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What is the Acid Alkaline Balance Diet?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated May 17, 2024
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The acid alkaline balance diet seeks to help maintain normal potential hydrogen (pH) levels within the body. If the pH balance of the body is too acidic or basic, serious health problems can develop. Proponents of the acid alkaline diet believe that eating in a way that helps maintain proper pH will prevent a plethora of diseases and conditions such as cancer and heart disease. They may also advocate the testing of urine and saliva on a regular basis to ensure pH levels are within the desired range. Some skeptics of the diet claim that the science behind the diet is faulty and does not reflect an understanding of the human body.

Normal pH for the human body is about 7.4. If pH levels rise above about 7.7 or fall below 7, death or severe medical problems can result. In order to maintain an appropriate level, the body has buffers and checks that keep pH in balance. Eating improperly may put strain on the body as it tries to maintain this pH. The acid alkaline balance diet seeks to help the body maintain a proper pH.

Advocates of the acid alkaline balance diet believe that eating excessive amounts of foods that create an acidic residue in the body puts strain on the body to keep its pH level in check. Some of these “acidic” foods include meats, proteins, and beans. When a person eats these foods, his body has to neutralize them, which often means stealing calcium from bones. By eating foods that are more alkaline, such as fruits and vegetables, there is less pressure on the body to keep pH levels normal. It is also possible for a person to eat too many alkaline producing foods, and so an appropriate amount of acidic foods may be recommended to keep the body in balance.

Proponents of the acid alkaline diet believe that maintaining a properly balanced diet can prevent a variety of diseases. They say that cancer, for instance, cannot survive in an alkaline environment. In addition, the calcium taken from bones when neutralizing acidic foods can cause osteoporosis. Eating a pH balanced diet may also lead to increased energy. In order to check the body’s pH levels, it often required for a person to test his urine’s pH and adjust his diet as needed.

Some skeptics of the acid alkaline balance diet state that the science it is based on is faulty. They look at the checks and balances the body uses to maintain normal pH as evidence the diet has no effect on pH levels in the body at large. Further, they say that because of stomach acid, all food leaves the stomach at a pH of 3 and is neutralized as soon as it reaches the small intestine. They do note that the metabolism of certain foods can leave an acidic or alkaline residue in the body, but it is removed by the kidneys and does not affect the body’s pH. In addition, skeptics say that some cancers can develop in an alkaline environment, dispelling the thought that an acidic body is cancer conducive.

Proponents of the acid alkaline balance diet may rebut by saying it is not the blood pH they are concerned with; rather, it is the pH level in the urine they seek to control. They state that high pH levels in the urine mean that the body is straining to maintain proper pH. By eating a balanced diet, they seek to help the body remain balanced.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By fify — On May 26, 2014

@donasmrs-- Those who cannot make drastic changes to their diet can also take alkaline supplements to maintain an alkaline pH. These supplements help rebalance the body when acidic foods and drinks are consumed. Of course, it would be best if you avoided things like tea, coffee and soda. I've heard that especially soda is very bad and keeps the body acidic for a long time.

I think there are also alkaline teas and coffees available. Or there are liquid alkaline supplements or alkaline water that you can add to your coffee to make it alkaline.

By donasmrs — On May 25, 2014

I did an acid-alkaline strip test last week and my body is definitely acidic. So I'm looking into an acid alkaline balance diet. I think it won't be too hard, but I'm not sure how I'm going to give up coffee.

By ddljohn — On May 25, 2014

Thank you for mentioning some skeptic's arguments about acid alkaline balanced diets. This is becoming a popular issue and there are more and more products and books out there for maintaining an alkaline body. People are buying products to make food and drinks alkaline and they are avoiding acidic foods.

I personally don't think that we need a specific diet or a specific type of supplement to balance body's pH levels. The body has many intricate mechanisms to regulate itself and maintain an equilibrium, some of which we still do not understand entirely. I think the acid alkaline balance diet is not too different from any other fad diet.

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