Exposing The Alkaline Diet Myth
- The alkaline diet is based on the idea that the foods we eat can change how acidic or alkaline our body is. This in turn is said to affect many aspects of health, including osteoporosis and cancer. But it's not true, and in this video I'm gonna show you why. And make sure you stick around until the end because I'm gonna show you the very sad reality of what happens when you follow this kind of pseudo-diet advice. (bright dings) Now don't get me wrong, I kind of do wish this whole acid-alkaline diet theory was true, because then it would be so much easier to treat so many health conditions.
But the whole concept is really flawed. Just to cover the fundamentals, the pH value is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a fluid is. Now, it ranges from zero to 14. A seven is neutral, higher than seven is considered alkaline, and lower than seven is acidic. The stomach contains hydrochloric acid and has a pH value between two and 3.5, which is highly acidic. Now, this is necessary to break down food.
Human blood always maintains a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. It's really tight. If it goes outside of this range, you get really sick really fast. That's why the main function of our kidneys is to regulate blood pH, by removing unnecessary or unwanted compounds from the blood and excreting them through urine. And that's why our urine pH, but not our blood pH, can vary so dramatically. Now, proponents of the alkaline diet have attempted to give the foods we eat a pH rating based on the compounds they produce when they're digested. In the alkaline diet, these compounds are referred to as ash. So a food's ash determines if it's classified acidic or alkaline.
Now, this image from mindbodygreen illustrated this theory with acidic-forming foods on the left and alkaline on the right. However, they have very conveniently left out the nutritious foods on the acidic side, like meat, seafood, dairy, legumes, nuts, and some whole grains. Hmm, it's a little bit misleading.
But as you can see, the so-called alkaline foods are really healthy for you, because they're fruits, vegetables, and water. They're highly nutritious and not calorie dense. But their health properties have got absolutely nothing to do with alkaline or producing alkaline ash. In fact, there's nothing inherently dangerous about acids.
They form many of the building blocks for life. We have amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and even our DNA, which of course is deoxyribonucleic acid for all those other geeks playing at home. So what does the research say about the alkaline diet? And what a review of 55 previous studies that looked at the relationship between how much dietary acid we consume and occurrence of osteoporosis concluded, there is no evidence an alkaline diet is protective of bone health. This makes sense considering high-protein diets, which are acid-forming, are typically linked with healthier bones, not weaker bones. So what about cancer, which seems to favor acidic environments? Well firstly, as we mentioned earlier, the foods we eat cannot influence our blood pH anyway. Even if we assume it could, cancer still grows in alkaline environments. It's true that tumors do grow faster in acidic environments, but the tumor actually creates this acidity itself. So it's not the acidic environment or the diet that creates the cancer, it's the cancer that creates the acidic environment.
A 2016 review focused on the possible link between dietary acid load, alkaline water, and cancer. And the authors concluded that despite the promotion of the alkaline diet and alkaline water by the media and salespeople, there's almost no actual research to either support or disprove these ideas. Therefore, promotion of the alkaline diet and alkaline water to the public for cancer prevention or treatment is not justified. Now, where there's a lack of evidence for or against a claim, the owners of proof must always fall on the party that's making the spectacular claim. So that means we always must assume that a food or a nutrient doesn't help unless there is some... Some evidence that suggests otherwise. So in this case, there's nothing to support an alkaline diet. Now, in another early review study looking at acid load and cancer, the authors concluded that there's limited evidence to suggest that dietary acidosis alone is sufficient in increasing cancer risk.
But it may function in concert with other factors associated with cancer risk like obesity. Now interestingly, this particular study was funded by the National Centers for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and yet that was the most positive spin they could put on these findings because the evidence just isn't there. So then we must ask ourselves, why do people continue to say that it works? The reason is because we constantly hear and see stories like this one. In 2009, naturopathic doctor Robert Young wrote, "The following YouTube is of Kim Tinkham, "one of my pH Mircales, during an interview "on the Oprah Show in March 2007, "regarding her choice to heal herself of breast cancer "using the pH Miracle Lifestyle and Diet. "It took her nine months to reverse her condition "from breast cancer to no cancer." What you don't hear is that Kim died the following year in 2010. All that said, the alkaline diet does encourage a high consumption of fruits and vegetables while restricting junk food. So it is a really healthy diet, and you won't be unhealthy for eating it.
But it has absolutely nothing to do with being acidic or alkaline. Thanks for tuning in. If you enjoyed this or found it useful, please give us a thumbs up. You can also leave a comment if you like. And more importantly, make sure you click the big red button below the video to subscribe to the Authority Nutrition YouTube channel.
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