What Is the Alkaline Diet? – Food List, and More

What Is the Alkaline Diet? – Food List, and More

 

The alkaline diet, also called the alkaline-ash diet or alkaline-acid diet, was made popular by its celebrity followers.

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What Is the Alkaline Diet?

The premise of the alkaline diet is that the foods we eat affect our blood’s pH balance. You may recall from chemistry class that pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. It ranges from 0 to 14.

0 is extremely acidic
7 is neutral
14 is very alkaline

Proponents of the alkaline diet believe that diets high in certain foods, such as meat and grains, and low in others, such as potassium-rich vegetables and fruits, can cause imbalances in blood pH that lead to a variety of health problems. This is known as the acid-ash hypothesis, which is why the alkaline diet is sometimes known as the acid-ash diet.

While the pH of food likely does not matter, the alkaline diet does encourage fairly healthy eating patterns, including emphasizing unprocessed and plant-based foods and limiting red meat and refined grains. One study found that following the alkaline diet would increase several micronutrients, such as potassium and magnesium, which could help lower the risk of hypertension and stroke and improve cardiovascular health, bone health, and cognition.
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However, the benefits of red meat are incredibly amazing and I personally believe we should be eating a lot of red meat….I love it!

But eating tons of red meat may also come with it’s own issues.

You see, proteins are made up of molecules called amino acids, the veritable “building blocks” of many bodily tissues (especially muscle). “Complete proteins” contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for protein synthesis. Red meat, eggs, and dairy are complete proteins.

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Pea protein is also a complete protein (unlike most plant-based proteins, which are not!). Arguably the biggest difference between dairy proteins (e.g. whey and casein) and pea protein is that the latter is fairly low in methionine and a tad lower in branched-chain amino acids.

While methionine is a key essential amino acid for muscle protein synthesis, it is also what gives many animal-based proteins their high acidity. In fact, low methionine content is one reason that pea protein powder is only weakly acidic and supports an alkaline state.
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If you consume a high animal-based diet, the acid-forming nature of animal protein sources may slowly impair kidney function and other bodily processes. Research suggests that consuming more pea protein could effectively ameliorate the negative ramifications of high animal protein intake. Thus, including both will have the best overall health benefit to balance each other out.
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Pea protein may play a role in reducing inflammation and could be used as an alternative therapy for the prevention of inflammatory-related diseases!
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How Does the Alkaline Diet Work?

The alkaline diet classifies foods according to how much acid they produce when digested. That amount isn’t necessarily the same as the acidity level of foods in their raw state. Acid-forming foods produce a pH lower than 7, while alkaline foods result in a pH level greater than 7, research has found.
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Any foods that are around 7 are considered neutral. With that in mind, the diet recommends:
Avoiding acid-forming foods, such as meat, dairy, fish, eggs, grains, and alcohol
Consuming plenty of alkaline-forming foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes
Limiting neutral foods, such as starches, sugars, and natural fats.

Chronic Kidney Disease

People with chronic kidney disease may also benefit from focusing on alkaline foods, because too much protein is hard on the kidneys. In one review article, the author argued that by reducing acid load to the kidneys through a low-protein diet with an emphasis on plant proteins, you may be able to slow kidney disease progression and improve kidney function.
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Can the Alkaline Diet Help With Weight Loss?

There is some evidence that following an alkaline diet may help preserve muscle mass — and muscle burns more calories. source

A study found that following a more alkaline diet was positively associated with higher muscle mass indexes in women, likely because fruits and vegetables contain potassium and magnesium, which help maintain muscle.
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Alkaline Diet Food List: What to Eat and Avoid

The alkaline diet foods are organized around the pH levels of individual foods. Some versions are less strict, meaning they may allow grains for their health benefits, despite their slightly acidic pH. But generally, if you try the alkaline diet, you’ll want to follow the food list below, steering clear of acidic foods, limiting or avoiding neutral foods, and focusing on alkaline foods.

alkaline diet food chart Lovely The Ultimate Guide to an Alkaline Diet includes prehensive list

 

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Acid-Forming Foods to Avoid
– Meat
– Poultry
– Fish
– Milk
– Cheese (especially cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, reduced-fat cheddar, and hard cheeses)
– Yogurt
– Ice cream
– Eggs (the yolk in particular)
– Grains (white and brown rice, rolled oats, spaghetti, cornflakes, rye bread, whole-wheat bread)
– Alcohol
– Soda
– Lentils
– Peanuts and walnuts
– Packaged, processed food

Neutral Foods to Limit
– Natural fats, such as olive oil and butter
– Starches, including corn and sweet potatoes
– Sugars

Alkaline-Forming Foods to Eat
– Most fruit
– Non-starchy vegetables
– Almond milk
– Mineral water
Pea protein
– Almonds
– Coconut and avocado oils

There isn’t a specific meal plan or guide — although you can follow recipes online or from alkaline diet cookbooks, or simply use the list of alkaline foods above to create your own dishes.

What’s my take?

The alkaline diet may be beneficial in the short term, but following it long term could have negative effects and result in nutrient deficiencies. So incorporating alkaline foods such as pea protein can help balance out the animal protein and other alkaline foods you eat (you know I love my yogurt and eat it daily for gut health!). Balance is key, so if you’re not consuming a balanced diet then you may be off on one end of the spectrum or the other.

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