Not another new diet! You’ve been on the fitness block for a while and have pretty much heard it all-- General Motors, South Beach, Atkins... You know about celebrity fads where you eat foods of only one colour. You’ve considered veganism. So what new benefits could the Alkaline Diet possibly have to offer?

Quite a few actually. The Alkaline Diet, also called the Alkaline Ash Diet or the Acid-Alkaline Diet claims to not only help with weight loss but also prevent a host of problems including osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer and arthritis.

The Alkaline Diet works on one simple principle-- regulating the pH balance of the body through diet control. Different body fluids and organs have different pH balances. pH levels measure how acidic or alkaline something is. A pH of 0 means totally acidic. A pH of 14 is completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is considered neutral. While our blood remains slightly alkaline with a pH of 7.2-7.5, it can generate more acid and change the pH in the stomach, the engine of our body between 3.5 or below due to more acid produced from certain foods. An acidic pH promotes the loss of very essential nutrients in our body like potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium. This attracts illnesses.   The idea is to maintain this pH level and thereby prevent sickness. To maintain pH levels, the Alkaline Diet advocates a diet rich in foods that are alkaline in nature. In fact, it suggests an eighty-twenty ratio for alkaline foods to acidic foods.

Alkaline foods will combat acidosis, that is, excess acid formation and inflammation of tissues because of this excess acid.

Foods may be classified on the basis of whether they are acidic or alkaline in nature. Alkaline foods are most fruits, green vegetables, legumes, nuts, etc. While acidic foods are sugar, alcohol, fizzy drinks, meat,certain grains, fish, poultry, dairy products, pasta and other wheat based foods, etc.

So the Alkaline Diet recommends lowering acidic foods to 20% of your diet, while cutting out meat, fish, sugary drinks and desserts, milk products, and alcohol completely; and upping alkaline foods to 80% of your diet.

Following this diet is said to regulate and maintain pH levels in the body and keep you healthy.

While this sounds easily doable, you’re probably asking why this miracle diet hasn’t taken the world by a storm and drastically dropped cancer rates and the like. The reason is that many of these claims are unfounded and unconfirmed.

While the pH level of your urine maybe easily affected by your diet, the pH level of your blood or the rest of your body would not. The body strives to maintain a consistent pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45, regardless of diet.

There is also no conclusive evidence to prove that alkaline foods cut cancer risk or arthritis risk, just as there is no definitive proof that links vegetarianism to lower cancer risk. This is definitely a cause for concern with many people buying into fraudulent myths. 

The benefit of the Alkaline Diet is that it is essentially a balanced, healthy diet that recommends cutting out sugar, alcohol, excess protein, regulating carbohydrate and fat consumption, and increasing intake of fruits and vegetables, legumes, etc. This is precisely what an ordinary, nutritious, balanced diet looks like. And sticking to a diet like this in the long run is bound to reap you some health benefits-- if not the drastic ones that the Alkaline Diet advertises.

Before embarking on any diet, it is very essential to first evaluate one’s current health status, one’s lifestyle and seek the right advice so as to follow the right food at the right time for the right reasons.Weight loss should just be a healthy side effect of your attempts to gain more vigour and health.

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