The Alkaline Diet - Fact or Fiction?
In my new book, True Nutrition - European Secrets for American Women, I talk at length about diets and dieting. Generally, I counsel people to avoid fad diets. Their value is usually questionable, and any benefits are virtually impossible to sustain. Speaking of fads, the latest fad appears to be the so-called Alkaline diet (sometimes called the “pH diet,” or confusingly, the “alkaline acid” diet). This diet claims to alter your body’s chemistry, shifting it from acidic to alkaline, primarily by emphasizing certain foods, avoiding other foods, and taking recommended supplements.
Some proponents claim that by focusing on your body’s pH (acid/alkaline) balance, you can facilitate weight loss and promote general wellness. This belief seems benign enough, but the flip side of this claim troubles me: acidic foods can promote diseases, including cancer. There’s little if any evidence that this is true. For one thing, it’s virtually impossible to alter the pH within the body, as one might do to cancer cells growing in a glass dish in the laboratory. The body has tightly controlled mechanisms for maintaining pH balance, and little we can do affects this balance. Urine pH, by the way, can vary, but does not necessarily reflect the pH of the body’s tissues. This week, I’ll discuss this diet and weigh its pros and cons. Spoiler alert: my bottom line is that the diet probably can’t hurt and may help. But I’ll go into greater detail tomorrow.