches, fatigue, muscle tension and depression. Muscle and back pain are generally caused by low calcium levels. Shoulder and neck muscle strains, arthritis, and osteoporosis can also occur. Due to the loss of minerals that the body uses to compensate for excess acidity, we can become increasingly irritable as our nervous system is affected.
Consequences of excess alkalinity
According to Dr. Cousens, the main symptom of excess alkalinity is the over-excitement of the nervous system that initially manifests itself with muscle startles mainly in the face and forearms, in addition there is a marked increase in muscle spasms, cramps, difficulty concentrating and extreme nervousness.
Basic tips for an alkalizing diet
Proponents of the alkaline diet seek to balance the pH through food and point out that after a few weeks it is achieved and one notices it because the benefits described are presented. In any case, remember that before starting this or any diet you should consult with your doctor to help you determine what your specific nutritional needs are and which nutrition and / or weight loss program is the most indicated.
To do an Alkaline Diet keep the following in mind:
- Reduce your protein intake in general, especially meat and fish of all kinds.
- Cut down on pasteurized dairy.
- Reduce your fat intake.
- Use whole brown sugar or honey to sweeten, forget refined sugar and sweeteners, you can use Stevia.
- Include raw vegetables, sprouts, fresh herbs, seeds, and nuts on the food list.
- Eat more fresh ripe fruits and vegetables.
To compose your meals in the alkaline diet:
- Eat breakfast with fruit and vegetable juices.
- For lunch, take vegetables combined with other vegetables, seeds, legumes or cereals, it includes proteins of vegetable origin and very little or none of animal origin since they are acidifying.
- Make very light dinners, for example oatmeal or barley with fruit.
- During the day drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated. To increase its alkalinity it is advisable to add lemon juice since when it is metabolized it is one of the most powerful alkalinizers of the blood PH.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Alkaline Diet
Advantages of the Alkaline Diet
Healthy . The recommendations to restrict certain products such as refined sugar, reduce the consumption of meats, avoid alcohol and processed foods, eat more vegetables, greens, legumes, cereals and fruits lead to an improvement in the diet for most of the people. That will make you opt for a more balanced and varied diet while reducing calorie consumption.
You don’t go hungry . Thanks to the fact that there is no limit to the amount of food to be eaten, you do not have that permanent feeling of hunger as with other diets.
There is no rebound effect . As it is an eating style, followers of this diet will always maintain the same eating pattern, so the yo-yo or rebound effect of restrictive diets does not occur.
You really lose weight , since it is based on the intelligent consumption of fresh food with a predominance of vegetables, greens and fruits.
Disadvantages of the Alkaline Diet
It perpetuates false myths . The approach that considers foods because they are acidic or alkaline does not take into account the nutritional properties of each product and the real effect they have on the body by providing various nutrients. According to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital website, this diet is not advisable because it excludes healthy foods such as some fats and oils that provide essential fatty acids necessary to form healthy cells and strengthen the immune system.
No solid scientific basis . According to WebMD, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the purported health benefits of the alkaline diet originally designed to prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections by adjusting the acidity levels in the urine. The body regulates the pH of the blood and other fluids independently of the diet.
Weight loss is not due to the acid / alkaline principles of the diet . The loss of kilos and the weight loss observed in the followers of the diet are due to better eating habits by eating more fresh products, vegetables, fruits and vegetables, by reducing the intake of sugar and processed products, which are general healthy tips for weight loss and they have no relation to the ability to acidify or alkalize that you have such foods.
Video about the Alkaline Diet
Conference by Dr. Alberto Martí Bosch on how to deal with cancer holistically, his approach is based on the effects of acidity on the body and how alkalinity can be used to improve health.
Before starting the Alkaline Diet
If you decide to do the Alkaline Diet either to lose weight or lose weight, to improve your health or for any of the benefits attributed to it, we suggest that you choose a balanced plan that does not include supplements, fasts and other tricks related to diet. It is also essential that you consult with your doctor before starting any weight loss regimen.
Sources and References
- Hospital Nutrition
Effects of metabolic alkalosis
- C Mirenda – Natura Medicatrix Medical journal for the study and dissemination of alternative medicines
The art of eating (According to the medical proposal of Dr. F .X. Mayr)
- General Calixto García University Hospital
Impact of alkaline diet in overweight and obese people with chronic diseases.