The alkaline diet myth and a lesson on blood PH levels

Acidic diet

This guy was on an acidic diet…

Is the alkaline diet a myth?

(Republished on StrengthMuscleSteel.com/alkaline-diet-myth)

Ah yes, the alkaline and acidic theory…no doubt all the health-conscious among us have heard about this diet one time or another right? Probably most likely perpetuated by vegetarians. For those that haven’t, before you go looking on the internet for what the theory is, there seems to be a few versions of it, but here’s the one underlying theme of what it is:

When we eat food the food is determined if it is acid or base (base being alkaline) by analysing it when it turns to ash. The experts suggest that we should eat more foods that are alkalising so our body is more alkaline. In doing this, it means certain bacteria, fungus, diseases cannot survive in this environment, but thrive off an acidic one, and therefore we have better overall health.

Like anything, at first glance this looks good doesn’t it? Well, so does many things…like that guy you thought was a hot girl from behind in the supermarket. Before I dismantle this theory and give you a lesson on pH you might want to go grab a steak or you might just want to stop here and take my word for it that the alkaline diet Tom-foolery is a load of anus-cheeks. Hairy anus-cheeks.

Grabbed your steak? Good! Now grab a fork as you are about to devour the pieces of juicy info I’m about to give you so you can now proudly go to the nearest proponent of such a diet or vegan and give him a mental fistful of awesome that is the alkaline diet myth!

A 1 minute summary nutshell of how the pH theory on alkaline (base) and acidity even came to be and a low-down what it is

For the hardcore beer brewers among us, you might have heard of some dude named Sorensen. For those that haven’t he was a Danish biochemist and part-time beer brewer who, in 1909, devised the pH scale.

For the sapiosexual sexy ladies (or for you guys that just want to sound smart), just to flex my mental muscles, the pH scale, is based on the number of hydrogen ions in solution. The concentration is expressed by moles per liter. Useless trivia for you? Probably.

phscalephscalephscalephscale

phscaleph scale alkaline dietphscale

The pH scale ranges from 1-14. 1 being acidic and 14 being alkaline.

Examples of alkaline substances are baking sodas and bleach, while acidic being battery acid or an ugly mutant who drools acid at you. Also lemon juice and wine. Hydrochloric acid is acidic too.

Caught up with the pH scale now? Good! Let’s move on to some of the claims that are made if one has a diet that is highly acidic.

OH NOOOOES! I’M MELTING! WHAT WILL AN ACID RICH DIET WILL DO TO ME?!!

It’s a big list! So just skim-read it if you will, but here’s popular symptoms I picked up from a website (1):

1. Lack of energy, constant fatigue, loss of physical tone and psychic drive, sensation of heaviness in the limbs, feelings of inability to cope.
2. Lower body temperature; frequently feels cold.
3. Tendency to get infections.
4. Loss of drive, joy and enthusiasm.
5. Depressive tendencies.
6. Nervousness, agitation without cause, hyperactivity, sensitivity to high-pitched noises and easily stressed.
7. Very pale face.
8. Headaches.
9. Eyes tear easily.
10. Conjunctivitis.
11. Inflammation of the corneas and eyelids.
12. Acidic saliva.
13. Loose teeth.
14. Inflamed, sensitive gums.
15. Mouth ulcers.
16. Cracks at the corners of the lips.
17. Recurring infections of throat and tonsils.
18. Teeth are sensitive to hot, cold or acidic foods.
19. Teeth have a tendency to crack or chip.
20. Pain in the nerves of the teeth.
21. Excess stomach acid.
22. Acid regurgitation.
23. Gastritis.
24. Ulcers.
25. Nails are thin and split and break easily.
26. Hair looks dull, has split ends, and falls out.
27. Dry skin.
28. Skin tends to be irritated in regions where there are heavy concentrations of sweat.
29. Hives.
30. Leg cramps and spasms.

And what will a non-alkaline diet do to you in the long run?

become prone to weak bones, joints and muscles, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and a host of other health problems. In other words, long-term health and longevity have everything to do with acid-alkaline balance.” (2)

Heck why don’t you add that it will mutate you into a spider rat too?

Spider rat transformation from non-alkaline diet

Holy fudge who’d give this toy to a kid? Probably me. Cause I’m an anushole. Imagine waking up to this next to you…if acidic diets prove that I will turn into one of these however, then fine, I’ll become a vegan, live in the mountains naked and sing com-ba-ya.

Examples of food that are acidic and alkaline (click image to enlarge)

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The bottom line when it comes to avoiding symptoms and consequences?

To not have any food that is acid forming. To not have any food that is meat. That vegetables, fruits and grains are all one should have. Yep, be a complete vegetarian. That is the way the truth and the light to becoming awesome. I’m going to get into some main concerns of those claims and some others soon, too, but now how about we take out the guns and blow this alkaline acid diet theory out it’s anus!

come_get_some____duke_nukem_by_urbanator-d5t9t3v

Come Get Some!Duke Nukem by Urbanator Link: http://fav.me/d5t9t3v

The moment you’ve been waiting for: Killing the alkaline diet myths

There’s a difference when one talks about your blood pH and your urine pH. Rarely will your blood pH will match with your urine pH. I’ll toss a bone and say that, yes food can influence your urine pH. If you have nice breakfast of steak and eggs with tabasco sauce versus some fruit, your urine is likely going to be alkaline (3). In hospital procedures for instance, they test your pH levels by making you piss first thing in the morning on a piece of litmus paper.

This is where your bone is taken away from you, puppy, because the urine pH won’t necessarily translate into overall body pH.

non-alkaline diet dog

This dog has an acidic diet. No way is it giving up it’s bone to be in an alkaline diet.

First let’s really analyse the statement of how one is to know if a food is acidic or basic. As I said above: “When we eat food the food is determined if it is acid or base (base being alkaline) by analysing it when it turns to ash.”

Does your body or mine turn food to ash? No. It is chewed in our mouth where the digestion process begins through mastication, it goes down our oesophagus via peristalsis and it is mushed in our stomach by hydrochloric acid. Keep this in mind for the next few sentences.

ash

Apparently, our stomachs are volcanoes and turn our food into ash

The claim that is absolutely ludicrous is that the food will influence your blood pH levels, and will in turn cause diseases if acidic. Our body needs to be at a controlled pH level of 7.4 which is slightly alkaline (our body is in a range of 7.35 to 7.45) in order to survive at all times. (4)

Now keep this in mind. Hydochloric acid in my body, your body, is what is needed to digest food. It is so strong that it can digest a human tooth. The pH of hydrochloric acid? 1!!! (5)

So if every time we eat, this substance we all have in our body, is utilised to break down our food, then by logic, we’d all be dead by the very first piece of food we’d eat!

Put diet aside for one second. How about exercise? pH levels in exercise, when you produce lactic acid? Lactic acid has a value of 1.98 (although wikepedia will state it’s 3.98) (6). So you mean to tell me, that even a person who doesn’t go to a gym, but has a laborious job for a living will die by the end of the day?

doglegday

Wow so even with exercises or physical activity we’d be dead? Very dead. How dead would I describe me to be with the amount of work volume I do in one session or any mechanic working on cars all day for that matter? Cadaverific.

cadaverific

Want to know how to scare little kids? Tell them the story of the ankle grabber

And what of protein in our diet? Protein is a very essential macro-nutrient to have. Without it we won’t be able to grow or maintain. We need all essential amino acids in our body, that is something everyone can universally agree. But did you know that there are both acidic and alkaline (base) amino acids? For you scientific bookwoorms, an example of an acidic amino acid is aspartate (aspartic acid), and a base amino acid is lysine .

There are many more examples of how a body can be naturally acidic but I think we should get down to what exactly is it that keeps the blood pH at that 7.4 range. It certainly isn’t the food, it certainly isn’t the exercise. So what is it then?

What regulates our blood pH?

I’m going to bust one myth right now which is that an acidic diet having an effect on osteoporosis.

Let’s do something that almost all alkaline touting experts fear: let’s eat meat, and lots of it! BBQ at my place! No males, no vegans and no transvestites! Let’s have this acidic diet and see what it does to our bones! What will happen if we eat much more beyond the daily recommend intake of protein?

On the basis of recent findings, consuming protein (including that from meat) higher than current Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is beneficial to calcium utilization and bone health, especially in the elderly. A high-protein diet with adequate calcium and fruits and vegetables is important for bone health and osteoporosis prevention.” (7)

food-porn-bbq-edition-8

My kind of BBQ

The reason I want to tackle this myth first in what regard it will have to what regulates our blood pH is because apparently when our body is in such an acidic state from the foods we eat, it will pull minerals from our bones to bring back our blood pH to it’s normalised levels constant. So if this was the case, leeching minerals from our bones would make it so that our bones will grow weak, and this in turn will cause demineralization of the bones, and hence osteoporosis.

Oh sweet merciful crust! My bonessss! Osteoporosis is imminent on a non-alkaline diet!! Wait? Is that really what happens?

Sure it does…and I have a cybernetic flame thrower for a penis. First of all, and I want to reiterate, the food does NOT influence our BLOOD pH levels (8). What keeps our blood pH levels constant is our kidneys. In fact, “the organs involved in regulation of external acid-base balance are the lungs and the kidneys” (9).

Let’s talk a little on the kidney’s functions when it comes to acid and bases. If you’re lazy just read the sentences in bold.

“… the kidneys are responsible for excretion of the fixed acids and this is also a critical role even though the amounts involved (70-100 mmols/day) are much smaller. The main reason for this renal importance is because there is no other way to excrete these acids and it should be appreciated that the amounts involved are still very large when compared to the plasma [H+] of only 40 nanomoles/litre.

There is a second extremely important role that the kidneys play in acid-base balance, namely the re-absorption of the filtered bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is the predominant extracellular buffer against the fixed acids and it important that its plasma concentration should be defended against renal loss.” (9).

Why is the bicarbonate important to know? Because when we ingest foods that are acidic like meat rich protein, the acids produced are quickly buffered by bicarbonate ions in the blood (8). What happens next? How does it then get rid of this acid?

When this is buffered, carbon dioxide (I’m sure you ALL know what this is by now, if not, go back to school, Billy Madison style) is produced. Carbon dioxide then is exhaled through the lungs. While this is happening kidneys secrete salt. During this, the kidneys then make bicarbonate ions which is then back to the blood. This is to replace the bicarbonate which is was used to buffer the acid.

penisflamethrower

No acidic food will not cause osteoporosis, and sadly, no, I don’t have a futuristic gun or have a flame-thrower penis

So if we talk about exercise too for instance let’s put it this way: If your blood pH were to be even a bit higher than usual, heck a few fifths for instance, you’ll die. What does your body do when you exercise and produce lactic acid? Does it turn into super sonic or a super sayin? No! YOU BREATHE. Breathe so much till your body goes back to normal. Your body works hard to stay in homeostasis to keep you alive. Look back at that scientific explanation and then think of this when you train. Those bicarbonate ions, that carbon dioxide, how it’s expelled and you’ll finally see the bigger picture with food and movement.

So as you can see, from that, which is very basic physiology, your bones aren’t involved at all, and anyone claiming that you’ll get osteoporosis should receive a Ong Bak downward elbow to their cranium. Because their skull I bet is lacking from no protein consumption for fear of osteoporosis from steak.

ong-bak-the-thai-warrior-20050829031556029-000

What about alkaline diets and health in general? What about alkaline diets and cancer?

I’ve seen this claim one too many: Cancer can only grow in an acidic environment and therefore alkaline diets will nullify the growth and cure it. It sickens me that people will mislead others just to make an extra buck. Maybe they’re just stupid? Who knows? But one things for certain, I’ve already proved that food does NOT change blood pH!

Want clinical proof of this also? Sure!

Vegetarians went on a low protein diet (which is what most would recommend for an alkaline diet to cure cancer. No meat, just vegetables and fruits, nothing acidic). And they had NO CHANGE in blood pH! (10).

This is going to sit unwell with most but cancer can still grow in an alkaline environment. 99% of experiments that is done on cancer cells are grown in our normal body pH of 7.4. (11).

What is taken out of context with such a claim of cancer cells only being able to survive in acidic environments is that “Solid tumors become acidic due to hypoxia and up-regulated glycolysis. We have hypothesized that this acidosis leads to more aggressive invasive behaviour during carcinogenesis”. (12). This then indicates something: that even though the tumors make their own acidic environment, the blood pH of the person while still at 7.4, will not determine the pH of the cancer. We already saw that foods won’t influence the blood pH, and we already saw that the kidneys is what actually controls it.

But, but, I feel so much better eating this way? What gives then?

Here’s my best bet on why you’re one of the many who want to send me hate mail out of your lovely day on why you were first a puppy but now a pitbull thanks to a vegan or alkaline diet. You ate fresh foods, you took control of your health, you’re more health conscious and you gave up the negativity and you tossed out the garbage. You have a better lifestyle for it too. Eating meat that isn’t free range and well-raised is more than enough to call it garbage, and you giving that up could just be another reason why you feel so much better too.

Did you know, there’s a  condition called alkalosis and having to high of a blood pH in the alkaline range is dangerous too?

“Metabolic alkalosis is caused by too much bicarbonate in the blood. It can also occur due to certain kidney diseases.

Hypochloremic alkalosis is caused by an extreme lack or loss of chloride, such as from prolonged vomiting.

Hypokalemic alkalosis is caused by the kidneys’ response to an extreme lack or loss of potassium. This can occur from taking certain water pills (diuretics).

Compensated alkalosis occurs when the body returns the acid-base balance to normal in cases of alkalosis, but bicarbonate and carbon dioxide levels remain abnormal.” (13).

“Untreated or not treated properly, complications may include any of the following:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Coma
  • Electrolyte imbalance (such as hypokalemia)” (13).

Let’s put this knowledge we have learnt about pH and alkaline diets into practice now shall we?

A friend of mine who I consider a sister to me sent me a picture of someone who was saying how pH through food will help. I’ve no clue who this person touting it is but anyway let’s see if you can debunk this yourself with what you have learnt now just in regards to pH.  Click on the pic to enlarge if you can’t see it.

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Wrote your answers down? Okay good! Time to give out the answers

First statement “correcting pH. If pH is brought to 7.4 cancer cells won’t be able to replicate”.

ANSWER:

The human body has a normalised pH of 7.4 and if the blood pH in the body even changes a little with their pH, you’d die. Your body is already at that slightly alkaline level.

2nd statement: “If we bring the pH to a much higher alkalinity temporarily of 8.5 the cancer cells die. They simply cannot tolerate the flood of oxygen they get when the body is alkalised”

ANSWER:

Isolating a cell for an alkaline environment is great on a petri-dish but will probably be fatal if you induce it upon yourself. with blood pH levels of 8.5 you’re asking for death to visit you. The increased oxygen is your bodies’ way of re-compensating for what your body is going through. If you want examples of alkaline substances you don’t want to ingest in high amounts let’s take sea water for instance being a pH of 8.2. (14), (and yes I’m aware some of you is going to complain it’s an invalid argument because it is the amount of salt in the sea water that’ll kill you), baking soda is 9 (15).

Want to know what happens when you ingest baking soda?

A case of severe metabolic alkalosis (MA) resulting from ingestion of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is presented. On admission to the emergency department, the patient was alert and stable with an initial examination that was remarkable only for carpopedal spasm. Shortly thereafter, the patient had a sudden, unexpected cardiopulmonary arrest. Following resuscitation, without administration of sodium bicarbonate, the arterial blood gas revealed a pH of 7.73…After admission to the intensive care unit, the patient’s MA was corrected using IV 0.25 N hydrochloric acid. The patient remained comatose as a result of severe anoxic encephalopathy and died two weeks after admission.” (16).

How’s that for influencing your blood pH levels and getting a “flood of oxygen”?

3rd statement

“What is the best way to alkalise the body? LCHF (Low carb high fat) combined with plenty of the right acids from lemons, limes, and apple cider vinegar. And, contrary to popular belief, eggs, meat, and other animal proteins are NOT acid forming.”

ANSWER

I had to admit, I laughed when I saw this statement. Let’s refer back to the food diagram I provided above. First of all, if one had such a diet, it would mean that one would have a diet naught but oils and vegetables. Milk is out of the equation since milk is going to have carbohydrates, and forget having fruits too. How in the world are you going to get your protein needs? I’m going to assume there will be some leeway with some meats, such as eggs, fish, and some organ meats (although liver for instance does have some carbohydrates) and maybe there won’t be a single steak in sight.

Heck, you know lemon juice (as reffered to the first diagram on the pH scale) has a pH of 2.0? Lime is 2.00-2.35 (18) “Apple cider vinegar will have a pH of about 4.25 to 5.0” (17).

How exactly can you be alkaline and acidic at the same time?

Animal proteins are much more acid forming than fruits and vegetables.

There are a couple of things right about the statement  which is that no the animal proteins and such are not acid forming in respect to your blood pH levels, and lemons and limes are actually very beneficial for you.

Whew! So what did we learn when it comes to alkaline diets?

Alkaline diets are myths. pH levels in regards to foods influencing your blood is a myth. If someone wants to sell you something more expensive than what it is because it’s alkaline or someone tells you that alkaline is the best way to go, then, you can blatantly laugh at this person’s face and eat a steak right in front of them. They aren’t going to miss it or want it anyway right? You might as well have your fill.

 

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REFERENCES

1)http://www.care2.com/greenliving/are-you-too-acidic-symptoms.html#ixzz34Ou4gFcA

Adapted from The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health, by Christopher Vasey, N.D. (Inner Traditions, 2003).

2)http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/acid-alkaline-tips-for-balancing-your-diet

3) Remer, T., Manz, F. (1995). Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH. J Am Diet Assoc. Jul;95(7):791-7.

4) Waugh A, Grant A. Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness. 10th edition. Philadelphia, Pa, USA: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2007.

5)http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/chemical/ph.html

6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactic_acid

7) Cao, J.J., Nielsen, F.H. (2010). Acid diet (high-meat protein) effects on calcium metabolism and bone health. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. Nov;13(6):698-702. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32833df691.

8) Koeppen, B.M. (2009). The kidney and acid-base regulation. Advance in Physiology Education. DOI: 10.1152/advan.00054.2009

9) http://www.anaesthesiamcq.com/AcidBaseBook/ab2_4.php

10)  Hietavala, E-M., Puurtinen, R., Kainulainen, H. And Mero, A.A. (2012). Low Protein vegetarian diet does not have a short-term effect on blood acid base status but raises oxygen consumption during submaximal cycling. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition.

11) Martinez-Zaguilan, R. et al. (1996). Acidic pH enhances the invasive behavior of human melanoma cells. Clin Exp Metastasis. Mar;14(2):176-86.

12)  Moellering, R.E., et Al. Acid  (2008). Treatment of melanoma cells selects for invasive phenotypes. Clin Exp Metastasis. 25(4):411-25. doi: 10.1007/s10585-008-9145-7. Epub 2008 Feb 27
13) Seifter JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 120.
14) http://www.ozcoasts.gov.au/indicators/ph_coastal_waterways.jsp
15) www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair…/Chem_AcidsBasespHScale.shtml

16) Mennen, M., Slovis, C.M. (1988). Severe metabolic alkalosis in the emergency department. Ann Emerg Med. Apr;17(4):354-7.

17) www.culturesforhealth.com/testing-acidity-strength-vinegar

18)www.foodscience.caes.uga.edu/…/fdaapproximatephoffoodslacf-phs.pdf

 

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2 Comments

  • Anthony Jose Turcios

    Reply Reply January 13, 2015

    Have you heard of GMO's? The things making INTO SPIDER RATS!? Yeah, tell that to someone that has cancer from ingesting sodas, HFCS. Cancer is a fungus inside your body that THRIVES ON FERMENTATION (AKA the rotting of the body's tissues), the same way we ferment fruits and grains into alcoholic beverages, along with the lack of oxygen. Hold your breath for about 10 seconds. Breath again. Tell me how much your body will thank you when you relieve it with oxygen, (i.e. what kills cancer cells due to pH).

  • Ok… now, lets kill the cancer once and for all! Breathe! Breathe deeply and fast!… Increase blood's pH!
    What's happening?…

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