Does the alkaline diet really work?
In order to answer that question, first we need to ask ourselves this:
1. What exactly do we mean by “alkaline diet”?
2. How do we define or determine what it means for it to “work”?
So let’s take those two things one at a time.
The alkaline diet is a diet designed to “alkalize” the body. The goal of alkalizing is to promote the slightly alkaline state in which the body operates best. To reach this goal, the alkaline diet promotes eating larger amounts of fruits and vegetables, and fewer meats and certain other foods. Many alkaline “experts” recommend about 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods. The bottom line for most people is that the diet usually entails a lot more fruits and veggies, and a lot less meats and dairy.
There is evidence that eating an acid-producing diet can lead to many health problems, including osteoporosis and cancer. The alkaline diet, then, has the goal of being the logical opposite of an acid-producing diet.
If too much acid can cause stomach and esophageal cancer or osteoporosis, than one might reach the logical conclusion that the alkaline diet would drastically reduce the chances of the same.
While many people follow the alkaline diet for these reasons, many others follow the diet for the same reasons most of us follow any diet:
To be healthy and lose weight.
So can the alkaline diet, as defined above, help you accomplish these goals?
Will eating less meat and dairy reduce your risks of some cancers? Yes. There is evidence that high consumption of meat in the U.S. contributes to the prevalence of colon cancer.
Will devoting a larger portion of your diet to fruits and vegetables help you to lose weight and feel healthier, and reduce your risk of certain cancers? Again, the answer has to be “yes”. Many organic fruits and vegetables are good alkalizing foods and show promise in numerous other areas of health. And when re-balancing your diet in a way similar to that which is promoted by the alkaline diet, you almost cannot help but lose weight. Most people fall to a healthier weight naturally over time when they make the change.
So from our perspective, the answer has to be “yes”. The alkaline diet, and the process of alkalizing, does indeed “work” in the ways we expect it to.
One key thing to understand though, is that just because a food is considered “acidic” doesn’t mean that it produces acid in the body. A good example of this is citrus: a lemon is acidic, but when metabolized by the body it has an alkalizing effect. So don’t make the mistake of avoiding citrus or some other foods that may be considered “acidic”. Instead, focus on result that the food produces in the body.