Alkaline diets are claimed to help with weight loss, slow aging, and help control chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer.
An alkaline diet or acid-base diet is a dietary method with dietary adjustments to balance the pH in the body. This diet is done by consuming more alkaline foods every day. In addition, you should also avoid consuming drinks containing alcohol and caffeine.
What are Alkaline Diets?
An alkaline diet or acid-base diet is a diet method that is carried out by adjusting the diet to balance the blood pH in the body. On this diet, you must consume more alkaline (basic) foods and limit acidic foods to a ratio of 70% to 30%.
Please note, blood is alkaline. A study states that if you eat foods with an acidic pH, the blood pH will decrease. Meanwhile, if you eat foods with an alkaline pH, the blood pH will be stable. The results of this study led scientists to conclude that this type of alkaline food will make the body in stable and healthier condition.
According to this diet theory, acidic foods such as meat, poultry, milk, and eggs can make the body more susceptible to disease.
The basic theory of the alkaline diet is that the body is susceptible to disease if it eats acidic foods. Meanwhile, alkaline foods are considered to be able to maintain a healthy body.
Foods that produce alkaline include fruits, vegetables, soybeans, tofu, nuts, seeds, and peas. Meanwhile, acidic foods include milk, eggs, meat, wheat, refined sugar, and processed foods (canned or packaged).
Alkaline Diets and Their Relation to the Body’s pH Balance
Our blood needs acid-base balance to function properly. Acid-base balance refers to the mechanisms the body uses to keep fluids close to a neutral pH (neither too acidic nor too alkaline).
Acid and base levels are measured on a pH scale that ranges from 0 to 14. pH 0 is highly acidic, while pH 14 is highly alkaline. The neutral pH is 7 on the pH scale.
Alkaline Diets and Blood pH
The pH level in different parts of the human body varies widely; for example, the blood is slightly alkaline with a normal pH between 7.35 and 7.45. An alkaline diet is claimed to help the body maintain blood pH levels. But in reality, an alkaline diet will not change blood pH because the body naturally maintains blood pH levels.
Although it cannot change blood pH, diet or food menus can indeed change urine pH values. However, urine pH cannot be used as a benchmark for assessing a person’s general health condition or body pH levels.
Alkaline Diets and Cancer
Several studies have found that alkaline environments can make certain chemotherapy drugs more effective or less toxic. However, there is no evidence yet that an alkaline diet can help prevent cancer. So, for those of you who suffer from cancer, it is still advisable to consult with your doctor and nutritionist regarding your nutritional needs before starting any diet.
Here are some other benefits of an alkaline diet for health:
- Lose weight by consuming more fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of fluids, and limiting consumption of sugar, processed foods, and drinks containing alcohol and caffeine
- Helps prevent kidney stones, keeps bones and muscles strong, improves heart health and brain function, reduces low back pain, and lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol which are major risk factors for heart disease
- Slows the rate of bone loss, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis with age
Food recommendations for an alkaline diet do have several health benefits for the body, but this diet will not change the pH level in the body. In addition, the various benefits of an alkaline diet for the body also require more research and evidence.
Some people find it difficult to follow or practice an alkaline diet because many of their favorite foods will be restricted when doing this acid-base diet program. Protein intake is also limited to vegetable sources such as beans and tofu.
However, the best way to lose weight is to exercise regularly for 30 minutes per day. You can support it by eating healthy foods.
For those of you who have certain medical conditions, it is advisable to consult a doctor and nutritionist before starting an alkaline diet.
Benefits of the Alkaline Diets
Meanwhile, alkaline foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts can improve the health of the body. The alkaline diet is also believed to have benefits, as follows:
1. Help Lose Weight
Alkaline diets tend to be low in calories, so they can help you lose weight.
2. Maintain Kidney Health
Excessive consumption of acidic foods can irritate the kidneys. The alkaline diet is also believed to maintain kidney health.
3. Prevent Cancer
Because it emphasizes consuming more fruits and vegetables and reducing meat, this diet is claimed to prevent cancer.
4. Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease
Alkaline diets tend to be low in fat and calories, which naturally supports a person at a healthy weight and lowers the risk of heart disease.
5. Improve Muscle Health
With age, a person tends to lose muscle mass. However, an alkaline diet is believed to improve muscle health.
Recommended Foods in Alkaline Diets
However, if you are interested in trying an alkaline diet, here are the foods recommended for this diet:
- Unsweetened fruit juice
- Black currants
- Vegetables, especially spinach
- Mineral water
- Soy foods, especially tofu
Meanwhile, foods that should be limited or avoided on an alkaline diet are:
- Meat, especially canned meat and veal
- Dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt
- Ice cream
- Brown rice and white rice
- Peanuts and walnuts
- Packaged processed food
Of the recommended foods, the alkaline diet is fairly healthy as it encourages a high intake of fruits, vegetables, and other good plant sources while limiting unhealthy processed foods.
Pros and Cons of the Alkaline Diets
As with other diets, the alkaline diet also has its pros and cons. Because this diet allows you to eat more healthy foods, you can reduce your calorie and bad fat intake.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the cons of an alkaline diet refer to the impossibility of food changing the pH value of the blood. This is because the body has various effective ways to regulate its blood pH balance, one of which is by excreting acid through urine.
Even large changes in blood pH can be life-threatening. In addition, because this diet is very low in protein, it is feared that it can increase the risk of other problems, such as weak bones and muscles.
Even so, an alkaline diet can still help you lose weight and improve your overall health when done correctly. It won’t be easy to practice because there may be a lot of favorite foods that must be avoided.
However, if you want to give it a shot, you must ensure that you get enough replacement protein intake to keep this diet safe. If you have any medical conditions, consult your doctor before beginning this diet.
You can also support this diet by exercising for 30 minutes per day and getting enough sleep to get good results.