The alkaline diet - could it work for you?
What is it?
The basic premise of the alkaline diet is to maintain a pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45 within the body. In order to do achieve said level, you'll need to increase the amount of alkaline foods you eat, and cut back on the acidic variety. That means dramatically bumping up your intake of fruit and vegetables to form at least 70 per cent of your diet, reducing "acid forming" foodstuffs like starchy grains and vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish and shellfish. Tea, coffee, sugar, fizzy drinks (including tonic and soda water) and alcohol are strictly forbidden. It's also important to know that cooking your veggies can have an impact, as some are alkaline when raw but become more acidic during the cooking process.
The idea is that, long before we gorged on salt, grains, meat and dairy, our hunter-gathering ancestors had it right. Advocates of the alkaline diet claim acid-producing foods disrupt the body's natural balance by promoting the loss of minerals such as potassium, magnesium calcium and sodium. While our body is busy trying to redress the balance, we're more susceptible to illness and weight gain.
Vicki Edgson and Natasha Corrett, the authors of the Honestly Healthy Alkaline Programme, suggest acidic foods are tough on the liver and kidneys, since acidic residues build up in the bloodstream. However, keep it up and they claim your energy levels and memory levels will improve, while easing headaches, bloating, heart disease, muscle pain and insomnia.
Will it work?
While there is little evidence that acid-producing foods specifically lead directly to chronic illness, a diet that involves plenty of fruit and veg and fewer fat and salt can't be all bad.
And of course, cutting out fizzy drinks, sugar and alcohol will also have an effect on your body, so if you're overweight and stick to the regime, you are very likely to lose weight.
Is it for me?
The good news about this particular diet is that you don't need to entirely cut out any food groups, and many slimmers find it's much easier to stick to an eating plan that allows you to eat some of the naughty stuff, albeit in moderation.
Having said that, there will undoubtedly be occasions when you have to steel yourself and resist temptation - namely, that morning coffee or glass of wine after a hard day at work - and only small portions of fill-you-up comfort foods like pasta, beans and meat are on the menu. And in order to monitor your pH levels, as instructed, you will need to regularly test your urine.
Have you tried the alkaline diet, and did it work for you? Leave your comments below...