The pH level in the body
When the pH level is above 7.45, a person is in alkalosis, a strong alkalisation of the blood, and when the pH falls below 7.35, acidosis, a strong acidification of the blood occurs. Both of these conditions do not bode well and can have serious health consequences. Moreover, a constant pH level below 6.9 or above 7.8 is incompatible with life.
It is important to note, however, that the pH of the stomach is quite different: it is filled with hydrochloric acid, which has a pH of 1 to 3.5 (a very acidic environment). This makes the stomach able to break down food.
pH and diet
The alkaline diet is based on the idea that the food we eat can influence the level of acidity or alkalinity (pH level). When our body extracts energy from food, we burn calories from the food we eat. When these calories are burned, they actually leave a residue behind, just like burning wood in a cooker leaves ash.
ashes are left behind.
Proponents of the alkaline diet argue that these ashes can be acidic, alkaline or neutral and directly affect the level of acidity in our bodies. Proponents of an alkaline diet believe that acidic ‘ash’ makes us more vulnerable to disease, while alkaline ash has protective properties. By choosing foods that increase “alkalinity” (lower acidity), we supposedly can “alkalise” our bodies and improve our health by preventing the pH level from dropping below 7.35.
Based on this, there are three groups of foods that are considered acidic, alkaline or neutral:
- acidifying foods – meat, fish, cheese, eggs, cereals and strong alcohol;
- “Alkalizing foods – fruit, vegetables, red and white wine;
- neutral – vegetable oils, starches, sugars, distilled water.
- Criticism of a pH-based diet
Thus, proponents of alkaline diets promote the idea of high consumption of fruit and vegetables and lower consumption of meat, dairy products and cereals. The main problem with the alkaline diet is that although it looks logical in theory, it ignores the fact that our bodies have mechanisms that strictly regulate pH levels, and we are unable to significantly affect acid-alkaline levels through nutrition.
Peter Fitschen, an expert with a PhD in nutrition, points out in his article on the alkaline diet that if a person is healthy, they have no reason to worry, because their blood pH will be strictly regulated regardless of the diet.
In any case, an alkaline diet encourages the consumption of large quantities of fruits and vegetables, which contain many of the macro and micro nutrients we need, antioxidants, as well as fiber and other beneficial substances. And in itself, such a diet has a positive effect on health.
However, claims that in healthy people this diet can have a significant effect on blood pH are not supported by basic physiology, scientific data or common sense.
Conclusion: unless you have a disease that causes acidosis (increase in acidity) or alkalosis (alkalization) and your doctor has prescribed a medical diet, there is no need to get overconfident and emphasize “alkalizing” or “acidifying” foods in your diet. The body is able to monitor acidity on its own and very successfully without your help.