Alkaline Diet – Myths and Facts

The Alkaline diet is everywhere! Celebrities like Tom Brady swear by the Alkaline diet, but is there any science behind it?

There are some significant benefits to the diet. Of course, the foods that are most alkaline – mostly fruits and vegetables – are already known to be most healthy. But for many years, we’ve also known that eating too many acid-forming foods – particularly meat and cheese – can harm the kidneys and lead to kidney stone formation. Some studies have even suggested that the acid producing nature of these foods may lead to osteoporosis and age related muscle loss. So does an alkaline diet have any promise for improving our health?

Alkaline diet’s promising potential

The Alkaline diet has been in the news lately because its chief proponent, “Dr.” Robert O. Young has been arrested for practicing medicine without a license. However, in spite of the shortcomings of the Alkaline diet’s chief cheerleader, there are some significant benefits to the diet. For many years, we’ve known that eating too many acid-forming foods – particularly meat and cheese – can harm the kidneys and lead to kidney stone formation. Some studies have also suggested that the acid producing nature of these foods may even lead to osteoporosis and age related muscle loss.

Doctors known that diet plays a significant role in kidney stone formation and management since the early 1990s . And the deleterious effect of long-term acidosis on the bones has been a topic of research and debate since the 1960s.

My greatest frustration concerning this diet was the conflicting nature of the information I found online. It seems that nearly every doctor promoting the alkaline diet has a different approach, and considers different foods alkaline or acidic. In this case, I would strongly recommend sticking with the PRAL scores calculated by Thomas Remer and Friedrich Manz in their paper, “Potential Renal Acid Load of Foods and its Influence on Urine pH,” originally published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Possible dangers

Of course, highly alkaline foods, like fruits and vegetables, are pretty healthy. So I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them! The Alkaline diet does argue that grains are somewhat acidic, and so some practitioners might avoid healthy whole grains, which may be problematic. But I think the greatest hazard of the Alkaline diet lies in potentially avoiding necessary medical care. Dr. Robert Young, for example, claims that an alkaline diet can cure any and every illness, and is skeptical of all modern medicine (including germ theory) and vaccines. Be extremely skeptical of these claims. I see nothing wrong with following an alkaline diet in the hopes of improving your health. In fact, it may have significant additional benefits that haven’t yet been proven. But but if you are ill, please consult a qualified medical professional.

Thank you to my Patreon supporters for their generous support, especially Artelio, Richard, Genevieve and Jess. Thank you, Artelio, for suggesting this topic!

 

 

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