If you want something to gain popularity, leave it to the celebrities to do the job. Take for example the alkaline diet. Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss, and Jennifer Aniston have all proclaimed the diet’s effectiveness for weight loss and overall well-being. Soon after, everybody’s talking about it.
The Alkaline Diet
Whether something is alkaline or not depends on its pH level that ranges from 0 (totally acidic) to 14 (completely alkaline). While our stomach is very acidic (pH level of 0 to 3.5), which is necessary for digestion, our blood is a bit alkaline with a pH of between 7.35 to 7.45 (balanced).
Most foods that we eat are either acid-forming or alkalizing. The alkaline diet is based on the premise that as we eat more acid-forming foods, our blood’s pH level loses its balance. But as the body tries to rectify the situation, much-needed minerals are lost in the process. The resulting environment leads to a myriad of diseases and ailments, from the common cold to chronic and debilitating ones such as arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
Proponents of the alkaline diet say that eating at least 80% alkalizing foods and 20% or less of acid-forming foods is ideal. This proportion has to be followed for every meal, snack and beverage. Examples of alkalizing foods are fruits in their natural form, vegetables, sprouted grains, almonds, lentils, tofu and other soy products. Foods that are considered acidic are dairy products, wheat products, eggs, red and processed meats, fried foods, sugary snacks, and packaged snacks. Alcohol, coffee and soda are also not allowed.
What Experts Say
Experts are skeptical about the alkaline diet because up to now, there have been no credible researches or robust clinical trials to prove the diet’s claims are true. In addition, the experts also point out that no amount of alkalizing or acid-forming foods can substantially alter the blood’s pH because our bodies are programmed to keep the pH at a constant level.
Nutritionists are also concerned that strictly following the diet may deprive our bodies with the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals provided by the acid-forming foods, which could lead to long term deficiencies.
Some of the experts’ other observations include:
- High level of effort is needed to follow the diet since many foods are not allowed
- Works for vegetarians, vegans, and people who are trying to avoid fat and sugar
- Not completely gluten-free
- No professional help is needed due to availability of resources for guidance such as websites and cookbooks
- Could help in losing weight
Effect on Weight Loss
Following the alkaline diet may not give you the health benefits as promised. But, since it promotes consumption of fruits and vegetables and bans sugary and processed foods, you will most likely lose weight and keep it off. However, since there is no restriction as to the number of calories consumed per day, exercise is still needed to burn the excess calories.