To be able to follow the alkaline acid diet we have to be aware of the acidity in food. Which food groups are acid foods and which are alkaline foods? Broadly speaking, fruit and vegetables are alkaline foods while processed foods, dairy and meats are acidic foods. However do we really need an alkaline acid diet to tell us that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for us? Also does it seem strange that citrus fruits like oranges and lemons would be classed as alkaline foods? What about the conflicting information on various food charts? For example, coffee can't really be "mildly alkaline" and "highly acidic" at the same time, can it?
Firstly, we all know that eating a higher percentage of fruit and vegetables in our diets is a good thing. It ensures we get sufficient vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies healthy. The acid alkaline diet attempts to show that there is a further nutritional benefit from fruit and vegetables, predominately alkaline foods, which is the alkalizing effect they have upon us. The alkaline acid diet proposes that it is the acidity in food which causes our body to function sub-optimally.
Benefits of eating a healthier diet, like the acid alkaline diet include, potentially reducing the risk or severity of cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal disease and acne.
Typical Western diets include too much of what are termed acid foods, in too high quantities. Consuming this kind of dietary acid load may lead to a disruption in delicate alkaline acid balance in our bodies and eventually may even lead to chronic diseases through continuous borrowing of the body's alkaline reserves in an effort to rid ourselves of excess acidity. I have previously discussed negative health impacts of eating an acid rich diet.
As already stated, fruit and vegetables are alkaline foods. This may seem strange when you consider that lemons have a pH of between 2 and 3. But according to the science, lemons are alkaline foods. It is not the acidity of the food itself that is important. Rather it is the protein and mineral composition which determines what sort of pH effect it will have on us.
The notion of acid and alkaline comes not from the actual acidity or alkalinity of foods in their natural state. Instead it refers to the ash the food leaves after it has been burnt, or metabolized by the body. So even though lemons are without question acidic in their natural state, after our bodies metabolize citrus fruits, they leave an alkaline ash.
A study that influences many acid alkaline food charts comes from 1995 and was conducted by Remer and Manz. The research paper, Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH, lists many foods and provides values that signify how acidic or alkaline their ash is. Some highly alkaline fruit and vegetables include, spinach, raisins and dried figs.
Eating so called acid foods is not a bad thing in itself. Rather it is eating a diet that contains too high a percentage of acidic foods that could become a problem. The acidity of foods themselves is not necessarily the problem either. Fish, meat, bread and rice all appear to be acidic. However eating a diet that neglects to incorporate a high percentage of alkaline foods along with foods from the acidic side of the scale may lead to health problems already mentioned.
There are plenty of acid foods that are good for us in many respects. Particularly acidic foods include brown rice and egg yolks. Unless you were being dogmatic about the alkaline acid diet, many people would still want to include these in their diets. So the important point to bear in mind is that eating acid foods is fine, even to be encouraged as by virtue of their acidity doesn't make them un-nutritious foods. If you are keen on keeping your body in a healthy state of alkaline acid balance however, you must ensure that you consume plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Not only does this provide you with high levels of nutrients and minerals, they help your body neutralize the acidic effects of the acid foodstuffs that you consume.
References: Uriel S. Barzel and Linda K. Massey Excess Dietary Protein Can Adversely Affect Bone The Journal of Nutrition Vol. 128 No. 6 June 1998, pp. 1051-1053 http://jn.nutrition.org/