Promoted by stunning celebrities ranging from Kelly Ripa and Victoria Beckham to Gwyneth Paltrow and Elle MacPherson, the alkaline diet has been getting a lot of hype and promotion over the years. The basic premise is that in order to keep the body healthy with a neutral blood pH level, then you should avoid acidic foods and favor those that are alkaline. By keeping the body neutral, you can then avoid the risk of disorders and diseases, such as arthritis and joint pain, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
It seems like a great idea, but the problem is that you cannot really change your blood pH through food or otherwise. On the alkaline diet, your blood pH is measured and should be around a 7.0, although it is usually closer to 7.4. By eating alkaline foods and avoiding acidic foods, your blood pH is neutralized and you are happier and healthier because research has shown that the body must be slightly alkaline in order to maintain life.
The alkaline diet also helps people lose weight and is considered healthy because of the divisions of foods. Fruits and vegetables are considered alkaline and good to eat, while coffee, refined sugar, meat and dairy are acidic. To help you determine which foods fall into which category, you can find charts that clearly delineate the best vegetables (broccoli and cabbage rank high), and the food items that are not allowed. The benefit to trying the alkaline diet, or an alkaline cleanse as it is known in the short-term, is that the foods you eat are healthy and the foods that you do not eat are not good for you anyway.
In addition to eating certain foods, you also test your saliva pH levels using test strips. You use the strips several times a day to determine when your body is too acidic, and then eat foods to make it more alkaline. Note that blood, urine and saliva, all have different levels of pH balance.
Overall, the alkaline diet plan is healthy and safe, but foods do not actually have an affect on blood pH levels. A healthy diet in general can help to prevent diseases like cancer, strengthen bone health and improve digestion, but the foods you eat do not make your blood pH more or less acidic so it is false to assume that eating certain foods will prevent cancer because of their pH balance. Instead, it is that you are switching to a diet with more fruits and vegetables that will improve your health, rather than the acidity of the items you are consuming.
Although the alkaline diet eliminates foods that can be considered unhealthy or unnecessary, like refined sugar and coffee, it also eliminates foods that contain essential nutrients like protein and iron in eggs, meat and cheese. If you decide to try an alkaline diet, make sure that you find other ways to balance your diet.