Alkaline Diet - All Practitioners Need To Know

by Ultimate Sup Staff on October 22, 2020

The alkaline diet is based on the idea of replacing acidic foods with alkaline foods, which can improve your health. Since scientists claim that it can help fight serious diseases, Ultimate Sup will review some information related to an alkaline diet.

What Is An Alkaline Diet?

An alkaline diet is also known as an acid-alkaline diet or an alkaline-ash diet. This theory suggests that our diet can alter the pH levels, in other words, acidity or alkalinity, in the human body.

The metabolism in the human body - the process of converting food into energy - is sometimes compared to fire. This process involves a chain of chemical reactions that decomposes a solid object into small pieces. However, chemical reactions in the human body happen in a slow and controlled process. When something is burned, they all turn to ash. Likewise, the food we eat leaves behind "ash," known as metabolic waste.

The alkaline diet: What you need to know - Ultimate Sup

Metabolic wastes can be alkaline, neutral or acidic and can directly affect the body's acidity.

In other words, they assume that if we eat food that leaves behind acid-ash, our blood will become acidified. If we eat food that leaves an alkaline-ash, our blood will become alkalinized.

According to the acid-ash hypothesis, the acid-ash is believed to be the cause of our body's susceptibility to infection, while the alkaline-ash is considered the protective factor. By choosing alkaline food, we will be alkalinized in our body and improve our health.

Food ingredients that leave acid-ash include protein, phosphate and sulfur, while food ingredients that leave alkaline-ash include calcium, magnesium and potassium. Some food groups are considered acidic, alkaline or neutral:

  • Acidic group : meat, fish, eggs, milk, cereals and alcoholic beverages.
  • Neutral group: natural fat (beef fat, lard, butter ...), carbohydrates
  • The alkaline group: nuts, vegetables, tubers and fruits.

Normal pH In The Body

When discussing alkaline diets, it is important to understand pH levels. To determine whether a substance (or more precisely an environment) is acidic or alkaline, the pH index is consistently used as a measure.

  • pH from 0 to <6.9 is acid
  • pH = 7 is neutral, not acidic, not alkaline.
  • pH between 7.1 and 14 is alkaline.

According to this list, supporters of this diet recommend that we monitor the pH of urine to make sure it is alkaline (pH> 7.0), not acidic (pH <7.0).

However, it is important to know that the pH of the body fluctuates greatly, in some places it is acidic, while in others it is alkaline. In general, the pH in different parts of the body is not necessarily the same.

Our stomach is filled with hydrochloric acid, with a pH of 2 - 3.5 (highly acidic). This acid makes it easier for the stomach to digest food. In contrast, our blood is slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.36 - 7.44. 

When our body's pH reaches out of the normal range, it can have serious health consequences or be life-threatening if we don't get treatment in time. However, this only occurs during certain stages of diseases, for example ketoacidosis caused by diabetes, fasting or drinking, but rarely affected by diet.

Does An Alkaline Diet Cause Osteoporosis? 

Osteoporosis is weakening of the bones due to the loss of bone mass and changes in bone structure. This disease is more common in postmenopausal women and can increase the risk of fracture complications.

Alkaline practitioners believe that, in order to maintain blood pH, our bodies pull out alkaline minerals such as calcium from our bones to inhibit the acidity of food that can be consumed by the body.

According to the same theory, an acidic diet, such as the Western diet, causes loss of bone density. This theory is called the "acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis". However, this theory ignores the basic function of the kidneys, acid elimination and regulation of pH in the body.

The kidneys produce bicarbonate ions to neutralize the acidity in the blood, allowing our body to tightly control the pH of the blood. Besides, our respiratory system also plays a role in controlling blood pH. When the bicarbonate ions from the kidneys bind to acids in the blood, they form carbon dioxide ( waste is exhaled) and water (excreted in the urine).

The acid-ash hypothesis also misses out on the major factor in osteoporosis, the loss of collagen protein in the bones. Ironically, collagen loss is associated with low concentrations of two acids: orthosilicic acid and ascorbic acid (also known as vitamin C) in the daily diet.

However, the scientific evidence for the association between acidic diets and bone density or the risk of fractures is mixed. Clinical trials (which often give more accurate results) have shown that acidic diets have no effect on calcium concentration in the human body.

In contrast, this diet improves bone health by increasing calcium retention and stimulating the hormone IGF-1, which helps to heal muscles and bones. Therefore, a high-protein, acid-rich diet is considered to make bones stronger, not weaker.

Relationship Between Acidity And Cancer

Currently, there is a lot of controversy that cancer can only develop in an acidic environment and can be treated or even cured with an alkaline diet. However, comprehensive review studies have concluded that there is no direct association between the diet causing acid secretion (blood acidosis) and cancer.

First of all, food does not have a significant effect on blood pH.Second, assuming foods can dramatically alter the pH of blood and other tissues, cancer cells can also grow in a non-acidic environment.

In fact, cancer grows in healthy tissues with an alkaline pH of 7.4. There have been many successful experiments in growing cancer cells in alkaline environments. And when the tumor grows faster in an acidic environment, the tumor itself creates the acidic environment to support it. An acidic environment does not create a tumor, but rather an acidic environment for itself.

Conclusion

An alkaline diet is actually quite healthy. This diet encourages us to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and plant food while limiting unhealthy processed sources.

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