Alkaline diet. *sigh*

One of the latest fad diets is the alkaline diet. Celebs such as Victoria Beckham, Mel C and Robbie Williams are currently said to be following the regime.

Well I’ve lost count of how many fad diets Victoria Beckham has been on, which calls into question the longevity of any one of these fads (we all know they’re pretty much unsustainable, especially for us mere mortals who can’t afford to be choosy or have stuff made for us). Why would someone need to keep changing diet regimes if the one they were on before was so fantastic?

So let’s get this straight. Alkaline means something that is the opposite of acid. There’s a range between fully alkaline and fully acid; foods vary in where they fall within that range, which is referred to as PH. A pH of 0 is completely acidic, and a pH of 14 completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. We, as humans, have our own PH levels which indicate how acid or alkaline parts of us are. Note I said levelS, not level; the PH of blood remains constant at 7.3 to 7.4. The stomach and digestive tract is far more acid, with a PH of 1.3 to 3.5

Our bodies maintain their natural, essential-for-life, PH levels regardless of what we eat.

Our bodies maintain their natural, essential-for-life, PH levels regardless of what we eat. If they didn’t we’d be pretty quickly done in. It’s controlled partly by the lungs which regulate the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood, carbon dioxide affects blood PH. It’s also controlled by the kidneys, which can excrete acid or alkali substances/ions. The main cause of acid/alkali imbalance, therefore, is respiratory or kidney (renal) disease, not whether we eat acid or alkaline foods! That’s not to say that if we majorly focus on certain foods, such as protein, or if we drink daily gallons of Coke, that we’re not putting our kidneys under pressure trying to maintain PH, we are. I say “we” but I mean people practising extreme diets or with food addictions, not people who are eating a good range of acid and alkali foods, aka a moderate diet.

Alkaline is good acid is bad, right?

Wrong. Too much of anything is not a good thing. Of course the word ACID sends us screaming for the door with thoughts of a burning substance flaying off our insides. But ahhhhh alkaline, how nice, that sounds lovely and balanced doesn’t it because it’s not acid, what a relief? But remember that range of 0 to 14 and we’re meant to be about in the middle of it blood-wise? But oh, nobody is saying limit alkaline foods so you don’t get a low blood PH are they. Bring on the ACID diet (only a matter of time).

Any diet that narrows the range of foods eaten is one to be wary of. We are designed to eat, digest and use a wide range of foods, in moderation at the appropriate times. That is all.

So is the alkaline diet all bad?

No. The diet discourages eating refined and processed foods such as white flour and sugar. Great! It encourages lots of vegetables and certain fruits. Great! It discourages eating dairy products, meat and fish and poultry, hang on a minute, not so great (though veggie diets are sound if done correctly) because any diet that discourages eating certain food groups is a fad diet and can lead to deficiencies. People read the headlines then do this stuff off their own back, thinking “Milk is bad!” “Meat is bad!” “Fish is bad!” Luckily the whole thing is so out of sync with everyday living that they don’t manage to stick to it for long enough to do any real damage. They just move on to the next fad.

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