The alkaline diet, also known as the acid-alkaline diet has been gaining popularity in the past few years. Über-slender Victoria Beckham gets some of the credit for tweeting about her love for Natasha Corrett’s Honestly Healthy cookbook. Jennifer Aniston, Kristen Dunst and Gwyneth Paltrow are also said to be fans of the alkaline diet. Elle Macpherson says adopting this eating plan changed her life, “I noticed changes in just two weeks: I had more vitality, my skin wasn’t dry, I stopped craving sugar, my mood stabilized, everything became more balanced. A welcome by-product was losing weight around my middle.”
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So what is the alkaline diet? The goal is to maintain your body’s optimal pH (between 7.35 and 7.45) by eliminating acid-inducing foods, which can be pretty restrictive. Alkaline foods include most veggies, fruits and rice. Acidic foods include dairy, nuts, meat, sugar, wheat and anything fried or processed. As you can see, the second list is much longer but remember—the goal is a balanced pH so you can still eat these foods. A strict alkaline diet calls for you to eat 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic, although some people modify the proportion to 60/40.
And why do you want a balanced pH? Devotees say consuming too much acid damages your cells and stresses your body by making it do extra work to balance pH. When you remove this extra stress you’ll look younger, have more energy, less inflammation and less risk for chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer and osteoporosis. Weight-loss is a happy side effect. A recent Sports Illustrated article revealed that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady credits following a strict acid-alkaline diet for keeping him going strong for his 15th season.
So does it work? Experts are divided on the subject and there hasn’t been much research specifically on it. Following the alkaline diet does keep you in line with the recommended daily nutritional requirements so even if it doesn’t deliver on all of the promised benefits, it most definitely promotes healthy eating. Because it stresses a plant-based diet, even skeptics agree that it will help you lose weight. You’ll also reap the cardiovascular and heart benefits of eliminating processed foods and cutting back on meat and sodium. In addition, some research has shown that eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables while cutting back on meat and dairy has many other health benefits including preventing kidney stones, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.
The alkaline diet goes hand in hand with the current Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) craze—of which supermodel Miranda Kerr is a huge fan. ACV is known to have a myriad of benefits when used externally and internally. Part of its magic is its ability to balance the pH in your body and when used topically as a facial toner. So if you’re an ACV lover, the acid-alkaline diet may be just your cup of tea!
Another perk is that it fits easily into a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diet. On the flip side, strictly adhering to an acid-alkaline diet takes some work on top of giving up some of your favorite processed snacks. You’ve got to keep track of the acidity of all the foods you consume to ensure you’re balancing properly. Luckily there’s an app for that (of course). The Honestly Healthy app and website have everything you need to know about living an alkaline lifestyle.