It appears to me that “eating alkaline” or “alkalizing your body” are part of the short list of the most popular buzzworthy terms in the mainstream right now. What is striking about this concept is that buying into this theory means a complete lack of understanding of human physiology. Let me explain…
Our circulating blood has to stay within a quite narrow pH range for us to survive. That range is a pH between 7.35 to 7.45 if you’re counting. If your blood’s pH dips below that range, your blood is too acidic; if it raises too high, your blood is too alkaline. In other words, if your blood is out of that narrow range for too long, the initial risks would be respiratory failure and kidney failure, then eventually death. If you’re upright, and not in the ICU, you can give a shout out to your lungs and kidneys for keeping your pH in range. Good job, little guys.
When we eat high acid foods (meat, sugary foods, etc.) or high alkaline foods (fruits and vegetables), it’s important to remember that they will end up in our stomach. The pH of the stomach is somewhere in the neighborhood of about 2 or 3, give or take depending on individual circumstances. Your body requires that range of pH in the stomach to properly digest the food you eat.
After partially digested food leaves the stomach, its next stop is the small intestine. In there, your pancreas spits out a bunch of enzymes that raise the pH of the partially-digested food (chyme) to allow the rest of the digestive process to occur. A series of further rises and falls in the pH occur in the small intestine through the large intestine, and so on. Eventually your body absorbs what nutrients it needs (hopefully!) from the chyme, and you poop or pee anything that’s not needed.
Something very important to note here is that testing the pH of your pee, which I’ve known the “alkaline followers” to do, is absolutely no indication of the pH of your blood. To consider them the same is simply big ol’ wrong. Save your money – don’t waste time testing your pee with pH strips.
The bottom line is this: an “alkaline diet” is simply one that is high in fruits and vegetables, contains less meat, and less sugar. Is that a good style of eating? Yup! Does it help to prevent cancer? Sure. Can it make you have more energy and simply feel better? Absolutely. Should you spend $6 on a bottle of “high pH water”? Nope. I mean, unless you want to drink expensive water; but regular water would be just fine, especially if you’re washing down a nice big bite of leafy greens.
Until next time…xoxo