Demystifying Acidic and Alkaline Diets

Alkaline food consumption is claimed to alter body pH and be more disease-resilient than acidic food. For this reason, most people go all-alkaline and abandon foods tagged as acidic. But is this belief valid?

Read on to learn a thing or two about both diets.

What Is Food pH?

PH values start from 0-14, with acidic being between 0.0 to 6.9. Neutral pH is 7.0, while alkaline starts from 7.1-14.0.

Different foods have potential renal acid loads (PRALs). The loads are connected to the acid excretion found in urine or the acid load kidneys need to eliminate to balance the pH.

Acid-forming foods have high PRALs connected to Western diets with high animal protein. As such, they’re associated with obesity and high triglyceride levels.

Low PRALs are linked to plant-based diets with lots of veggies and fruits. These are beneficial to bone, heart, and kidney health. The body regulates pH and food doesn’t necessarily alter it.

Acidic Foods to Remove from the Diet

Clearly, acid or acid-forming foods aren’t necessarily bad. However, some of these acid-forming foods have no nutritional benefits and contain phosphoric acid. Excess phosphoric acid is linked to bone fracture risks, prediabetes, and kidney issues. Hence, it’s best to avoid such foods.

Red meat and dairy products are high in PRALs and linked to kidney and heart disease. However, they can still be part of a healthy diet when balanced with veggies and fruits.

Avoid tomatoes and citrus fruits when dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, citrus is neuroprotective, cardiovascular protective, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which decreases obesity risks, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer. Combine healthy fats with cooked tomatoes for better lycopene absorption.

Hit a Balance for Better Health

It’s perfectly fine to consume acid-producing foods but it should be done in moderation. Embrace veggies and fruits. There isn’t enough evidence to show that an alkaline diet improves health. However, a balanced diet with alkaline and acidic food is good for you. But don’t make drastic changes without consulting a health professional first.

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