The Pros and Cons of an Alkaline Diet

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

An alkaline diet is a dietary program that balances the body’s natural pH. This program involves eating alkalizing foods to restore the system’s delicate flora, reduce acidity and promote better health. Although initial findings are promising, research on the benefits of an alkaline diet remains limited.

Before adopting this diet program, arm yourself with information and consult your doctor.

The Pros of the Alkaline Diet

Reduces Acidity

According to dietitian Stephanie Vangsness of The Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the body’s ideal pH should be between7.35 to 7.45.

Studies show that pathogens and malignant cells thrive in an acidic environment. By neutralizing acidity, the body is protected from all types of chronic diseases. Eating foods with alkalizing properties help reduce acidity in the body. When the body’s pH is restored, harmful bacteria and pathogens do not spread and cause sickness.

Promotes Healthy Eating

Alkalinizing foods are typically comprised of nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits. Green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, berries and citrus fruits are just a few examples of food that alkalinizes the body. All these foods are a part of a healthy diet. Sticking to an alkalizing diet helps promote balanced nutrition. To maximize the alkalizing effects of certain foods, eat about 60% to 80% alkalizing foods and 20% to 40% acid forming foods. The healthiest acid forming foods are beans and grains.

Promotes Better Health

Studies show that an acidic body will start leeching nutrients – such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium – from vital organs to survive. When nutrients are depleted, the vital organs will start breaking down. The diet ensures that all components of the body are able to absorb the right amount of nutrients so the balance is not offset.

Keeps the Bones and Joints Healthy

According to supporters of the alkaline diet, acidity could affect the bones and joints. An imbalanced system will gradually cause the bones to weaken and the joints to wear away. Consuming alkalinizing foods nourishes the body and reverses the effects of acidity, including weak bones and inflamed joints. In fact, this diet program is often recommended to people suffering from bone disease and joint problems.

Boosts Weight Loss

Because the alkaline diet is based on eating whole foods and the reduction of processed foods, it promotes weight loss. Alkalinizing foods tend to be high in nutrients and low in calories too. They will fill you up so you don’t overeat.

Cons of the Alkaline Diet

Banning Certain Food Groups

One of the disadvantages of the alkaline diet is it excludes certain types of foods that are actually good for the body. Foods rich in beneficial fats, such as oily fish, grains, legumes, lentils, and nuts, are deemed acidic so consumption is limited. These foods contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that neutralize cancer and other chronic diseases.

Limited Research

Unfortunately, the alkaline diet has very little scientific basis. As such, health experts do not recommend the alkaline diet nor can they provide more information about its benefits. According to dieticians, the body is able to control its pH balance regardless of the type of food consumed.