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article imageAlkaline diet doesn’t pass the acid test

By Joe Duarte     Jan 27, 2014 in Food
It’s the latest fad to hit the weight-loss industry and like some before it, it’s being dismissed as a hoax based on fact manipulation with very little scientific substance.
It’s called the alkaline diet and though the premise has been around for about a century, it’s now rising to prominence due to a following from the Hollywood elite (most notably Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham). It’s supposed to change your body chemistry to help you lose weight and to ward off maladies such as cancer and heart disease.
An alkaline diet restricts the intake of meat, poultry, dairy, fish, eggs and grains in order to increase the alkalinity (pH) of the urine through the consumption of fruits and vegetables. It also steers you away from refined sugars and processed foods.
Experts on both sides of the debate agree the latter by itself will contribute to weight loss, but the other claims are being challenged.
WebMD claims it’s easy to see the alkaline diet is healthy because the items on the shopping list are naturally good for the body — lots of fruits and vegetables; lots of water — while some of the others should be eliminated from a healthy diet — sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods.
What an alkaline diet primarily achieves is the reduction of the risk of urinary infections and kidney stones, but its benefits outside of the urinary system are questionable.
Those who believe in the alkaline diet, such as The Alkaline Sisters, claim it was the only thing that helped their maladies or weight management. Among the beliefs is the role the diet plays in reducing osteoporosis, as outlined in several studies. But the claims published in several science journals basically relied on the theory that a diet rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium is proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and by correlation that applies to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, it is widely held that dairy products (restricted on an alkaline diet) are rich in calcium and magnesium, which help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Those skeptical of the alkaline diet, mainly in the scientific community, say the body works in different ways — the stomach is highly acidic, for example — and point to the notion that a diet deficient in animal proteins might contribute to muscular atrophy, especially in old age. Although that too is an unsubstantiated claim.
Recently, the main opposition to the alkaline diet rests on its not having a balance of nutritional elements, which most dieticians claim is the true path to improved health and sustained weight management.
“Some of the healthy foods this diet limits are things like mushrooms, tropical fruits and berries,” Christy Brissette, a registered dietitian at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC). “I’d encourage people to pick the foods they eat based on the nutrition in them, rather than looking at every single item and questioning is it acid, is it alkaline?”
More about alkaline diet, body acidity, ph level
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