Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments - Bethenny Frankel
image by: Alkaline Diet Health with Laura Rimmer
Over the years, celebrities have introduced us to a variety of trendy fad diets and “healthy” lifestyle choices. Some of these make sense to me - like vegetarian diets and gluten free diets. Others are a little more “interesting” - like the baby food diet and the alkaline diet. Have you heard about the alkaline diet? I hadn’t either. But, apparently it’s been around since the early 20th century, and has been quietly popular amongst those who practice or rely on alternative medicine as well as those looking for cures to illnesses they were told are not curable.
Pioneered by American biologist Dr. Robert Young, the theory is that the digestive process causes foods to become either alkaline or acidic, as measured by pH levels in the body. Followers of this diet believe that alkaline forming foods help the body maintain the ideal pH levels and as a result, good health. Consequently, too much acidity is believed do the opposite, and is quite harmful as it creates the perfect breeding ground for certain illnesses and diseases.
For example, If you suffer from aching joints or arthritis, certain cancers, if you gain weight easily or cannot lose weight, if you crave carbs and sugar, or if you have “brain fog” then you're body is probably too acidic and your pH levels are off. In order to balance your pH levels you must eat 80% alkaline foods such as raw vegetables, nuts, and fruits; 20% acidic foods like meat, fish and eggs; and drink 8 glasses of alkaline water every day. Sounds simple enough.
Simple yes, but the alkaline diet never really achieved mainstream or fad diet status until Victoria Beckham tweeted “love this healthy eating cookbook” a few years ago. What she tweeted was innocent enough; a simple blurb about an alkaline diet cookbook. But the world went crazy, the cookbook was a bestseller, and the diet has been gaining in popularity ever since. Just ask fellow alkalizers (my word) Beyonce, Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle Macpherson, Reggie Bush, and Mark Wahlberg.
Alkalizers believe that eating an alkaline diet will not only eliminate bloating and improve digestion, skin tone, and mood but that it will also help you lose weight. In fact, in a recent interview, model Elle Macpherson said she met with a nutritionist because the diet she had always followed; no red meat, no alcohol, three litres of water a day, and lots of supplements was no longer working for her. Macpherson said she was “fed up with gaining weight and feeling bad.”
FInally, she went to a nutritionist who talked to her about the alkaline diet. Macpherson tried it and she’s been on it ever since because it “improved my overall health and wellbeing dramatically”. She said, “I noticed changes in just two weeks: I had more vitality, my skin wasn’t dry, I stopped craving sugar, my mood stabilised, everything became more balanced. A welcome by-product was losing weight around my middle.”
Super model Miranda Kerr is another supporter of this diet. She said, “I am a blood type A and more often than not I eat specifically for my blood type. I also eat low GI, high alkaline foods, and drink filtered alkaline water. I learned about the benefits of alkaline in your body from studying nutrition, and there are many ways to do it. Drinking alkaline water is one of them.” Kerr is so devoted to the diet that she had alkaline water filtration systems installed throughout her home which will allow her to bathe, drink and cook with mineralized, filtered, alkaline water.
I’m not sure if the science behind the alkaline diet holds up. That being said, much of the advice regarding alkaline eating is similar to the federal healthy eating guidelines currently in place: lots of fruit, vegetables, lentils, peas, almonds, garlic, olive oil, certain whole grains, drinking lots of water and eliminating sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. It doesn’t seem like a harmful diet. At least you get to chew actual food.
So, if you’re looking to lose weight or jumpstart your health, perhaps you should give it a try? Worse case it’s another stupid fad. Best case you wind up with a body like Miranda Kerr and that would not be a bad thing.
Source: Stacy Matson, Alkaline Diet - Fad or Good Nutrition? HWN, March 30, 2015.