What is the alkaline diet?
The alkaline diet is also known as the acid-alkaline diet or alkaline ash diet. Its premise is that your diet can alter the pH value — the measurement of acidity or alkalinity — of your body. Your metabolism — the conversion of food into energy — is sometimes compared to fire. Both involve a chemical reaction that breaks down a solid mass.
However, the chemical reactions in your body happen in a slow and controlled manner.
When things burn, ash residue is left behind. Similarly, the foods you eat leave an “ash” residue known as metabolic waste.
Certain food groups are considered acidic, alkaline, or neutral:
- Acidic: meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, alcohol
- Neutral: natural fats, starches, and sugars
- Alkaline: fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables
Regular pH levels in your body
When discussing the alkaline diet, it’s important to understand pH.Put simply, pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline something is.
The pH value ranges from 0–14:
- Acidic: 0.0–6.9
- Neutral: 7.0.
- Alkaline (or basic): 7.1–14.0.
Many proponents of this diet suggest that people monitor the pH of their urine to ensure that it is alkaline (over 7) and not acidic (below 7). However, it’s important to note that pH varies greatly within your body. While some parts are acidic, others are alkaline — there is no set level. Your stomach is loaded with hydrochloric acid, giving it a pH of 2–3.5, which is highly acidic. This acidity is necessary to break down food. On the other hand, human blood is always slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.36–7.44 . When your blood pH falls out of the normal range, it can be fatal if left untreated Trusted Source. However, this only happens during certain disease states, such as ketoacidosis caused by diabetes, starvation, or alcohol intake
Food affects the pH of your urine, but not your blood
It’s critical for your health that the pH of your blood remains constant. If it were to fall outside of the normal range, your cells would stop working and you would die very quickly if untreated.
For this reason, your body has many effective ways to closely regulate its pH balance. This is known as acid-base homeostasis.
In fact, it’s nearly impossible for food to change the pH value of blood in healthy people, although tiny fluctuations can occur within the normal range. Excreting acids in your urine is one of the main ways your body regulates its blood pH.
If you eat a large steak, your urine will be more acidic several hours later as your body removes the metabolic waste from your system. Therefore, urine pH is a poor indicator of overall body pH and general health. It can also be influenced by factors other than your diet.