I recently emailed out to a heap of folks as a thank you and to say thanks I simply said:
Let me know your BIGGEST alkaline diet and alkaline food question & I will answer it for you in 24 hours
Needless to say I got a HEAP of responses! True to my promise I answered every single one of them personally and uniquely – but I thought it would be a fantastic idea to share the replies here so that you can all learn from them and hopefully it might prompt a few conversations in the comments!
So here is my first response, but there are a heap more to follow.
Why Are the Alkaline Food Lists So Different?
Question: Hi Ross, I have decided to ask you the question on alkalinity, thank you. The thing is that every article that I have ever read about the acid/ alkaline balance, and what foods are indeed alkaline differs from so called expert to expert.
I do have some knowledge myself and would also be guided by my own intuition, but it is nevertheless confusing when there is so much difference of opinion.
For example, I always believed that bananas were an alkaline food, even though as a food source I don’t think they are always as beneficial as is often claimed, and potatoes ie white, red etc have always been known to be very alkaline and potato juice has been used to neutralise acid in the stomach for centuries, and yet certain articles cite same as being acidic. Also there are differences in the acid/alkaline ratio quoted in differing articles re various foods. I’m not mentioning any names in particular as I have come across many articles and books on the subject and it is always the same, and so is rather frustrating as one doesn’t know who is right.
If you can shed light on this it would be great.
This is a GREAT question and one I am asked a LOT. It has become one of my missions to educate and answer this question for as many people as possible. It was so confusing for me when I first started out and it frustrates me that there are still millions of people worldwide who still have this question – or worse – are following bad advice and are eating the wrong things!
Now, onto the explanation. I’ll copy and paste this from a blog post I wrote a while back about different alkaline food lists as this is a good start:
I know it is quite confusing to see such differences in the charts. This amount of conflicting information is the main reason I set up energiseforlife.com and I believe our chart (based on the research of the Alkaline Diet pioneer, Dr Young) is the most accurate.
The reason that other charts show such disparity is because they base their classifications on the readings for the Potential Renal Acid Load research (PRAL). This is not an accurate source for this purpose. The reason for this is, to test for PRAL they basically burn the food at an extreme temperature and then take a read of the ‘ash’ that is left behind and what it’s pH is.
While this does give a read of its alkalinity from the mineral content of the food, this is only half the picture. By burning it at such a high temperature they also burn away all of the most acid-causing content of the food, namely sugar. That is why on some charts high sugar fruits are listed as alkaline. Bananas for instance are high in the alkaline mineral potassium, BUT they are also 25% sugar which makes them very acidifying when we consume them.
Dr Young has also tested the blood (through live blood analysis) of over 40,000 people and has seen first hand the effect different foods have on the body. So his classification of acid/alkaline foods is really the most accurate and the most relevant to the effect foods have on our pH levels.
(by the way, the blog post is answering the top 10 alkaline diet questions – so feel free to have a read)
So, basically, the main difference between the alkaline food charts comes down to one simple thing:
Some charts determine acidity or alkalinity on the food before it is consumed & others (like mine) are more interested in the effect the food has on the body after it has been consumed.
Personally, I have no interest in what a food is before I’ve eaten it – I want to know whether it will alkalise or acidify my body. Make sense?
Some stand out examples include fruit, as you mentioned, such as banana – but another great example is the low sugar fruits such as tomato and lemon. These are listed under the PRAL charts as acidic, and in their natural state they are – but they are very, very alkalising once consumed and are a really integral part of the alkaline diet – featuring in hundreds and hundreds of recipes.
I hate to think of the amount of people there are out there who are eating a heap of high sugar fruits every day and are not getting any tomato, avocado, lemons, limes etc.
Some people I have spoken to even eat ONLY fruit for half of the day. They are literally living the acid diet!
I hope this helps clear things up. I have a video here with my good pal and Energise nutritionist Gareth, where he explains why lemons are alkalising. Gareth has trained with some of the best nutritionists in Britain and has gone through months of training and research with Dr Young who is the leading authority on the alkaline diet – so I thoroughly trust his opinion.
I hope this helps!
Click here for my Alkaline Diet Recipe Book (Paperback)
Click here to book a telephone consultation with Gareth Edwards
Click here for my list of alkaline foods and acid foods – it is a PDF download with explanations, a printer-friendly, stick-on-the-fridge cheat sheet and a super-large list of acid and alkaline foods. It’s awesome.