ALKALINE DIET - FAD OR FICTION?
Does alkaline rich food keep us slimmer and healthier? The Alkaline Diet suggests that by eating a certain way, that is, consuming what essentially amounts to an Eat Clean Diet, loaded with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, greens and minimal dairy and meat, will not only help you lose weight, but reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. There is also an argument that eating a less acidic diet helps to prevent bone loss. All this simply by managing the pH balance of your body through food.
If you know that human life depends on the number 7.4, and that this number represents a perfect acid/base balance, ideally set to support optimal health, then you know that we humans are essentially bodies, regulating themselves to this number, all day long. When we eat an Alkaline Diet, does this diet take over and help us regulate our own pH balance? I put this question to my friend and medical doctor, Dr. Akbar Khan of Medicor Cancer Centres in Toronto, Ontario. His response: “the body tightly controls blood pH to 7.4 regardless of normal variations in diet, through arterial pH sensors, kidneys and lungs”.
Thinking about that response, it seems unlikely that an alkaline diet will help control blood pH. In truth there seems to be little evidence to support the claims of the Alkaline diet. As the founder of the Eat Clean Diet though, I support the tenets common to both ECD and Alkaline Diet. We must consume foods that nourish us to the highest state of health possible. This means forgetting about processed, engineered, nutritionally devoid foods and reaching, every time, for those foods alive with nourishment. Eating abundant greens from those we know well, including kale, mustard greens, spinach and herbs to broccoli, sprouts and more. We can top up with fruits, particularly lower glycemic load fruits like apples, apricots, berries, grapefruit and pears. And temper with low-acid protein sources including egg whites, buttermilk, nut milk and nuts. Reach for legumes, especially lentils to bump up plant based protein intake.
Cereal and cereal grains and products made from these, especially processed versions of these, are highly acidic to the body. Part of the problem is the phytic acid coating on most of these grains (as well as nuts and seeds), that interrupts and even prevents mineral absorption. This is an issue in that minerals are often the very molecule that helps buffer acid reactions in the body. Without them, the task of managing acid balance becomes more challenging. This is one of the reasons I always recommend soaking nuts and seeds before consuming them, so we can remove the phytic acid component.
In your spice drawer, cinnamon, curry, turmeric, ginger, unrefined sea salt and mustard are alkaline, so use these generously.
Dieting is a universal pursuit but beware the trends. Rely instead on Eating Clean, whole, nutrient dense, well sourced, properly prepared foods is how I choose all food that ends up in me. If we provide these essential building blocks of good health through our food, then the body will do its’ job in return, rewarding us with a lean physique and optimal health.
Remember, I’m always listening. Tosca Reno
PS. I’d love to hear about your diet adventures. What worked? What didn’t? Share in the Comments section below.
Photo credit: Kelsey-Lynn Corradetti