Fruits and vegetables aren’t just good sources of vitamins, they help balance out your body and are key to successful weight loss. But how, you might wonder. Read all about the alkaline diet and the way it can help you lose weight.
What Is The Alkaline Diet?
The alkaline diet is an eating plan where you try to lower your body’s acidity in order to optimize health and lose weight. Proponents of this plan aim to raise your body’s pH level (aka the degree of acidity). This helps to regulate bodily functions.
pH Values And The Alkaline Diet
The pH value is divided into three ranges:
- pH value < 7 = acidic
- a pH value = 7 = neutral
- pH value > 7 = basic
Different tissues and body fluids have different pH values. These ensure that reactions can proceed properly, such as:
- Protein and enzyme activity
- The permeability of the cell membranes
- Oxygen binding capacity of the red blood pigment hemoglobin
The regulation of the concentration of hydrogen ions is called acid-base balance.
Food Selection Influences Acid-Base Balance
The assumption that over-acidification by food has a negative effect on our metabolism is central to the acid-base diet. In fact, it is the case that our choice of food significantly influences the formation of acids and bases in the body.
The urinary pH value for a mixed diet common in the USA is between 5 and 7, i.e. in the lightly acidic range. For vegetarians, the pH value is usually in the slightly alkaline range. The composition of the food thus has an influence on the acid-base balance.
There are acid-forming and base-forming foods. Acidic foods include meat and sausages, milk, dairy products, eggs, fish, and most grains. Examples of basic foods are fruits and vegetables. Fats and oils are considered neutral. The exact classification of foods varies according to the opinion of the followers of the alkaline diet.
Alkaline Diet And Weight Loss
In order to counteract the creeping hyperacidity of the body and to be able to lose weight effectively, the alkaline diet involves eating more alkaline foods. Avoid acid-forming foods such as sugar and meat as much as possible. Serve many fresh fruits, possibly even having them on your counter for easy access to alkaline friendly foods. In order to balance the metabolism, the diet should consist of 70 – 80 percent base formers and 20 – 30 percent acid formers.
Some followers are of the opinion that you should avoid the luxury foods coffee, tea, and wine since they lead to acid formation. Others still consume these beverages. Opinions also differ on dairy products. Since you can still have 20-30 percent of acidic foods on your diet, you can still keep your alkaline levels optimized by consuming these in moderation.
A Healthy Body Balances Acids Without Any Problems
Every day our body converts large amounts of acids, which we ingest with our food or which are produced in our metabolism. There are several buffer systems to regulate the acid-base balance. They also keep the physiological conditions constant. Some of the acids are broken down in the metabolism and breathed out via the lungs. Others retain their acidic character. We mainly excrete them via the kidneys with the urine. Alkaline mineral compounds, found in vegetables and fruits, neutralize the acids.
Nutrition, therefore, significantly influences the acid-base balance. A healthy person does not suffer from a real acidosis, even if their diet is strongly acidifying. Nevertheless, there is also a risk of latent hyperacidity for healthy people. This can go along with increased mineral losses in the urine and a higher risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones. However, certain diseases such as untreated Type 2 Diabetes can lead to serious and life-threatening over-acidity.
Alkaline Diet – Low In Calories
The decisive factor in the acid-base diet is not the calorie content of the food, but the division into acid and alkaline foods. Those who do not like to count calories will find this diet very helpful. Vegetarians will also love it since they already are avoiding meat, fish, sausage and other acid-forming foods.
As a rule, the alkaline-forming foods are very low in calories and often plant-based. So it is not surprising that weight loss occurs when you replace fatty sausages and juicy steaks with low-calorie vegetables and fruit. In the long run, however, strict bans can spark increased hunger and cravings. This can make it difficult to maintain the diet permanently. There may also be deficiency symptoms for critical nutrients like iron, iodine, and calcium. You mainly receive these nutrients in animal foods, i.e. meat, fish and dairy products.
Exercise And The Alkaline Diet
Both diet and exercise influence our acid-base balance. Physical activity in the form of exercise and sports increases breathing activity. As a result, we exhale more carbon dioxide. This increases the excretion of acids from the body. On the other hand, a lack of exercise, especially in combination with a strong acid-forming diet, can contribute to latent over-acidification of the body.
Bottom line: most people will lose weight on this diet. But is it because they naturally eat a lot of vegetables and probably consume fewer calories, or because their body starts functioning more efficiently? This might be a good plan to jump-start weight loss, but it would be difficult to maintain longterm.
Have you tried a version of the alkaline diet? What did you think?