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I think we have all heard of the alkaline diet.
We know it is supposed to benefit us in some way, but how many of us know how it’s supposed to benefit us?
So like I do with everything else in life, I obsessed, researched medical journals, and used myself as a guinea pig to find the answer to this question.
Because with so many factors influencing experts and studies, I don’t trust it 100% unless I can see the benefits myself.
Call me a critic, but I want proof before I say something helps.
Why I Looked Towards the Alkaline Diet
Have you ever felt you did everything right as far as eating and exercising, but a month goes by, and still you see no results?
This was me a few months ago.
I went a straight month and a half without seeing any numbers move on the scale.
Without shrinking into lower pant sizes.
In fact, I was gaining inches! How the heck was this happening when I was doing everything right and exercising?
I studied Nutrition and lived with an amateur body builder (my dad). I know what it takes to change your body and KNEW I was doing everything right.
Did I maybe have a medical issue?
I had hypothyroidism, but my last few blood tests showed that was a thing of the past. So I was confused.
Our Bodies Can Build Up Acid
I already knew the main reasons people weren’t losing weight. Heck, I even wrote an article on 20 of them!
I forgot one big reason.
When you exercise, your muscles get tiny tears in them, which can make your body swell up and make you retain more water. And your body becomes more acidic.
You can also have more acid in the body by the foods you eat. So if you eat acidic foods on top of that, your body is so acidic, that it isn’t in balance anymore, so it actually makes it impossible to lose any fat!
One thing I need to touch on before I move on is where the term alkaline comes from.
This is a measure of pH.
The pH value ranges from 0–14:
- Acidic: 0.0–6.9
- Neutral: 7.0
- Alkaline (or basic): 7.1–14.0
So you want to eat foods that have a higher pH to have a more alkaline diet. This is what the alkaline diet is.
My husband actually brought this to my attention, funnily enough, after us both listening to Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Edge Program.
Tony’s Ultimate Edge program discusses in depth how to be confident, how to improve your relationships, how to be financially smarter, and then a section about how to become healthier and lose weight. Tony mentioned on there how acid forms in the body (that he learned from a well respected dietitian).
(Side Note: This program will change your life. I highly recommend it. It definitely helped me change mine! Click this link to learn more about it.)
I’m glad my husband remembered the part about acid forming in the body.
So that day, my husband and I researched what acid base balance in the body it and what foods I should avoid.
What Research Says About The Alkaline Diet
So research about the alkaline diet is very mixed.
Some research claims it can change the pH in the blood and do everything from lower blood pressure, to help you lose weight, to help you fight cancer, and more.
Some research claims the alkaline diet is bogus. That you can’t change a body’s pH by drinking alkaline water or eating alkaline foods.
So unfortunately, with such a huge disagreement, it’s one of those things where you have to read both sides and figure out which you want to believe.
Here’s the thing.
Most of the studies on blood pH were done in a lab, not using actual humans. So they looked at blood pH on a petri dish, but not the entire body as a whole. And these are what many articles are pointing to when they say this diet is bogus.
Alkaline water could be bogus, and just affect urine pH level, like they say, but not blood. I can respect that argument because it makes sense.
But food has been proven time and time again that it can heal with it’s nutrients. Our kidneys and liver act as a filter and influence how our blood cells react, so why couldn’t they affect pH? So the pro-alkaline science data makes sense to me as well.
The body and nutrients work together to get stuff done, so I firmly believe you can’t just look at one thing when it comes to the human body. Which is why I feel more long term research needs to be done on how food can affect blood pH over time in actual working bodies.
Many people on the alkaline diet are in love with the benefits they received from it.
But is it because of the alkaline diet, and adjusting pH, or is it because the alkaline diet is basically the anti-inflammatory diet?
It could be either, but if I had to guess, it is probably the latter, because there is study after study that proves the healing effect of anti-inflammatory foods.
In fact, the book, How Not to Die, lists 100s of studies on why these foods can help your body fight off disease and inflammation! (Side Note: I highly recommend this book. It will, without a doubt, give you the motivation you need to change your diet. Find out more about it here.)
So it may be that the anti-inflammatory foods are helping the body heal all the inflammation from the acid buildup.
My 10 Day Results
By now, you are probably thinking “What the heck, Ashly? Why are you writing this if there is so much conflicting information on this?”.
Because I did this diet myself, for 10 days, and had some great results that I wanted to share.
My weight: I lost 5.8 lbs during the 10 days I did this new way of eating.
Blood Pressure: My blood pressure lowered the first 5 days by a few points (both top and bottom numbers) and then stayed. I feel I need to disclose that PMS could have had a lot to do with why it did not lower my BP much.
Physical Health: By the 9th day, I felt like I could move better than normal and I didn’t seem to be as swollen as I usually am. I noticed any hint of acid reflux was gone by the 10th day and I was very regular, digestive wise.
Mental Health: By the 3rd day, my neighbor commented on how much energy I seemed to have. After the 7th day, I felt happier and more motivated than I have in a long time.
So overall I saw a big improvement in everything except blood pressure. And again, there was a factor that could have skewed those results. I am not one to typically disclose something like that, but felt it was relevant that I do so in this instance.
I couldn’t exactly test on cancer fighting ability, so I wanted to focus on weight loss and the things I could monitor.
What Did I Eat?
In a general sense I took on a vegan diet for 80% of my day.
I would eat veggies like leafy greens, avocados, salads without dressing, quinoa, brown rice, pinto beans, tofu, etc, for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
Avoid sugar, dairy, fried and greasy foods, and fast food like the plague.
I only ate meat, pasta, or poultry once a day at dinnertime.
I also did not really eat any fruit except for grapefruit and sometimes blueberries.
This food chart is what I based my eating habits off of.
It’s a strict diet, but I did it. And seriously, if I could do it, anyone can.
Just make sure to eat a variety of foods, so you can get all the nutrients you need. You won’t need to worry about lacking protein if you make sure to eat leafy greens, lentils, avocado, quinoa, tofu (which isn’t as bad as people assume) and pinto beans.
Alkaline Diet : Good or Bad?
So we know there isn’t much out there indicating our body’s pH has anything to do with the benefits I received.
However, this diet is so much like the anti-inflammatory diet, that I feel it will help tremendously whether it’s because it alkalizes the body or not.
In fact, I have decided to switch and make the anti-inflammatory diet a staple in my life, because I love how much better I felt doing the alkaline diet challenge. They are both so similar and you can eat much more fruit with the anti-inflammatory diet.
And at this point, with how much it helped me, I don’t even care if it’s because of the alkaline content or if it is because the foods are the same as the anti-inflammatory diet.
So I recommend to try it anyway. Because what’s the harm if it can only make you feel better?