An alkaline diet isn’t about calories, portions, or preparing anything fancy — it’s about going back to the basics of chemistry class.
The theory behind this diet is that some foods are “acidic,” which means they produce acid once eaten and throw off your pH levels. Many of these foods are what make up the Standard American Diet: meat, dairy, coffee, soda, processed foods. An alkaline diet (or, as it’s referred to by celebrity magazines and fad diet blogs, The Alkaline Diet) claims to keep you leveled out and in tip-top shape.
The Case for Yay
It’s no coincidence that the acronym for the Standard American Diet is S-A-D. An unbalanced pH that leans toward the acidic end of the scale due to the SAD is a perfect nesting ground for inflammation, arthritis, mood disorders, bowel issues, and chronic disease. Eating mostly alkaline foods, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts, as well as drinking at least half your body weight in water each day (drinking water is the No. 1 thing you can do to alkalize your body) staves off chronic disease, quells inflammation and arthritis, and allows your cells to age gracefully instead of being sick, dehydrated, and unable to carry out even the most basic tasks (as often happens when you’ve been eating SAD-ly for too long).
The Case for Nay
Some skeptics say that The Alkaline Diet is bogus; that it’s simply an empty trend that provides zero substance aside from the normal advice of “eat more fruits and veggies.” Moreover, pH levels vary throughout the body. Our stomach is more acidic so it can break down and digest food, and our blood cells are slightly more alkaline than the rest of our body (usually around 7.4 pH).
The alkaline diet seems to “work” when it comes to overall health, but the jury is still out as to whether it’s because of alkalinity or because you’re simply emphasizing fruits, veggies, and unprocessed whole foods. We say if focusing on “alkaline” foods gets you excited to peruse the produce aisle, go for it! But remember, an alkaline diet isn’t about achieving an alkaline state, it’s about creating balance.