What makes an alkaline diet?
There are a few factors involved, but it’s all really simple stuff in the end. At it’s most basic level, a person following an alkaline diet knows that food is all about balance, and is conscious of what foods cause an acidic body state, and what foods create an alkaline state. See our acid alkaline food chart if you haven’t already. It’s by no means an exhaustive list of foods, but a great place to start incorporating alkaline food into you’re diet.
Acidic foods are not necessarily bad.
That’s right! Acid causing foods are not bad, and it’s best we dispel that notion right now. We actually need the neutralists that they contain. Acidic foods get a bad name because the typical western diet has an over abundance of these foods, and tends to shy away from alkaline foods. It could be argued that if our diet was predominantly alkaline, we would see a push for acid causing foods, because there would be other nutritional issues that would arise. So remember, balance.
Are all alkaline foods good?
Not necessarily. One easy example is sugar. We all know that too much sugar is a bad thing. It can lead to a whole host of issues, including diabetes, candida overgrowth, and more. But did you know that sugar actually leans towards being an alkaline? So obviously adding sugar to your diet to make up for acidic foods would be a terrible idea!
Again, we look for an acid-alkaline balance, while considering the actual nutrients that we are taking in daily. In our opinion the book The Kick Acid Diet is the definitive guide to understanding and balancing all of these things. You can find out a little bit more about this book and it’s author on our science behind the alkaline diet page.
Why eat an alkaline diet?
Medical research has specifically linked acidic urine samples due to a diet high in acid forming foods to different kinds of disease. Things like acid reflux (heartburn), poor bone health1, the loss of muscle mass, and more.
A diet that balances acid and alkaline causing foods can even improve and maintain lean body mass.2 Maintaining lean body mass and strong bones is essential for overall health, and allows us to age more gracefully.
Our body operates at a PH of roughly 7.41, which is basically a neutral to slightly alkaline PH state. The foods that most of us eat on the other hand are generally much closer to the acidic side of the scale. This causes our body to use more of it’s resources to maintain it’s ideal PH state. And that’s why we feel balancing the two is so essential.
A diet high in alkaline food can help the body work less on maintaining it’s PH, or even robbing calcium from our bones to compensate for excess acid levels3. This could give you more energy in the meantime, and less problems down the road.
Highly alkaline foods are the building blocks of every major natural food diet
What do all natural food diets have in common? Natural, preferably organic minimally processed food!
We’ve got the paleo diet, raw food diets, detox diets, gluten free diet and countless others. All centered around natural foods, herbs, and fresh water. And it just so happens that many of these foods are actually in the alkaline food group. The effects of these alkaline foods (and the acidic foods!) can be measured very easily by anyone. Read on to find out how!
Make better food decisions, and monitor how well you’re doing!
Knowing the food you’re eating, and how it effects your PH level is really the end-all diet plan. Well, we shouldn’t say that. The ideas behind the alkaline diet can actually be used alongside any diet plan, fad or not, to help tailor it to your body’s needs.
Check out this short YouTube video to learn what one of the main tools is, how to use it, and why it’s important.
As you can see it’s incredibly easy to do, and can tell you so much about how well you are doing in you everyday eating. Your urine or saliva PH will immediately start to tell you if you are drifting away from a neutral to slightly alkaline ph.
PH testing strips can most likely be purchased at your local health food store. A wide range of PH testing strips can also be found on Amazon.
Do I really have to test my urine?! Does an acid or alkaline diet actually change PH?
Yes, your diet does change your urine PH, and yeah, we know how it sounds — we were hesitant to test our urine at first too, but ultimately we found it to be most accurate.
Below we will quickly go over the reason for testing urine over saliva, but in the end you can use whichever method you are most comfortable with.
Dr. Remer and Manz did some groundbreaking research in 19954 on the study of food and it’s effect on urine PH. It lead to something they call PRAL, or Potential Renal Acid Load.
PRAL measures the acidity of food after it’s been digested, which lead to some really interesting conclusions. One of those conclusions was that all foods after consumption show to the kidneys as either an acid forming or alkaline forming food, regardless of it’s state before consumption.
In layman’s terms, a lemon, and other citrus foods actually make you more alkaline, and it was proved with Dr. Remer and Manz tests on urine!
Saliva also reflects overall acidity to some degree. But we advise against using saliva as your metric because, say you had an orange before you took a saliva test. You might mistakenly find that you are very acidic at that time when you might actually be slightly alkaline! Because remember, an orange is acidic at consumption, but actually helps your body become more alkaline after digestion.
If you want to learn more about PRAL, check out our more in-depth article, The Science Behind an Alkaline Diet.
1 Urine pH is an indicator of dietary acid
2 Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults
3 Diet Acids and Alkalis Influence Calcium Retention in Bone
4 Remer & Manz, Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH