One of the trending diets right now is the Alkaline Diet. The premise of this diet is the fact that our blood needs to stay at a pH of about 7.35 - 7.45 for us to survive, and while your body is constantly buffering to make this pH a reality (and hence, stay alive) by eating acidic foods, we are providing undesirable stresses on the body, and even possibly creating acidic byproducts which can lead to disease, toxicity, and weight gain.
PH is measured from 1-14, with 1 being highly acidic and 14 being highly alkaline, or basic (Chemistry 101 anyone?)
Essentially, the pH of a certain food does not matter as much as whether or not it is an "acid forming"/acid ash food or "alkaline forming"/alkaline ash food in the body. For example, a lemon is a very acidic fruit, as are other citrus fruits, but the end products they produce after digestion are alkaline, so they are considered "alkaline forming" foods.
I'll start by listing two disclaimers. First of all, there is hardly any research on this topic. Second of all, in general the alkaline diet eliminates all artificial sweeteners, refined carbs and fats, pretty much all animal fat, and promotes eating fruits and vegetables. Anyone with half a brain realizes that making a shift in that direction will be healthier for you regardless of whether or not your intent is to eat more alkaline forming foods.
One thing that seems more or less true is that eating acidic foods (coffee, processed foods, soda) can lead to kidney stones and urinary tract infections or complications down there. There seems to be enough anecdotal evidence to support this, and if you've ever had a kidney stone, you will always remember what that was like! But what about other claims? Some say overconsumption of acid ash foods can contribute to loss of bone density because of calcium release during the buffering process, while alkaline ash foods, conversely, promote prevention of osteoporosis for the opposite reason. In terms of acid ash foods leading to lethargy and weight gain, there is probably less scientific reasoning behind these claims.
When I did the Ultimate Reset 21-day diet back in May, my body experienced some major changes. I took a daily packet called "Alkalinize" which was made of super greens - a sort of powdered, souped up wheat grass shot, and shifted my diet to be devoid of any processed foods, high in vegetables, and for the last two weeks, completely Vegan. I lost a good 13 pounds, and experienced a sort of "clarity" in mind and body during the diet and in the weeks to follow. Admittedly, I have not stayed Vegan and I have gained some weight back, but I am running faster, lifting heavier, and performing better everywhere since then. My body fat percentage has stayed about the same, I've simply put on some more muscle.
The Ultimate Reset Diet definitely follows the principles of the Alkaline Diet pretty closely even though it isn't really marketed as such. This made me wonder what the best thing is to recommend to all of you based on my findings and experience. Short of saying DO ULTIMATE RESET! I have a couple suggestions for you:
1) Avoid artificial sweeteners, high sugar drinks and snacks, processed snack foods, fried foods, and fatty red meat. Those are worst offenders in the acid ash concept, and there are plenty of reasons to not eat these foods, outside of the alkaline diet!
2) While not 100% endorsed on the diet, I'd say eggs, fish, and unsaturated oils are probably ok. These foods teeter on the edge of alkaline and acid forming foods. Realistically, they provide many health benefits and unless you have worked out a vegan solution that accounts for plenty of protein and healthy fats, these foods provide excellent sources of essential nutrients to your body.
3) Up the vegetables. Your mother has been saying eat your vegetables since you were 5 years old, and unfortunately she was right. You can't just eat less and expect to lose weight permanently - you have to eat fewer of the foods listed in number 1) and eat MORE fruits and vegetables. As I've talked about before, the fiber and phytochemicals in vegetables is incredible, on top of them being a low calorie, high impact food.
4) Google Alkaline Diet and do some research for yourself. There are lots of categorical food lists and you'll see the trends that in reality, the foods that are alkaline forming are just in general much healthier for you - for your heart, for your liver, and for controlling obesity.
So where do I stand? I believe that in some ways the Alkaline Diet is right on, but not solely for the reasons it champions. However, I will leave you with this - the human body is an incredible machine. It will adapt to whatever you feed it. Somehow, even if you feed it garbage, your kidneys and internal systems will fight and fight to get rid of the toxins and keep your blood at that nice 7.4 pH. But at what cost? We don't know. This is analogous to grass-fed beef versus corn fed beef. The digestive systems of cows prefer grass to corn and soy products. The latter generally fattens up the cows faster and are cheaper feeds. The cows survive and adapt, though they turn out fat, unhealthy, and likely pretty screwed up on the inside. Many people protest and only eat grass fed beef that they can find at the local Whole Foods market for their own health, or even to stand up for humane treatment of livestock. But in some ways how are we any different than the cattle? When we feed ourselves doritos, aspartame sweetened drinks, and candy bars, what are we doing to the inside of our bodies? I'm not even bringing up what happens to our outside appearance - there are plenty of "skinny" people who eat poorly and have pre-diabetic blood sugar levels or plaque in their arteries without even knowing it. It's scary.
So while I cannot stand here and say everything about the Alkaline Diet is gold, I can say that of all the diets I've seen - even compared to Paleo Diet which has some similarities - Alkaline is pretty solid in creating the appropriate life style changes necessary for a healthy inside.
If you want to learn more about my journey with Ultimate Reset, essentially an Alkaline Diet, go here: Ultimate Reset Journey. I've got the pictures and videos to prove it! Contact me if you want to give it a try too, or if you have any questions.