What is the Deal with the Alkaline Diet?
Before I start, I want to quickly explain some terms I’ll be talking about. An alkaline substance is basic, meaning the opposite of acidic, and has pH levels above 7. Acids have low pH levels, below 7.
A lot of buzz has been going around about alkaline foods and how they can improve your health by raising the pH of your body. Many products out there are claiming to alkalize your water, and while they may work and actually raise the pH of the water, it does nothing in your body.
The body can only function within a narrow, narrow range of pH. This means if your blood pH increases any more than 0.1 on the scale, you can die. The blood must stay between 7.35 and 7.45 or you can enter a diseased state. Breathing regulates the acid content in the blood: carbon dioxide dissolved in the blood creates a bicarbonate buffer system with bicarbonate ions, carbonic acid, and carbon dioxide. Like this one, there are many other buffer systems in the body to tightly control the pH of other organs and systems.
Logically, since your body must remain in certain pH ranges in order to function properly, why would some aspect of your diet be able to influence these? That’s right, they can’t. Eating or drinking anything that is alkaline will not do anything to raise the pH in any system in the body. As soon as the food enters the stomach, it is exposed to stomach acid, one of the most acidic substances in the body. The stomach needs to remain at a certain pH in order to properly digest certain nutrients in the food. So if the pH of the stomach acid increases, more acid will enter the stomach in order to counter the increase in pH from whatever was eaten.
Basically, don’t trust anything claiming to be alkaline in order to improve your bodily pH levels. That will not affect pH levels in any way and is totally a scam.
On the other hand, many foods that are alkaline tend to be full of nutrients, like dark green vegetables. Eating alkaline foods for the nutrients they contain is great and can totally improve your health, but eating them in order to balance your body’s pH simply won’t happen. So go out there and eat your alkaline veggies in order to improve your nutrition since that’s something they will do!