Alkaline Diet FAQ

What is alkaline diet and how does it affect our overall health? These are just two of the frequently asked questions that you might be contemplating. Well, you’ve come to the right place. The following lists of frequently asked questions are explained simply yet thoroughly, and scientifically. This article also includes extensive lists of popular and scientific works about the alkaline diet.

Frequently Asked Question Regarding the Alkaline Diet

1. What is the alkaline diet?

2. What is the pH scale?

3. How can pH be measured?

4. Which method of measuring pH is most accurate?

5. What is a normal pH?

6. How does the body maintain acid-alkaline balance?

7. If the body is capable of maintaining acid-alkaline balance, why is it necessary to follow an alkaline diet?

8. What are the harmful effects of low-grade metabolic acidosis?

9. What are the benefits of the alkaline diet?

o Kidney function
o Kidney stones
o Muscle wasting
o Osteoporosis
o Weight loss

10. Does the alkaline diet mean I have to give up all acidifying foods?

11. Does the alkaline diet require me to become a vegan or vegetarian?

12. What are other benefits of alkaline diet?

13. Further Reading

14. References

1. What is the alkaline diet?


The Importance of pH in Food Digestion

To fully appreciate alkaline diet, one needs to do a little backtrack on high school biology and chemistry. The food that we eat is basically liquefied before it can be of any use to our body.

Digestion first takes place in the mouth, where food is mechanically broken down by our teeth. Enzymes in the saliva also start to chemically metabolize the food before being pushed down to the esophagus, then to the stomach. The saliva has a pH of is around 6.5 to 7.5.

Our stomach contains a low pH 0.8 of hydrochloric acid that kills contaminants in food. This hydrochloric acid also helps other digestive enzyme to work more efficiently. When the hydrochloric acid mixes with food and other stomach secretions, its pH is raised to 2. This provides a good working environment for pepsin. Pepsin which works best at a pH of 2-3, starts the digestion of proteins. After approximately two hours, the ingested food becomes a thick liquid called chyme. Chyme will proceed to the small intestine. The small intestine has a pH of around 7.0 to 8.5. Nearly 95% of nutrients from food are absorbed in the small intestine.

But before absorption can be possible, specific enzymes are needed to make those nutrients small enough so that they can pass through the microscopic pores of the small intestines then into the bloodstream. The bloodstream would need to maintain a pH of 7.35 to 7.45 to keep the body healthy. The next and final stop of food would be the large intestine. The large intestine has a pH of 4.0 to 7.0. The remaining unusable end-product of food is eliminated through the anus during defecation.

Of Hydrogen Ions and Alkalinity

Bases, acids, and salts is comprised of hydrogen ions (ions are charged, either positive or negative, atoms). It is the amount of hydrogen ions present in a solution that allows us to determine pH (potential hydrogen) level of a solution. The number of hydroxyl ions or hydrogen present in a solution defines whether a solution is alkaline or acid. The more hydrogen ions present, the acidic a solution becomes.

Alkaline is synonymous to ‘base’. Several authors also defined it as a base that easily dissolves in water. An alkaline solution has a pH above 7. The human blood has a pH of 7.35 to 7.45. This pH level is carefully maintained by our body so that oxygen and nutrients are properly absorbed and the waste products efficiently eliminated.

Diet: It’s pH Effect on our Body

To put it briefly, alkaline diet is a diet that helps our body maintain its ideal pH of blood. Each individual may differ in their nutritional needs, but we all have a need to maintain a slightly alkaline blood to stay alive and healthy.

Foods are categorized as either alkalizing or acid-forming, depending on their effect on the body. An acid-forming food adds more hydrogen ions to the body, thus making the body more acidic. An alkalizing food on the other hand eliminates hydrogen ions from our body, therefore increasing the alkalinity.

It is vital to remember that this categorization is based on the effect of ingested foods have after they are digested in the body. In other words, it is not the intrinsic alkalinity or acidity of a food or how they initially taste upon ingestion. A common error is that if a certain food tastes acidic, it is acid-forming. This is not essentially true. Ever so often, an acidic-tasting food has alkalizing effect on our body. Take citric fruits like lemon as an example. Lemon has a pH of around 2 to 3 and is in fact acidic.

However, the minerals they give the body eliminate the presence of hydrogen ions, thereby decreasing the acidity of our body. People refer to this effect (or products) as ‘ash’ . To reiterate this concept: Foods that produces acid ash after it has been digested care those foods that contribute more hydrogen ions thereby making the body more acidic. On the other hand, foods that produce alkaline ash after it has been digested are food that help eliminates hydrogen ions thereby improving the alkalinity of the body.

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2. What is the pH scale?

By nature, chemical compounds dissolve into water that turn to some kind of solution, and this solution is then rated on a pH scale, and in the pH scale, the lower the scale reading the more acid is there in a solution, the higher the scale reading, the more alkaline it is. The pH scale was popularized by a Danish scientist named Soren Sorenson in the year 1909. And the range by which the scale reads is from 0 to 14, 7 being neutral or can be seen as water solution.

The name pH scale means “potential for hydrogen”. The pH scale is very useful in chemical related studies like it can be applicable in forming chemical compounds like sulphuric acid or nitric acid, both have chemical compounds that when combined will form acid solutions.

pH scale is also applicable in foods like coffees, water, tea, lemon juice and the like, we all know that coffee, tea and lemon juice has certain acid content that are below the neutral range of 7 which can be said to be acidic in the body when consumed. So you see, the pH scale in general is used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of any solution, may it be for chemical purposes or simply for household purposes, the ion concentration of hydrogen in these solution are those that are being measured.

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3. How to keep tract of your own pH ?

Chemists have lots of ways to measure pH of a certain liquid but many of these processes might prove to be too complicated and impractical for people who simply wants to monitor and take care of their body’s pH level. However, there are 3 simple ways to do it. These are the following:

Saliva test. By using the pH paper, you can check your body’s pH. You will need a plastic spoon for this. It is not advisable to directly touch the pH paper to your tongue because of the chemicals in the paper. It should be done first thing in the morning upon waking up while your mind is still not thinking about food. One thing to remember is that even the thought of food when hungry changes the pH in the saliva.

While commonly a little acidic than blood, the pH of saliva mirrors that of the blood and is a good determinant of health status. The ideal range of your first morning saliva is between 6.8 to 7.2. The pH of saliva should increase to 7.8 or higher later in the day. If this does not occur, your body might have a deficiency in magnesium or calcium and will not digest food very well. Needless to say, extended poor body pH invites illnesses.

Urine test. By using a pH paper (litmus paper), you can assess your body’s average pH by testing on your first urine in the morning. The ideal pH is 6.4-6.8. A pH of 6.4 indicates that it is slightly acidic while pH 6.8 means that it is slightly alkaline. The alkalinity of urine indicates anabolic (alkaline building) and catabolic (acid elimination) cycles. The urine pH shows the efforts of kidney, lungs, gonads, and adrenals in regulating the body’s pH balance with the help of buffer hormones and salts.

Urine can offer us a legitimate representation of our body’s chemistry. This is because our kidneys sift out the buffer salts for pH regulation and further gives us values according to what our body is removing. The urine is also a good indicator of what types of excess biochemical our body is flushing out. Examples of such biochemical are products of metabolism, vitamins, and minerals. It could also include toxins and drugs. Although the urine pH is not dependent on digestive enzymes like the salivary pH, there are other factors that can affect it. Some of these are the following:

  • preservatives ingested from food
  • pollutants in the air inhaled
  • stress encountered
  • types of food eaten
  • volume of water intake
  • level of pathogens present in your system
  • amount of rest received
  • all the biochemical activities happening inside the body.

Blood analysis. The cellular pH of the body can be measured by determining and analyzing potassium, sodium, carbon dioxide, chloride, and bicarbonate levels through a sample of the blood. This will need the order of the doctor and assistance of the laboratory personnel.

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4. Which method of measuring pH is most accurate?


Blood analysis, though less doable and less practical, proves to be the most accurate in measuring pH of the body.

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5. What is a normal blood pH?


The normal blood pH ranges from a narrow margin between 7.35 and 7.45.

If at any time your body pH is below 7.35, you are experiencing a condition referred to as acidosis. Acidosis leads to breakdown of the central nervous system manifested by depression. If severe case of acidosis happens, where the blood pH is below 7, coma and death occurs.

On the other hand, there is also a case of alkalosis, which is equally fatal but in a different manner. If the blood pH is above 7.45, this can cause the hypersensivity and over-excitability of the nerves of your body. This often results to nervousness, muscle spasm, and convulsions. Severe cases of convulsions usually cause to death.

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6. How does the body maintain acid-alkaline balance?


Our body has a built-in control mechanism system that controls the pH. They are classified as chemical buffers and mechanical buffers.

1. Chemical buffers. They are substances in our body that bind with hydrogen ion and eliminate it from the solution. As the concentration of these substances begins to rise and eliminate hydrogen ions, the acidity of a solution decreases. There are three types of chemical buffers. They are phosphate, bicarbonate, and protein buffer systems.

Bicarbonates. It is a made up of bicarbonate irons and carbonic acid. They function in a principle of check and balance. Carbonic acid is a property of carbon dioxide . If our body’s pH level decreases (too acidic), the kidneys and lungs continuously eliminates carbon dioxide. This process helps in neutralizing the presence of hydrogen ions. If however our body’s pH increases (too alkaline), our kidneys release bicarbonate iron that raises the level of hydrogen ion concentration. This process creates a more acidic environment thereby reaching the ideal pH balance.

Phosphates. It works pretty much in the same principle as the bicarbonate buffer system. The only difference they have is that with the same amount of phosphates and bicarbonates, phosphates have a stronger effect or more potency in buffering compared to that of bicarbonates.

Proteins. The protein buffering ability is responsible for nearly 75% of all chemical buffering in the body fluids. This buffering system of proteins is mainly due to certain amino acid residues. Such amino acids enable the release of hydrogen ions when the body’s pH becomes too alkaline, thereby increasing acidity. These amino acids can also bind with hydrogen ions if the body’s pH becomes too acidic, thus reducing the floating hydrogen ions and thereby raising pH-balance to normal levels.

2. Physiological buffers. They are the system in-charge of our body’s output of carbon dioxide, acid bases, or acids.

PHYSIOLOGICAL BUFFER SYSTEMS

Our body’s two main physiological controllers or our body’s pH are the respiratory system and the urinary system. The urinary system works better than the respiratory system in buffering changes of acidity within our body. However, the urinary system takes longer time to buffer. The respiratory system, though not as good as the urinary system in buffering, responds more quickly even with the slightest change of blood pH. It will only take the respiratory to respond in a matter of minutes.

Respiratory System. When there is an increase of carbon dioxide in our body’s fluids, hydrogen ion concentration likewise increases. This lowers the pH and makes it acidic. The elimination of carbon dioxide has the contrasting effect. This makes the respiratory a very good buffering system. It can neutralize three times as much as the chemical buffers. The continual production of carbon dioxide through aerobic metabolism is exhaled by our lungs at an equivalent speed.

Urinary System. Our kidneys are the best buffering system among the buffers. Other buffer system only reduces the presence of hydrogen ions by binding it with other chemicals. The kidneys on the other hand operate uniquely by removing excess hydrogen ions altogether from the body. The renal tubules of the kidney discharge excess hydrogen ion into the tubular fluid. Most of these tubular fluids have bound with other chemical buffers. Both the free hydrogen ions and the bound chemicals are excreted in the urine.

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7. If the body is capable of maintaining acid-alkaline balance, why is it necessary to follow an alkaline diet?


Many health-related problems are a result of a mismatch what our body needs and what we actually consume. Because of this, we develop a deficiency of minerals that our body sorely needs. One of these deficiencies is potassium alkali salts or K-base salts. When these K-base salts are metabolized in our body, one of the end-products is bicarbonate. Bicarbonates are one of the buffer systems than maintain a healthy pH balance of our body. These potassium based salts are abundant in plants foods (which of course our great ancestors have an abundance of and consume mostly). Shortage of K-base in our diet increases the chance of acid loading in our body imposed by our poor diet.

Just like a machine, overtasking these buffer systems can make them exhausted. Over taxing the buffer system also damages the organs that are responsible for balancing the body’s pH. If our body buffers fail to function properly, our blood pH can go haywire and can easily result to either acidosis or alkalosis.

Acidosis. This happens when our body’s pH is too low or too acidic. Though it is not a disease in itself, but this state is a good indicator of a disease.
This can also lead to further breakdown of normal body functions. Below are the complications of acidosis when our body’s buffering system fails to function properly

  • Metabolic acidosis is associated with the body’s inability to transform food into body tissues and energy. Prolonged case of acidosis can result to weakness, rapid or heavy breathing, and headache.
  • Acidemia happens when the pH arteries is below 7.35. In this case, there is an accumulation of acids in our bloodstream. This is made possible when there is severe acidosis. This is a result when the acid load far exceeds respiratory capacity to expel. This condition can often result in coma and can lead to death if the pH is lower than 6.80.
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when there is an excess of glucagon and lack of insulin. This state encourages the manufacturing of ketoacids in our liver. This condition can be triggered by poor carbohydrate consumption and chronic alcoholism.
  • Respiratory acidosis happens when our lungs fails to eliminate the presence of excess carbon dioxide from the body, thereby failure in reducing the presence of hydrogen ions.

Alkalosis. This happens when our body fluids are higher pH than normal (too alkaline). Below are complications of alkalosis.

  • Metabolic alkalosis. Excessive loss of carbonic acid in the blood causes metabolic alkalosis. Prolonged case of alkalosis can result in muscular weakness and convulsions. Death occurs if our body’s pH is above 7.80. Irritability and neuromuscular hyperexcitability are two of the predominant symptoms caused by alkalosis.
  • Alkalemia is abnormal alkalinity of the blood. Alkalemia increases the binding of protein with ionized calcium even if the calcium level in the plasma doesn’t change. Severe cases can cause hypocalcemia or a low level of calcium in plasma.
  • Hypokalemic alkalosis is a condition with low level of potassium in plasma. It is usually accompanied by metabolic alkalosis. This results in muscle weakness, cramping, obstruction of our intestines (ileus), and polyuria.
  • Respiratory alkalosis happens when there is a decrease of CO2 levels. Lightheadedness, dizziness, and numbing of the feet and hands are some symptoms apparent in respiratory alkalosis.

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8. What are the harmful effects of low-grade metabolic acidosis?


To succinctly put it, low grade metabolic acidosis has a harmful effect on our body. This includes retardation of growth in children, decreased bone mass and muscle mass in adults, and formation of kidney stone. Sweeteners, processed food, and animal proteins consumption plus exposure to chronic stress and pollutants are precursors of low-grade metabolic acidosis.

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9. What are benefits of alkaline diet?

a. Kidney function

When you are fond of ingesting acid-forming food, the kidney is taxed with eliminating the excess acids produced. Consumption of alkalizing food can lessen the kidney’s burden, thus helping to preserve kidney to function properly as we age.

The kidney is a bean shaped organ that weighs around 150g each. It is located at below the diaphragm and the posterior part of the abdomen. It plays a vital part in maintaining ideal pH of the blood. It also responsible in are to regulating blood pressure, elimination of waste from our blood, control fluid and water balance, production of erythropoietin for the manufacturing of new red blood cells.

Wastes such as sodium, aluminum, urea, nitrogen, and metabolic wastes that are eliminated out from our kidneys are excreted as urine. When our kidney is not overtaxed with maintaining the body’s pH, it can do its other function more efficiently. Alkaline diet which helps in regulating the blood pH not only keeps the kidney in functioning well, it also keeps it healthy. To have a clearer picture of this, let’s consider of what a soda can do to our kidney.

A common 12-ounce cola has a pH between 2.8 and 3.2. Since our kidneys cannot excrete urine with that acidity level, the pH should be raised to a pH higher than 5 in order not to harm the urinary tract. If you can remember the pH lesson I’ve discussed earlier, you’ll realize that this 12 ounce of cola must at least be diluted a hundred times. This means diluting it with 33 liters of urine. This is of course not possible because drinking that much amount of water would result to another type of toxicity in our body too.

Good thing we have a buffer system that is saddled with the job of balancing the pH. An equivalent amount of buffer must be produced by the body in order to reach the ideal pH of our body. That is a lot of buffer for just a can of soda. Now try to count how many sodas you have consume in a day and compute that over the years. That is how much your body has been producing buffer chemicals just to keep you alive, if not healthy.

b. Kidney stones

Nearly 95% of all kidney stones are made calcium stones. This occurs when too much calcium is present in the urine. Stone formers are advised to take lots of fluids to flush out possible substance that can develop into stone. They are also advised to imbibe lemon juice extracts (an alkaline-forming food) because of its citrate content. Citrate also alkalinize the urine and keep it to a safe pH of 6.5 to7.5. This will keep the uric acid crystals remain in a solution state and can be easily excreted through the urine. By this, citrate inhibits stone formation.

Patients are further advised to lessen sulfur forming foods (acid forming) from their diet by reducing, if not eliminating animal protein in their diet. Example of animal meat they should avoid is fish, meat, and chicken. These animal meats produce uric acid that can form into crystals and stone in the kidney.

c. Muscle wasting

Alkalinity plays a vital factor in building muscles. Acid forming foods encourage lactic acid buildup in our muscles during exercise routine which can cause the muscle pain. Alkaline forming foods on the other hand encourages the abundance of oxygen (remember more acidic means more carbon dioxide, more alkaline means more oxygen), thus creating an ideal environment for speedy muscle recovery and less chance of lactic acid accumulation.

The natural antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin K in fruits and vegetables helps reduce inflammation caused in the muscles caused by exercise. Spinach, an example of a good alkalizer, is also a good source of calcium. Calcium does not only strengthen bones but also helps our muscle relax thereby reducingg the chance of cramping.

Another thing to remember is that when our body becomes too acidic, our body breaks down its own body tissue to free alkaline minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, chromium, sodium, iron, and selenium just to maintain the ideal blood pH. With alkaline diet, this seemingly cannibalistic act of our body could be prevented.

Thus, alkalinity promotes muscle gain and avoids muscle wasting.

d. Osteoporosis

A good explanation of the relationship of osteoporosis and poor alkaline diet is to consider the phosphate buffer system. An average of 85% of phosphate ions that binds with hydrogen ions in order to maintain our blood’s pH balance comes from calcium phosphate salts. Calcium phosphate salts are fundamental components of our teeth and bones.

If our body fluids are frequently exposed to acid-forming liquids and food, our body will naturally draw its reserves from teeth and bones. Needless to say, this weakens the teeth and the bones. Poor bone mass naturally leads to osteoporosis. Not only that, high rate of withdrawal on the calcium phosphates would also increase elimination of calcium via the urinary systems. This can increase risk of developing kidney stones made of calcium.

Simple steps to avoid Osteoporosis Bones

  1. Ingest more veggies and fruits. Plant foods are abundant with organic anions. Organic anions are negatively-charged alkaline particles that would combine with cation. When organic anions are metabolized, they naturally reduce acid load in the urine thereby automatically alkaline balance.
  2. Avoid soda intake. Clearly my previous example is already a good demonstration to stay clear of soda. The devastating amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, aspartame, phosphoric acid, or other useless chemicals with no nutritive value in soda, necessitates our body to give up an equally overwhelming amount of alkaline buffering salts. Our body does this just so our urinary tract is not damaged at the expense of our bones and teeth.
  3. Replace refined carbs with tasty tubers, roots, and gourds. Sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, potatoes, beets, squash, carrots, and potatoes are exceedingly rich in minerals that can alkalinize your blood. They are also loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
  4. Add fresh lime and lemon to your water. The citric acids in these fruits are alkaline forming.
  5. Add sea vegetables to your diet.
    Sea vegetables such as agar agar, dulse, and other mineral-abundant seaweeds are naturally rich in calcium. They can be enjoyed in stews, soups, and puddings (blanc mange).
  6. Drink at least 64 ounces of mineral-enrich spring water every day. Minerals found in the water naturally replenish alkaline reserves. These include calcium, potassium salts, and magnesium.
  7. Reduce to 60 g or less per day or totally eliminate animal protein intake. Animal proteins are high in the sulfur-containing amino acids such as cysteine, cystine, and methionine. Such amino acids are acid-producing once metabolized by the body. Opt for protein from plants instead. In particular, lentils have the most alkalizing effect on the body. Compared to other sources of plant protein, they cook more easily than other dried beans. They are also versatile and more digestible for a lot of people. Soy is another plant protein. It is also high in calcium.
  8. Add ginger, cinnamon, and other spices and herbs. Cinnamon is a delightful alkalizing spice that you add include in almost any recipe. It tastes great with sweet potatoes, apples, or even in herbal hot tea. Ginger root is also a wonderful alkalizer. Not only that, it detoxifies and spices up a lot of dishes making it tastier. It can also be used as warming winter tea.
  9. Keep track of your urinary pH. Monitoring your urine pH first thing in the morning is a convenient and simple way to monitor the nutritional changes within your body. Acidic results can indicate that your bones are robbed off of important mineral in our body’s attempt to balance the pH.

e. Weight loss

Losing weight is not about depriving yourself of food and nourishment. It is in fact, taking nourishing foods that our body can readily make use of.

People who are in their ideal weight easily maintain it by consuming foods from each food group that are plant based. Such type of diet solves two problems for dieters:

  1. It avoids hunger pangs. Alkaline foods made of fruits are water-rich. This would help you feel more full and hydrated.
  2. It hastens our metabolic functions. The most common advantage alkaline diet is an increase of energy in a person. That’s because our body’s cellular make-up works best when it is in a specific pH level. Take mitochondria for example. Mitochondria is a part of the cell that is responsible for converting food into energy. Its function is greatly affected when our body is too acidic. And since alkaline diet optimizes the correct balance of blood pH, it also ensures the proper absorption of nutrients. Thus alkaline diet not only makes it easy to maintain weight, it also naturally supports the body in losing excess weight while providing enough nourishment.

When we ingest unnatural food (sugary treats, alcohol, and processed foods), it slows down digestion. This is mainly because this type of foods has no natural enzymes that aids in digestion. There are two main functions that enzyme does to help in digestion.

First, 75% of digestion is done by enzymes. Since plant foods naturally have these enzymes, it will make the digestive process more efficient and keep it at an optimum level.

Second, not only do these enzymes help in breaking down the foods we eat, it also breaks down stored fats in the body. That’s because when our metabolic process is hastened, it will require our body to burn more calories. Burning more calories would create a caloric deficit. This deficit will make the body tap on its reserves of fats thus decreasing its fat deposits.

On the other side of things, proponents of alkaline diets say that our body stores fat as a survival mechanism. If we consume too much acidic food from unnatural foods, our body imposes an austerity measure on using its alkalizing buffers. It does this to avoid over-tapping on mineral reserves since these minerals are also needed to nourish our body (since unnatural foods are less likely to provide these important minerals).

Fat can absorb acid easily in order for our body to achieve its ideal pH level. But this would also mean that the more useless acid-forming food we consume, the more fats will be stored in our body. In the same logic, if we maintain a healthy alkaline diet, our body would not need to hoard on fats.
It is also worth mentioning the role of liver in losing weight.

The liver also plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s ideal pH. It is responsible for binding with organic anions like lactate to reduce acidity. High presence of lactate can cause acidosis. Aside from that function, a healthy liver controls metabolism of fats. In fact, the liver is the primary organ in our body that burns fat. It also eliminates excess fat from your body. Thus, if your liver is healthy, that is, not too much strained with controlling the body pH by consuming alkaline diet, weight loss or weight control is not a problem.

To sum up everything, alkaline diet is an exceptional way to go for people who wants more energy, healthier well-being, and maintaining ideal weight.

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10. Does the alkaline diet mean I have to give up all acidifying foods?


Not necessarily. The human body needs to have a balance of acidifying foods and alkalinizing food for it to achieve the ideal pH. The more apt question you should ask yourself is this: am I eating the correct acid-forming or alkaline-forming food that works towards giving me optimum health or am I overtaxing my body by foods that are not useful to my body?

Our body is programmed to digest food and extract nourishment from natural foods i.e. plant foods. These foods contain acid forming foods but also contains alkalizing mineral. If however we consume unnatural foods (that acid-forming and are deficient of alkalizing minerals such as junk foods, ice cream, alcohol, caffeine, etc.) this could result to illness. This happens for two main reasons: 1) To eliminate the acids from these foods, our body makes use of its alkalizing mineral reserves. By doing so, our body is depleted with these same minerals. These minerals do not only serves as buffers but are also important in carrying out other important tasks in our body. 2) The amount of acid could overwhelm our body’s capacity to neutralize and detoxify it. If this happens, a condition called “chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis” can occur.

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11. Does the alkaline diet require me to become a vegan or vegetarian?’


Before I directly answer this question, let me first discuss the human’s physiological make-up…

Whether you are meat-eater now or not, do you know that humans are naturally built to be vegetarian, be it internally or externally?
Our body: jaws, teeth, and digestive system ¬ is designed for a no-meat diet. To reiterate this claim, let me point out common traits of herbivores (including humans) and carnivores.

  • Carnivores have claws, herbivores don’t.
  • Carnivores perspire through the tongue because they have no pores on the skin (no wonder dog pants to cool themselves!), herbivores has skin pores for perspiration (thank goodness humans don’t literally pant)
  • Carnivores have no flat molars for grinding food. They only have fangs for tearing flesh.
  • Carnivores’ intestinal tract is only 3x their body length. This makes it possible for the ingested decaying meat to pass through quickly. Herbivores’ intestinal tract on the other hand has 10-12x of their body length.
  • Carnivores’ hydrochloric acid is 20x stronger than that of herbivores.
  • Carnivores’ salivary glands are not functional in pre-digesting fruits and grains. Herbivores’ salivary glands are well-developed to enable them to pre-digest fruits and grains.
  • Carnivores have acidic saliva without the ptyalin that makes it impossible for them to pre-digest carbohydrates like grains. Herbivores’ alkaline saliva has ptyalin to enable them to pre-digest carbohydrates like grain.

Hmm, while you ponder on these facts, I would like to further present some benefits of a vegetarian diet. Here are some of them:

  • Herbivorous animals are tough and live longer. Think of elephants, goats, cows, gorillas, and rhinoceros. Now compare them with vultures and chickens which eat almost anything. They are scrawny compared to the herbivores I’ve mentioned.
  • Vegetarian never worries about colon cancer. Colon cancer may be caused by slow putrefaction and evacuation of the ingested meat.
  • Vegetarian has a next to impossible chance of developing calcium-made kidney.
  • Vegetarians have less chance of developing arthritis because of uric acid that comes from animal meats.
  • Vegetarians have less chance of developing osteoporosis. Vegetables and fruits ensure easy regulation of blood pH. Because of this, our body does not need to draw calcium bicarbonates from bones and teeth reserves.
  • Plants which are rich in K-based salts ensure the vegetarian a rich supply of bicarbonates and thus ensuring a replenishment of buffers for our body.
  • Vegetarian have that glowing skin because the liver and kidney is not taxed of overproducing chemical buffers. Because of this, they can focus more in waste elimination. Thus, the reason for a glowing skin.
  • Vegetarians have no problem in muscle wasting nor obesity.
  • Because vegetarians have less chance of over-consuming protein from meat eating, they also have less risk of developing nephritis. Nephritis occurs when nephrons, the kidney cells, are assaulted by uric wastes.

But are vegetables and fruits enough to nourish and sustain life? Yes, of course. As I’ve mentioned earlier there are three macronutrients that we need: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat. They can all be found in plants. On top of that, plant food sources have a higher micronutrient source too. Below are common points of debate whether it is healthy to be purely vegetarian or not.

Protein. It is often pointed out that humans can only have enough protein if they eat meat too. A vegetarian can have an ample supply of protein by eating a variety of grain, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Vegetarians are less likely to have a protein overconsumption. Overconsumption of protein can lead to mineral deficiency disorder and kidney function overload.

Calcium. Many vegetables like the (green, leafy vegetables) are good sources of calcium. The fact is, vegetarians are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis or fragile bones than meat eater. A good solid example would be other herbivore animals such as cows, elephants goats, rhinoceroses, and gorillas, just to name a few.

Micro and Macronutrients. A lot of people also think that a vegetarian diet is not a balanced diet. Vegetarian diets have a proportion of three macronutrients, which are complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Vegetarian food sources (plants) tend to be higher sources of most micronutrients too.

So, to go back to the question if one should kiss meat goodbye when opting for an alkaline diet: yes, but it’s really up to you. It’s a matter of whether you should support your physiological make-up or go against it.

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12. What are other benefits of alkaline diet?


Alkaline diet increases the body’s immunity from diseases. Most pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi thrive in a low-oxygen and acidic environments. This is also true for many types of cancer. Furthermore, vegetables and fruits that are alkaline-forming such as broccoli and citrus fruits usually rich in vitamin C, a natural booster of the immune system.

It would help to remember that with natural food and alkaline diet (that means not junk food, not soda, etc.), our digestive won’t be too worked up. This is because of the natural foods have enzymes that help us digest 75% of the food. Consuming unnatural foods (enzyme-deficient foods) would force our body to produce all of the enzymes.

To be able to do that, our body taps on its reserves from all tissues and organs causing a deficit in metabolic functions. This does not damage us outright, but it can eventually cause degradation of cellular enzymes that will weaken the immune system. No wonder people who opt for unnatural foods and snubbing alkaline diet are prone to diseases.

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13. Further Reading

Aihara, Herman. Acid and Alkaline. Chico, CA: George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, 1986. ISBN: 978-0918860446

Auer, Wolfgang. The Acid Danger. North Bergin, NJ: Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2004.

Ayne, Blythe. Save Your Life with the Power of pH Balance. Portland, OR: Emerson & Tilman, 2007. Kindle Ebook. ASIN: B00145FBHM

Baroody, Theodore A. Alkalize or Die: Superior Health Through Proper Alkaline-Acid Balance Waynesville, NC: Holographic Health, 1991. ISBN: 978-0961959531

Brown, Susan E., and Larry Trivieri Jr. The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide: A Quick Reference to Foods & Their Effect on pH Levels. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers, 2006. ISBN: 978-0757002809

Brown, Susan E. Better Bones, Better Body: Beyond Estrogen and Calcium Lincolnwood, IL: Keats, 2000. ISBN: 978-0658002892

Cook, Michelle Schoffro. The Ultimate pH Solution: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Prevent Disease and Lose Weight. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. ISBN: 978-0061336430

Eising, Susie M. The New Balanced Diet: Enhance Your Well-Being with Delicious, pH-Balanced Food San Francisco: Silverback Books, 2000. ISBN: 978-1930603059

Exum, Keith. Alkaline Foods Cookbook. Middletown, DE: Jazzy Kitty Greetings, 2007. ISBN: 978-0976854029

Graf, Jeannette, and Alisa Bowman. Stop Aging, Start Living: The Revolutionary 2-Week pH Diet That Erases Wrinkles, Beautifies Skin, and Makes You Feel Fantastic. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0307382375

Guerrero, Alex. In Balance for Life. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers, 2005. ISBN:

Jaffe, Russell M. The Alkaline Way: Your Health Restoration. Sterling, VA: ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies, Inc., 2000

Johnson, Deborah Page. Home Test pH Kit. Naperville, IL: NewPage Productions, 2008. ISBN: 978-0965248433

Jubb, Annie Padden, and David Jubb. Secrets of an Alkaline Body: The New Science of Colloidal Biology. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2004. ISBN: 978-1556434815

Khalsa, Karta Purkh. Body Balance: Vitalize Your Health With pH Power. New York: Kensignton, 2004. ISBN: 978-0758202673

Kliment, Felicia. The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet : An Innovative Program for Ridding Your Body of Acidic Wastes. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002. ISBN: 978-0658016950

Lark, Susan. Eat Papayas Naked: The Ph Balanced Diet for Super Health And Glowing Beauty San Francisco: Silverback Books, 2005. ISBN: 978-1596370012

Lanou, Amy, and Michael Castleman. Building Bone Vitality: A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis–Without Dairy Foods, Calcium, Estrogen, or Drugs. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. ISBN: 978-0071600194
Mosher, Amy. Your Health = Your pH: How To Reverse Illness & Gain Vitality. Kindle Ebook. ASIN: B002T44ICG
Morter, Ted. An Apple a Day. Rogers, Arkansas: Best Research, Inc., 1997

O’Donnell, Tony. Miracle Detox Secrets plus pH Balancing for Peak Vitality. Tony O’Donnell, 2008. ASIN: B0032YTEL2
Ossipinsky, John. An Undetected Acid-Alkaline Imbalance. Surprise, AZ: Vision Publishing, 2006. ISBN: 978-0977491728
Ross, Bonnie. The Amazing Acid Alkaline Cookbook: Balancing Taste, Nutrition, and Your PH Levels. London, Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers, 2010. ISBN: 978-0757003165

Tunsky, Gary. The Battle for Health Is Over pH Chula Vista, CA: New Century Press, 2005. ISBN: 978-0972063616

Vasey, Christopher and Jon Graham. The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health: Restore Your Health by Creating pH Balance in Your Diet. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2006. ISBN: 978-1594771545

Vasey, Christopher. The Naturopathic Way: How to Detox, Find Quality Nutrition, and Restore Your Acid-Alkaline Balance. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2009. ISBN: 978-1594772603

Von Cramm, Dagmar, Angelika Ilies, and Friedrich Bohlmann. Anti-stress: Recipes for Acid-alkaline Balance. Gaia Books, Ltd, 1999. ISBN: 978-1856751452

Vyas, Bharti, and Suzanne Le Quesne. The pH Balance Diet: Restore Your Acid-Alkaline Levels to Eliminate Toxins and Lose Weight. Berkeley: Ulysses Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-1569756072

Vyas, Bharti, and Suzanne Le Quesne. The PH Diet: The PHenomenal Dietary System. London: Thorsons, 2009. ISBN: 978-0007332427

Wang, Sang. Reverse Aging. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Siloam Enterprise, Inc., 1994.

Wiley, Rudolf A. Biobalance: The Acid/Alkaline Solution to the Food-Mood-Health Puzzle. Orem, UT: Essential Science Publishing, 1988. ISBN: 978-0943685052

Wiley, Rudolf A. Biobalance2: Achieving Optimum Health Through Acid/Alkaline Nutrition. Orem, UT: Essential Science Publishing, 2002. ISBN: 978-0943685335

Young, Robert O., and Manuel Ortiz Braschi. The Alkalarian Diet: See Your Health In A Whole New Light! Unique Enterprises, 2009. Kindle Ebook. ASIN: B002I618LO

Young, Robert O., and Shelley Redford Young. The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health. New York: Warner Books, 2003. ISBN: 978-0446690492

Young, Robert O., and Shelley Redford Young. The pH Miracle for Diabetes: The Revolutionary Diet Plan for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics. New York: Warner Books, 2004. ISBN: 978-0446532662

Young, Robert O., and Shelley Redford Young. The pH Miracle for Weight Loss: Balance Your Body Chemistry, Achieve Your Ideal Weight. New York: Warner Books, 2005. ISBN: 978-0446577229

Young, Shelley Redford. Back to the House of Health: Rejuvenating Recipes to Alkalize and Energize for Life! Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing, 2000. ISBN: 978-1580540711

Young, Shelley Redford. Sick and Tired?: Reclaim Your Inner Terrain. ISBN:

14. References

Arnett, T. “Regulation of bone cell function by acid-base balance.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 62(2):511-520, 2003.

Barzel, U. “Acid loading and osteoporosis.” Journal of the American Geriatric Society. 30(1982):613.

Brown, S. and R. Jaffe. “Acid-alkaline balance and its effect on bone health.” International Journal of Integrative Medicine 2(6): Nov/Dec 2000.

Buclin, T., M. Cosina, M. Appenzeller, A.F. Jacquet, L.A. Decosterd, J. Biollaz, and P. Burckhardt. “Diet acids and alkalis influence calcium retention in bone.” Osteoporosis International 12(6):493-499, 2001.

Bushinsky, D.A. and K.K. Frick. “The effects of acid on bone.” Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension 9(4):369-379, 2000.

Bushinsky, D.A., S.B. Smith, K,L. Gavrilov, L.F. Gavrilov, J. Li, and R. Levi-Setti. “Chronic acidosis-induced alteration in bone bicarbonate and phosphate.” American Journal of Physiology 285(3):F532-F539, 2003.

Cseuz, R.M., T. Bender, and J. Vormann. “Alkaline mineral supplementation for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.” Rheumatology 44 (Supplement 1):i79, 2005.

Dawson-Hughes, B. “Title.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Jan 2008. http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/12006

Disthabanchong, S., S. Domrongkichaiporn, V Sirikulchayanonta, W. Stitchantrakul, P. Karnsombut, and R. Rajatanavin. “Alteration of noncollagenous bone matrix proteins in distal renal tubular acidosis.” Bone 35(3):604-613, 2004.

Draper, H.H., and C.A. Scythes. “Calcium, phosphorus, and osteoporosis.” Fed Proc 40.9 (1981):2434-38.

Dwyer, Johanna, E. Foulkes, M. Evans, and L. Ausman. Acid/Alkaline Ash Diets: Time for Assessment and Change. Journal fo the American Dietetic Association 85(7): 841-845.

Frassetto, L.A., R.C. Morris, Jr., and A. Sebastian. “Effect of age on blood acid-base composition in adult humans: Role of age-related renal functional decline.” American Journal of Physiology 271(6 Pt. 2):F1114-F1122,1996.

By nature, chemical compounds dissolve into water that turn to some kind of solution, and this solution is then rated on a pH scale, and in the pH scale, the lower the scale reading the more acid is there in a solution, the higher the scale reading, the more alkaline it is. The pH scale was popularized by a Danish scientist named Soren Sorenson in the year 1909. And the range by which the scale reads is from 0 to 14, 7 being neutral or can be seen as water solution. The name pH scale means “potential for hydrogen”. The pH scale is very useful in chemical related studies like it can be applicable in forming chemical compounds like sulphuric acid or nitric acid, both have chemical compounds that when combined will form acid solutions. pH scale is also applicable in foods like coffees, water, tea, lemon juice and the like, we all know that coffee, tea and lemon juice has certain acid content that are below the neutral range of 7 which can be said to be acidic in the body when consumed. So you see, the pH scale in general is used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of any solution, may it be for chemical purposes or simply for household purposes, the ion concentration of hydrogen in these solution are those that are being measured.

One Response to “Alkaline Diet FAQ”

  1. Karla KAy

    Karla KAy

    16. Jul, 2013

    General comment -
    (Another value of alkaline diet!)
    Being 81 years old, I had assumed that my “leaky bladder” was just another sign of old age – weakened musculature – or ? ?
    I WAS WRONG ! !
    Since addressing the alkaline diet, my incontinence has disappeared.
    I am no longer a “leaky little old lady!”
    I know it’s the alkalinity factor, as whenever I go too acidic, my “leakage” is back. In act, I can use that one “symptom” of age as an indicator that I had better start watching my balances.
    : )
    Karla Kay

    Reply to this comment

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