Health

What’s the deal with alkalinity?

August 31, 2014

Have you been seeing adverts and articles for things such as alkaline water and the alkaline diet? Because I sure have. 

A while ago on my Facebook page, I let you guys know that I wanted to do a post about alkaline water. I decided it would be more interesting and informative to do a post not just about alkaline water, but about the alkaline diet in general.

There seems to be  big interest in eating a more alkaline diet recently due to the scares that the modern Western diet (think foods with high amounts of sugar and fat) is acid forming and that acidity in the body has been the cause of the growing numbers of serious illnesses. Advocates of the alkaline diet state that the modern Western diet has made our bodies unbalanced and more acidic … despite the fact that it is extremely difficult for our blood pH to change, since even a minor change in our blood pH can kill us. If the pH of your blood falls below 7.00. severe acidosis, this can result in a coma and even death. If your blood pH rises above 7.45, you can get alkalosis. Severe alkalosis can lead to death by causing all of your muscles to essentially erupt into convulsions. Your blood pH should be between 7.35-7.45.

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Certain parts of the body are also naturally acidic; our stomachs are naturally acidic in order to break down the foods we eat. Although advocates of the alkaline diet want to restore our body pH back to an equilibrium, our stomach pH is very resistant to change. Changing our stomach pH can actually interfere with protein digestion. The pH of our urine is also rather meaningless as it changes depending upon what foods we eat. Basically, changing the foods you eat will not significantly change the pH of any part of your body except for your urine.

However, that is not all. Those who drink alkaline water and promote an alkaline diet also argue that cancer thrives in a highly acidic environment and that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline environment. This is true but no other cells can live in a highly alkaline environment either.  We still have much to learn about fighting cancer and new research is coming out everyday. Some research states that cancer cells are actually vulnerable to acidity. Regardless of the research, an alkaline diet is not a miracle cure.

Now, I don’t doubt the benefits of being aware of the foods you are eating and including more alkaline foods in your diet. But in my opinion, the alkaline diet seems to benefit people because of the fact that you are probably eating a lot more vegetables and fruits, and making an effort to cut out fast food and high sugar and high fat foods. 

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I think we as a society have become obsessed with trying to find answers to the many complicated problems we now face. Obesity, cancer, diabetes, one thing remains the same: the desire for a quick fix. My personal opinion is that we need to all focus more on including more fresh vegetables, fruits, good quality fats and proteins into our diet whilst simultaneously cutting out or limiting things such as junk foods, candy, alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine. 

I hope this gives you all something to think about! The purpose of this article is not to bash anything, but merely to make you think about what you have been told and to question whether it is valid or not and whether it works for YOU. It is so easy to take things at face value and to go with the crowd, and personally I want to be as educated as I can to make my own decisions and not simply follow the status quo πŸ™‚

References

Rotin et al. (1987). Cytotoxicity of compounds that interfere with the regulation of intracellular pH: a potential new class of anticancer drugs. Cancer Res, 47, pp. 1497-1504.
Alkaline Diets
Alkaline Water According to Dr. Mercola
Acid/Alkaline Theory of Disease is Nonsense
Ionized and Alkaline Water
The Truth About Alkalizing Your Blood

 

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  • Nicole Jowett August 31, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Excellent post!! And you are so right, the body has mechanisms in place to balance pH and like you said, if someones pH was not ideal its fairly serious and they would know about it.

    • Honestly Fitness September 1, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you so much, Nicole! And yes exactly, for the average person it really is not a big concern. Although it’s great that it’s helping some people move away from junk food to eating more fruit and leafy vegetables πŸ™‚