Demystifying the Alkaline Diet: A Beginner’s Guide


Everywhere you go these days, it seems like someone is swearing by the “Alkaline Diet,” a trending diet phenomenon that has recently become popular. Celebrities are touting this diet for its transformative and restorative effects, but when it comes down to it, what exactly is this food plan, and why is it supposedly so good for the body? Here’s a brief rundown.

The Alkaline Diet (also referred to as the “alkaline ash diet” or the “alkaline acid diet”) is a loosely-based diet prescription that emphasizes foods that “alkalize” the body (i.e., increase pH) and eliminates foods that promote acidity. When the body metabolizes (or breaks down) food, a residue is leftover at the end of the process. This “ash” is either acidic or alkaline, and consequently affects the pH of bodily fluids like blood and urine. The alkaline diet, therefore, is founded on the notion that certain foods affect the body’s pH. Contrary to popular belief, the diet is not based on the pH of the foods themselves.

So, in adopting the alkaline diet, what foods should you eat and what foods should you avoid? Alkalizing foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This particular veggie and umeboshi soup is particularly alkalizing and detoxifying. These broad categories are encouraged, while acidifying foods like meat, wheat, dairy, processed foods and refined sugars are eliminated. Although the body is equipped with specialized mechanisms (i.e., in the kidney) to neutralize acidic environments, the alkaline diet can help to alleviate the stress put on these detoxification systems. This helps to maintain the health of integral organ systems in the body.

The Alkaline Diet is often used for dealing with GERD, bone health, and even cancer. Although the evidence-based research supporting this diet has a long way to go and is not yet conclusive, some of the health claims associated with the alkaline diet have some merit, as the diet does reduce some of the acidic “burden” on the body. Whatever you might be treating with this diet, it can be challenging to come up with alternatives to the acidifying foods you may be used to.

To help you think creatively about substitutions, I have come up with the following cheat sheet:




Note: PLEASE consult with  your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Check out The Alkaline Diet Plan by Dr. Connie Jeon for recipes and advice!

Leave a comment

2 thoughts on “Demystifying the Alkaline Diet: A Beginner’s Guide

  1. Acandee

    I agree, the body does balance it’s blood pH and if it is too acid will rob from anywhere in body to maintain that…often the bones. Acidity = inflammation. The focus of this lifestyle is reduce inflammation which is the basis of most chronic illness.

  2. Julie.a

    This is a healthy diet, but not for the reason it claims. This diet, while healthy, absolutely does not affect your blood pH. A body’s blood pH is highly controlled (7.35-7.45) and your body, not the food you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, works hard, and well, at keeping it within that range (1). I will agree that an alkaline diet will cause urine to be more alkaline, but there is little (to no) evidence to suggest that alkaline urine is a reliable index of blood pH or of a person’s overall health. The recommendations of this diet are healthy, but it is a fable that one can change their blood pH with diet. It’s articles like this, that don’t include any science to back up these fad diets, that perpetuate misinformation.