We’ve been alkalising and running energiseforlife.com for over eight years now and we’ve learned a LOT about how to get alkaline & stay alkaline. During this time we’ve been asked a lot of questions and there are definitely a lot of the same ones that pop up all of the time. So Bibi at Energise HQ and I have put our heads together and have come up with our Top 10 Most Asked Alkaline Diet Questions!
This is, in my opinion, a fantastic resource that we are providing you with here, and I’d go as far as to say that this is pretty much your blueprint to becoming alkaline. It is a practical, real world, hands-on guide to getting alkaline that doesn’t mess around with the fluff or with the science but gives you the practical advice you need to make the alkaline diet a reality in your life.
I’m pretty proud of it, but frustrated I didn’t do it sooner!
So if you are new to alkalising, or if you are a seasoned pro, you might learn something (or a lot!) – so here goes:
Your Top 10 Alkaline Diet Questions Answered!
1. Everyone KNOWS lemons are acidic. Why do you recommend them?
This is a quite common question, so I’m getting quite good at answering it in a nice and simple way!
It is basically about what effect the food has on the body once consumed rather than it’s acidity or alkalinity in its natural state. Lemons, while containing citric acid have a very high content of the strongly alkaline minerals potassium, magnesium and sodium. These minerals have a very alkalising effect on the body.
The reason this doesn’t work with oranges is because the sugar content of the orange is so high that cancels out the alkalising minerals and leads it to have a very acidifying effect on the body. That is the same for almost all fruits (unfortunately).
Which brings us onto…
2. Can I eat fruit?
Unfortunately, the answer to this one is, generally, no. Fruits should be treated as a treat, or ’emergency food’. Better than a chocolate bar, yes, but the sugar content of fruit makes it actually quite acidifying. You really need to avoid all sugar, whether it is fructose, sucrose, glucose (anything ending in -ose). They all have the same effect on the body – sugar is sugar is sugar, no matter where you get it from and fruit is absolutely packed with it.
While I understand that fruit also contains fibre, vitamins, phytonutrients etc. the sheer amount of sugar that fruit contains means that this not a worthwhile trade off.
The Problem with Sugar (and a quick crash course on why an acidic lifestyle is so bad)
In the same way that our body will do whatever it has to in order to maintain a temperature of 37 degrees, it will go to similar lengths to maintain a pH level of 7.365 for our internal cells, particularly the blood.
The modern Western diet of meats, dairy, fizzy drinks, chips, chocolate, candy, alcohol, coffee, pizza, pasta, bread etc has a massively acidic effect on the body. Such an acidic lifestyle puts incredible stress and strain on the body as it has to constantly fire-fight to keep this pH level of 7.365.
This not only takes up a MASSIVE amount of our energy (remember how you feel after Christmas dinner or a huge takeaway meal?) but it also uses up the alkaline minerals (buffers) in our body including calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium. This in turn leads to so many health issues it is unreal.
These acid-forming foods and drinks also lead to the creation of yeasts, bacteria and mold in our blood. In addition, the acids that are created and consumed in our modern lifestyle also ferment the blood and create harmful by-products, toxins and alcohols, which then further destroy our internal environment.
With more acid, more toxins are created, the pH is lowered, the bacteria and yeast grows, becomes mold, and a vicious cycle begins.
And what’s more – these harmful bacteria, yeast and mold actually feed off the nutrients you consume! But that is not all! The waste products they leave behind also act as their food, meaning that rapid multiplication takes place!
So when we consume sugar it sends our body into turmoil. Consuming sugar is like throwing petrol onto a fire. It rapidly fuels this cycle, compounding the problem and placing an insane amount of stress on the body.
I’ve written about this before and a number of questions and concerns often arise, but the question that comes up most frequently is this:
But sugar from fruit is different isn’t it? Fructose is ok, right?
Nope. Sugar is sugar is sugar. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it still wreaks havoc with the acid/alkaline balance of the body. Whether it is from fructose, sucrose, an apple, honey or a piece of chocolate cake, the sugar still has the same devastating effect. How quickly or slowly the body metabolises different sugars may have an effect on your energy levels (in terms of how quickly the peaks and troughs will follow one another) but makes no difference to the fact that the sugar ferments and fuels these harmful microforms in exactly the same way.
So stop eating fruit! It is plain to see that sugar is incredibly harmful, and fruit is packed full of it. And as for fruit juice? Fresh or not, fruit juice is simply highly concentrated fruit! But without the fibre! It is the same problem multiplied by twenty. DO NOT DRINK FRUIT JUICE!
Sure, if it is the choice between an apple and a Mars bar then go for the apple, because you’re at least getting some goodness. But better still, give yourself better choices so you don’t have to go for the lesser of two evils! (wow, five years ago I never would have thought I would be calling fruit ‘evil’!)
Is any fruit OK?
Yes! There are a handful of low-sugar fruits that are great for you! Tomato, avocado, lemon, lime and grapefruit are all alkalising and full of goodness. And before anyone asks about how lemons and limes can be alkalising – the answer is simple: it is the effect the food has on the body, not whether it is acid or alkaline in it’s natural state. The reason lemons and limes have an alkalising effect is because they are not only high water content and low sugar content, but they also contain high amounts of alkaline minerals (potassium in particular).
I hope this makes sense.
3. Why are the lists of alkaline/acid foods different?
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 extremely 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.
4. Which green drink is best and do I need pH drops?
Ahhh, an interesting question that I get asked ALL the time. It was probably THE most asked question at the Dr Young Live event back in June!
Here is my honest, and official, answer:
Firstly, there are a few checks you need to make before you narrow down your shortlist:
- Is the green drink sugar-free? There are so many supposed green drinks out there (especially available on the high street) that quite foolishly contain sugar and sweeteners. What is the point in that?! Look out for carob & stevia in particular. Remember it takes 20 parts alkaline to neutralise 1 part acid, so if your greens contains sugar then you are going to end up with pH neutral at best…making your green drink expensively pointless.
- Is the green drink yeast, fungi and algae-free? Many greens also contain yeast, mushroom extracts and algae’s which I personally don’t recommend and know Dr Young has proven to be highly acidifying.
After that, I’d say the decision is down to taste and personal preference.
I personally use Dr Young’s Doc Broc Greens and here are my reasons:
- This is a 4th generation green drink. Dr Young is the pioneer of these products and it was he who created SuperGreens for Innerlight several years ago. While I do like the SuperGreens taste and used to use it a lot, the formulation and production method has not changed since it was created, whereas with Doc Broc, it is created with the benefit of all of Dr Young’s experience during this time.
- The blend of ingredients he uses is second to none. Everyone has pretty much copied his old Innerlight formulation (note how they all taste similar?) but he has upped the ante by including even more alkaline forming ingredients such as avocado, lemon and lime.
- I just love the taste.
So in my opinion, Doc Broc is the best green drink on the market, but there are a few close runners:
- MegaGreens: A nice, fresh tasting blend made from organic New Zealand grasses
- pH Ion Green: Slightly sweeter tasting, but does contain spirulina, so I use sparingly. A lot of our customers LOVE the taste of this one
- Tony Robbins Pure Energy Greens: a very different tasting green drink, but very effective
- SuperGreens: and of course, the classic. Still packs a punch.
And as for pH drops…I personally believe that they are essential. Why? pH drops dramatically increase the alkalinity and purity of the water you consume. It takes 20 parts alkaline to neutralise 1 part acid, so if you throw your scoop of greens into tap water (which almost always has an acid pH) then you are really, really lessening the alkalising effect of the greens.
5. Which supplements do you recommend?
This really is down to your own personal nutritional requirement, and I would always recommend speaking to a qualified nutritionist such as Gareth Edwards before making any dietary changes – but in my personal opinion and from the feedback from my customers I recommend the following four supplements as a solid cornerstone to any nutritional regime:
Ross’s Supplement Suggestions
- Green Drink: highly alkalising, highly nutrient dense and unbelievably good for you, green drinks are a must have for me. I can almost guarantee that if you start having four green drinks per day then you will almost instantly start seeing the benefits. A rich source of chloropyhll, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients – the greens infuse your body with highly alkaline ingredient to cleanse, neutralise acids and give your body a huge energy boost.
- pH Drops: pH drops play the key role of raising the pH of any water you consume. This is really very important because normal tap water is generally acidic. So while it is really important to get properly hydrated, this can be counter-productive if the water is acidifying. pH drops are highly concentrated solutions containing very alkaline forming minerals. Just a few drops will dramatically raise the pH of the water.
A further bonus with pH drops such as puripHy is that it has the extra benefit of removing the yeasts, molds and bacteria from the water – making your standard tap water really quite healthy and alkaline!
- Omega Oils: For optimal health, energy and wellness I strongly urge you to give some focus to the omega 3, 6, 9 and coconut oil that you consume. Here is a rundown of the basic facts of each to get you started!
- Omega 3: The important omega 3’s are ALA, EPA and DHA. The human body cannot make omega 3 on its own so it is essential that we supplement our diets. Omega 3 is also the fat that we are most deficient in. Experts suggest that we need between 20-40ml of omega 3 per day to function optimally. To get this through diet alone is difficult, even if we eat oily fish and nuts every single day. Especially as a lot of the foods (fish & meat included) are farmed in a way that makes them less nutritious than in days gone by.
- Omega 6: Omega 6’s are LA and GLA and are found in safflower, sunflower, hemp, sesame and flax. However, remember that when oils are exposed to light, air or heat they become toxic, so 99% of the sunflower and safflower oils that are commonly used are useless for health purposes. Using these (or any of the oils mentioned here) raw and fresh on salads, pastas etc is a great way to increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet. But remember – many of us actually consume too much omega 6 in relation to omega 3 which can cause problems (getting the ratio between 3, 6 and 9 is important).
- Omega 9: Omega 9 is mostly OA, which is found in the lovely olive, almond, avocado and macadamia oils. Again, the ratio is important, but many of us use less of these oils, so this is not something we need to consider quite so much. The handy thing is that these oils all taste delicious, so they are easy to incorporate into our lives.
- Medium Chain Tryglycerides (MCT) from Coconut Oil: MCT are hard to come by, and almost all other oils we consume are long chain. We specify coconut oil because it is almost always organic, is incredibly resistant to heat, light and air (unlike all other oils) so it can be cooked with and still healthy, and because it tastes great!
As mentioned these Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are called essential because the body absolutely requires them to function, yet it cannot manufacture them itself. It relies upon us to consume these fats, namely omega 3 and omega 6. These fats are so important that even if we eliminated the bad fats from our diets completely, we would still, eventually, die if we did not ingest any of these EFAs. We simply cannot live without these fats!
Do you, or have you ever suffered from any of the following:
* Dry skin, acne or skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis or rosecea
* Weight gain
* Low energy levels
* Brittle hair and hair loss
* Poor nail growth
* Deterioration of liver and kidneys
* Inability to sleep
* Low immune system
* Digestion problems, inflammation, bloating
* Low libido
* Tingling in arms and legs
These are just a few of the symptoms of omega 3 and 6 deficiency. And these symptoms show up fast!
- Alkaline Salts: Alkaline salts are simply so amazing. Based around the four most alkaline mineral salts of calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium, these salts are highly alkalising and are vital to life itself. To best way to tell you about these salts is to give you Dr Young’s description, so here goes:
1) Our bodies contain almost 450gms of salt and each day we need to replenish the salt used by our bodies
to maintain our normal health, vigor and alkaline design.
2) Salt plays a big part in helping the body to digest food and turn them into living tissues, as well as helping to transmit nerve impulses that contract the muscles. In order for the cells of the body to function normally, a salt/water balance must be maintained. Salt is also necessary for making the sodium bicarbonate the body needs to alkalize the food we eat to maintaining the alkalinity of the blood and lymph fluids.
3) Young pHorever pH Miracle pHlavor colloidal mineral salt tastes great. Minerals present naturally in the salt from the Great Salt Lake North Shore as well as the crystal shape enhances its flavor therefore the salt can be used more sparingly.
4) Young pHorever pH Miracle pHlavor colloidal mineral salt contains higher levels of calcium and magnesium than normal sea or table salts, as these minerals are also naturally present in the Great Salt Lake North Shore water. Some people believe that this balance of minerals has beneficial effects on the body.
5) When you are tired and/or fatigued and need energy that is the need for salt.
6) All sugar cravings are the need for salt.
7) Salt is the ion of life in which all energy is transported. Without salt there is no life.
And here is an interview with Dr Young talking about the pHlavor Salt product. I recommend using this and/or pHour Salts. The difference? pHlavor is more of an all-rounder which can be used as a supplement or a food flavouring, whereas pHour Salts is a more intense supplement (you seriously wouldn’t use this on your food!) that can also be used as a bath soak.
7. Where do I get protein from?
That is a very, very valid question – but I think it is in the wrong context…but I’ll get onto that. The first question you need to ask yourself is ‘How Much Protein Do I Need?’. Difficult question. Dr Young states that the average person needs no more than 20g per day, but this obviously changes if you work out or lead a very active life. I personally aim for around 50g, but certainly nowhere near the heights of some trainers who propose you should have at least 1-2g’s per kg of body weight.
I suggest you find your own level that you are happy with, within this range (of 20-100g) and then consider where you will get your protein from. When most people ask this about the alkaline diet it is more out of fear that they are not going to get enough – but the more pertinent question is – what is your source of protein i.e. make sure it is a good source!
On an alkaline diet, without any further supplementation I consume at least 30g of protein a day, which is more than enough for the body to function, grow and develop. This level often tops 60g with the introduction of tofu, soy milk etc.
I also supplement with an organic hemp protein at the moment because I’m hitting the gym pretty hard, but this isn’t essential.
Food Sources of Protein on the Alkaline Diet – but to answer your original question, when you’re living alkaline you get more than enough protein from:
– green leafy vegetables
These provide plenty. So relax…
8. Will I lose weight (OR can I gain weight?)
The body is alkaline by design and one of the most common symptoms of being over-acid is weight gain. When you’re over acid your body both hang onto fat to protect your major organs, and is also unable to process the excess fat from the acids you consume. When you start to alkalise you quickly shred through this fat. Bulges and cellulite disappear pretty darn quick.
There is some complex science behind this, but if you consider that on a daily basis you are going to be consuming loads of fresh, raw salads, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats etc. and be totally hydrated, while at the same time consuming zero sugar, trans-fats, chocolate, crisps, sweets, alcohol etc. it is pretty clear to see that you’re not going to have to worry about weight for too much longer.
The same goes for being under-weight. Being under-weight is an acid problem too. Your clogged, over acidic digestive system is preventing your body from being able to absorb the nutrients you do consume, and so you’re left skinny and weak. Once you start to alkalise you will find yourself filling out in all the right places and gaining muscle mass.
9. How do I test my pH – why are my readings erratic?
Testing your pH is a great way of tracking your progress. But it has to be done right. Here is how:
It is good practice to either test 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. If testing your saliva, it is a good idea to try to fill your mouth with saliva and then swallow. This helps remove any acidic bacteria that might be lurking. Do not try to wash your mouth out with anything else as this will simply record the alkalinity of the water/liquid you have just used.
For testing urine, let some urine flow before testing as this will give more of an average reading.
It is also a good idea to test 2-3 times in a day in order to get an average, as first thing in the morning the body has retained fluids over a long period of time and it will engage in different processes to remove acid wastes from the body throughout the day (depending on activity and diet).
Why the Differences and Fluctuations?
The reason that there is such a difference between your urine and saliva readings is that a) your mouth is more likely to contain acidic bacteria throughout the day (if you brush your teeth it will show a very high alkaline reading due to the toothpaste so there is not much of a way around this) and b) because your urine is more of a reflection of the processes the body is undertaking to remove acid from the body.
Both of these are therefore subject to fluctuations. I would recommend taking the average of several readings to gain a bigger picture of your progress rather than concentrating on each reading in isolation.
A reading of anywhere between 6.75-7.0+ is excellent for saliva as the saliva tends to be slightly more acidic. For the urine, a slightly higher pH level of 7.5 upwards is great, but remember that due to the kidneyâ€™s processing of toxins throughout the day, the urine can give a more erratic reading.
To put all of this into perspective, someone who eats a typical Western diet would be more likely to have a saliva pH average of about 5.5-6.0. This may not seem too much lower, however it is important to remember that the pH scale is logarithmic – meaning each step is ten times the previous i.e. 4.5 is 10 times more acidic than 5.5 which is 100 times more acidic than 6.5 and so on.
Testing the pH of your saliva or urine is only going to give you a general trend. Unfortunately, there is no way of determining the EXACT pH of the blood without undergoing a live blood analysis. However, they can give a good indication – so test, test, test and take the average and then follow this trend over time noticing the difference any changes in your diet can make.
Click here to buy pH Testing Strips
10: Which vegetables are the most alkalising?
Not really something you need to worry too much about, but if you do need to know – I believe it is a toss-up between wheatgrass and cucumber. But basically here is my quick and dirty list of the foods to aim for if you want to be super-alkalising:
Green grasses – such as wheatgrass & barley grass
Green leafy veg – such as spinach, rocket & watercress
Any other salad, vegetable or high-water content, low sugar food!
Just think big bowls of salad and big plates of veggies!
Bonus 1: Can I become too alkaline?
Because I’m nice, and I couldn’t work out which question to drop to make this list a top 10 (top 11 didn’t have the same ring) I’m giving you this bonus answer. It is one we get asked quite often and it does have a simple-ish answer, so here goes.
Basically, yes, you can become over-alkaline, of course. This is very, very difficult to achieve! Your body is constantly creating acids in it’s daily workings, which is why we need to focus on eating 80/20 alkaline foods to help to neutralise these acids. We obviously make things worse by eating and drinking acvid too.
But if we did manage to eat SO alkaline that your cells and body fluids went above 7.365 then your body would simply buffer this to regulate you back down to the correct pH. The effect on your body would be similar to that if you were too acid. And given that 99% of us are too acid 99% of the time (yet we are still walking and functioning as humans!) then I don’t think it would have too much of an effect on us. You’d probably feel pretty similar to how you do right now.
Plus it would be pretty short lived as, like I mentioned, the body does create acids all of the time, so you’d soon be neutralised!
Any More Questions?
I really hope this has helped and has given you a good framework and answered some of the questions you might have had. If you do have any other questions – feel free to leave a comment below!
Have a great weekend