Does the Alkaline Diet Really Work?

imageIn a past post, Amir Yafawi, our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor, briefly touched on the Alkaline Diet in the Kombat Arts Tip of the Week.

Some students were asking me about an Akaline Diet, so I wrote this article about it.

The Alkaline Diet

The alkaline diet has been touted as one of the best diets to lose weight with and ward off negative medical conditions such as cancer and high blood pressure. The diet works to keep the body’s pH levels balanced. A low pH level means that the body is acidic, which is not a good thing.

Athletes are also really interested in this diet, because they believe that by doing this diet, they can readily and easily remove lactic acid from their muscles. You know that burning, almost cramping feeling in your muscles when you have been training for awhile, or very intensely? Well, depending on the type of exercise you are doing, and how long you have been doing it for, and what energy system you are using, you can produce lactic acid and hydrogen, which are essentially waste products and potentially recycleable energy sources (but this is another article…).

The diet claims that it works to keep the blood’s pH at a good alkaline level. Are you eating acid or alkaline based foods? An alkaline diet stresses the importance of eating alkaline based foods such as veggies, fruits, nuts and beans to ensure that your blood’s pH level does not turn acidic. This means avoiding or decreasing your consumption of foods such as meats, grains, sugar, salt and dairy because it is believed that they can make the body acidic.

According to the proponents of this diet, when the blood turns acidic, it depletes the bones of precious minerals such as potassium and magnesium. These minerals are all alkaline based. The body automatically uses these to restore the blood’s pH balance.

The alkaline diet has a good goal in mind, but does it really work? There are both pros and cons for this diet. Some of them are based upon how chemistry works, but others are just based upon unproven beliefs.

The Pros of the Alkaline Diet

Any diet that suggests that you eat more fruits and vegetables is surely headed in the right direction. It is all about eating a healthy diet that is filled with plenty of nutrition. The alkaline diet keeps you on track and shows you how to eat healthy. Eating the right foods will help to keep your body at the right pH level, which means that your immune system does not have to work as hard to fight off diseases. Since you won’t be eating sugar and salt, it will help to ward off unfavorable medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Because you will be eating a healthier diet, it can help you to lose weight.

The Cons of the Alkaline Diet

It is true that the alkaline diet prompts you to eat a balanced diet, but there is no proof that it actually works. There is no evidence that eating certain foods does anything to change or modify the blood’s pH levels. There have been plenty of clinical trials done, but they have been inconclusive.

The body has a way of regulating the blood on its own if the blood‘s pH level becomes acidic. The alkaline diet does nothing to help or hinder this process, especially if you choose to follow the most restrictive form of the diet and omit acidic foods on a regular basis. In addition, this diet is somewhat difficult to understand and hard to follow.

In conclusion, the alkaline diet has both good and bad aspects. It helps you to eat right, which can ward off certain medical conditions and prolong life. But then again, it does nothing to affect the body’s pH levels, which is the major claim of the diet. All in all, it is a good diet that encourages you to eat more foods that are good for you, which can help you in the long run.

In a future article I will briefly discuss some good points about eating a plant based diet.