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Acid-Alkali Balance

The pH diet is based on the idea that a person should consume foods that are slightly alkaline, because the body’s normal pH is slightly alkaline. Advocates claim that consuming a diet high in acidic foods, such as animal protein, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods, may disrupt the pH of the bloodstream, and increase a person’s likelihood of developing chronic or degenerative diseases.

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Salads, fresh vegetables, healthy nuts and oils are recommended while fatty meats, cheeses, sweets, chocolates, alcohol and tobacco are not recommended. Foods that are acidic include sugar, caffeine, wheat, saturated fats, processed foods, carbonated beverages, peanuts, pasta and white rice.

The normal pH range of the bloodstream is between 7.36 and 7.44. However, the food ratio for the diet is roughly 75 – 70% alkaline foods and 20 – 25% acidic foods.

Advocates believe that the pH level of the body’s internal fluids affects every living cell in the body. They believe that, as a result, over-acidification of the body from over consumption of certain foods may lead to chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, weight problems, allergies, fatigue and premature aging as well as problems with the nervous system, cardiovascular system and muscles. Other physical problems that are thought to result from over acidity include lack of energy, conjunctivitis, sensitive gums, agitation, dental caries, diarrhoea, colitis, dry skin, itches, red and irritated skin, leg cramps, osteoporosis, rheumatism, arthritis, sciatica, and tendonitis.

According to pH diet theory, when an alkaline environment is maintained in the body, metabolic, enzymatic, immunologic, and repair mechanisms function at their best. The acid forming metabolic of stress and inflammation and of high fat and high protein foods can be adequately and effectively neutralised only when sufficient mineral-buffering reserves are present, which can be found in a diet that is predominantly alkaline-forming.

The pH diet is used by athletes in the hopes of improving recovery time after competitions.

A seven-year study from the University of California, San Francisco, on 9,000 women showed that those who have chronic acidosis are at greater risk for bone loss than those who have normal pH levels. The scientists who carried out this experiment believe that many of the hip fractures prevalent among middle-aged women are connected to high acidity caused by a diet rich in animal foods and low in vegetables. This is because the body borrows calcium from the bones in order to balance pH. [1]

References

  1. Sellmeyer DE, Stone KL, Sebastian A, Cummings SR. A high ratio of dietary animal to vegetable protein increases the rate of bone loss and the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women. Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Jan;73(1):118-22. View Abstract
  2. Vormann J, Worlitschek M, Goedecke T, et al. Supplementation with alkaline minerals reduces symptoms in patients with chronic low back pain. J Trace Elem Med Biol 2001;15(2-3):179-183. View Abstract
  3. Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Kiel DP. The acid-base hypothesis: diet and bone in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Eur J Nutr 2001;40(5):231-237. View Abstract
  4. Remer T. Influence of diet on acid-base balance. Semin Dial 2000;13(4):221-226. View Abstract
  5. Kurtz I, Maher T, Hulter HN, et al. Effect of diet on plasma acid-base composition in normal humans. Kidney Int 1983;24(5):670-680. View Abstract
  6. Lemann J, Jr., Lennon EJ. Role of diet, gastrointestinal tract and bone in acid-base homeostasis. Kidney Int 1972;1(5):275-279. View Abstract