Is it just me or is there a continuous cycling of “fad” diets? The latest one to pop back into the news is the alkaline diet. In this particular article, a naturopath is consulted. Naturally, this ND recommends supplements, including his own line. While I don’t completely eschew all supplements I’m extremely wary of anyone who is both recommending them and profiting from their sales.
What is the alkaline diet? It’s actually a pretty healthy diet based on plants and avoidance of “acidic” foods such as caffeine, alcohol, animal products, and highly processed foods. Nothing too earth shattering. Personally, I could never give up my coffee so it’s definitely not for me.
The problem with the alkaline diet is not with the food choices, it’s with the claims it makes. The idea is that consuming acidic foods promotes acidity in the body and increases inflammation. Supposedly, consuming an alkaline diet will promote a higher (i.e. more alkaline) pH balance in the body. Here’s where my issue with the diet lies. Our bodies are pretty damn good at regulating the pH of our blood and diet actually has essentially no impact on the level of acidity of our blood. There is also no evidence that an alkaline diet will prevent or cure cancer (1). If you’re consuming a diet that’s high in animal products you may have an increased risk of kidney stones as a result of an increased urine acidity (2).
Sure, most of us could benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods and animal products. However, an alkaline diet is not going to affect the pH value of your blood and I would think twice before shelling out for (likely) unnecessary supplements.