Alkaline Food Test: Can You Spot An Acid Food From An Alkaline Food?

alkaline food test

Is it Alkaline? The Easy Alkaline Food Test!

How would you love to be able to tell if a food is acid or alkaline-forming just by looking at it.

In the supermarket, grocery store, restaurants or when you’re digging around in the fridge or pantry…

—-> In this short, but exciting guide I am going to show you how you can accurately decide if a food is alkaline-forming or acid-forming, with a quick test and a few simple questions.

Acid & Alkaline Foods – How Do You Know Which is Which?

In general there are two tests / methodologies out there for determining the alkalinity or acidity of a foods and this is what the alkaline food charts (like mine here) are based upon.

There is one KEY difference between these methods and to me it determines whether it is correct or not, and also explains the inconsistencies between lists.

SEE ALSO: The Most Alkaline Foods & The Most Acidic Foods

Method One: PRAL

The Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) method is very accurate for many uses, but not the alkaline diet. This is the method used by 90% of alkaline food charts out there, but it is sadly misleading and can lead to errors being made by beginners (see my Biggest Alkaline Diet Mistakes post here).

The PRAL method measures the alkalinity or acidity of a food by burning it down to an ash residue and then measuring the pH of that ash.

This is all well and good…BUT…the burning burns away two of the biggest determinants of whether a food is alkaline-forming or acid-forming: yeast and (most importantly) sugar.

Ahh – did you see the distinction there?

The KEY here is not whether a food is acid or alkaline. The key is whether the food is acid-forming or alkaline-forming to the body once consumed.

Understanding this key distinction will unlock everything I am about to teach you.

It also explains why lots of charts show fruit as alkaline forming (the PRAL method burns off all the sugar, the principle reason why fruit is acid forming) and other inconsistencies. PRAL covers about 75% of foods accurately, but it can be very misleading, especially when it comes to fruit – and heavy fructose consumption can be potentially devastating to our body, especially our pH, our liver, our insulin balance and our levels of inflammation.

[Note: you can get my guide to Alkaline Fruits here]

Method Two: The Effect on the Body

Principally, this approach (which my alkaline food chart is based on) comes from the founding work of the major researcher of the alkaline diet Dr. Robert Young. He has amassed a list of foods as acid-forming or alkaline-forming based upon the results from his blood work (and samples of over 150,000 live blood analysis tests).

This approach is then supplemented by common sense and the rules I’m about to teach you.

The Alkaline Food Test: How To Instantly Tell if a Food is Acid or Alkaline Forming

This is really simple, but darn effective.

There are two types of foods, broadly speaking:

  1. Fresh
  2. Packaged

So you need to use your common sense and all the clues you have at your disposal to apply this test. But it’s easier than it sounds.

Factors that Make a Food Alkaline

Alkaline Food Test

  • Is it Fresh: fresh foods are always more alkaline forming – they have all nutrients still in tact and have not been made acidic through processing. This is especially true of foods containing oils, which become toxic with exposure to heat, light and air.
  • What is the Mineral Content: alkaline foods are alkaline predominantly (almost entirely) because they contain a lot of alkaline minerals. The most alkaline minerals to look out for are calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium bicarbonate, manganese, iron.
  • Is It Low in Sugar: sugar is sugar and all sugar, no matter whether it’s glucose, fructose, dextrose etc. is highly acid-forming to the body. Fruits contain high levels of fructose and so are acid forming and should be eaten in moderation.
  • Is it a Vegetable: almost all vegetables are mildy-to-very alkaline forming.
  • Does it Have a High Water Content: high water content foods are generally more alkaline forming.
  • Is it Green: Green foods contain chlorophyll which is very alkaline forming

Factors That Make a Food Acidic

Acid Foods

  • Does it Contain Sugar: sugar (especially fructose) is the biggest contributor to whether a food is acidic or alkaline. Avoid sugar as much as possible! See my guide to sugars and sugar alternatives here.
  • Does it Contain Yeast: similar to sugar, yeast is next on the ‘avoid’ list – yeast based foods are always acidic.
  • Is it Fermented: fermentation makes foods acidic. End of. Miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar, kombucha etc. are all acid forming
  • Does it Contain Dairy: dairy is next on the list! Avoid – acidic and mucous forming.
  • Is it Refined: the more ‘prepared’ and ‘refined’ a food is, the more likely it is to be acid forming. Aim for fresh wherever possible.

What This Means: Alkaline & Acid Foods Made Easy

With this methodology, you should now be able to self-select whenever you’re on the go without your copy of my alkaline food chart handy, at a restaurant, eating out with friends and so on!

This should make your life a lot easier!

I hope it helps!


p.s. please share, spread the word, pin, tweet and everything else if you liked this guide!

Posts Related to Acid/Alkaline Foods

What is THE Most Alkaline Food
5 Things I WISH The Media Knew About the ALkaline Diet
More Additions to the Alkaline Food Charts

order the alkaline life

Ask Me a Question or Leave a Comment Here - I'd Love to Hear from You


  1. Barbara Reply

    Hi Ross-
    Hope all is well-love your website-been following you for years-Had lung lobectomy 4 months ago (never smoked-no drinking-no drugs-eating only organic-occasional chicken/fish—take all my supplements and do green drinks almost daily)
    developed Afib from surgery and been on blood thinners (Eliquis) and should avoid ALL anti inflammatory supplements as they can cause bleeding—So many foods I eat are anti-oxidant and or anti-inflammatory—IS this any different than taking anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory supplements?? My doctors know so little about nutrition/foods not to mention acid/alkaline body-
    I feel so unhealthy since stopping my supplements-Did fresh ginger and Tumeric (fresh/powder) daily -now I can’t—I still sneak in a small piece of ginger in my juicing but NO Tumeric—WHAT to DO??? So conflicted with what to do as I get different answers from different doctors/nutritionist—Blood thinning Rx already thins the blood and taking supplements will/could cause bleeding if get cut/falls and can’t stop the bleeding—bottom line feel like traded a bad lung for a bad heart-
    Appreciate any input/suggestions-

  2. Ema Reply

    Everything, even veges, are GMO and acidic these days. Or is it just here in Africa?
    Even fruits like bananas used to be alkalizing. Now? aciiiiid

    Whats not happening?

  3. Nicholas Reply

    Hi Ross. Great info. I was also taking acv daily and after a few months developed serious stomach complaints. After research I eliminated the acv and started taking organic pharmaceutical grade bicarbonate soda in very small doses daily. After a few weeks or so ( including your alkaline food recommendations ) I feel much more at ease and back to normal.
    P.s. when I went to my GP he was just going prescribe medication which I did not agree with.

  4. Irene turner Reply

    Apple cider vinegar is acid forming but claims to be so good for you?

    • ross Reply

      Hi Irene

      I don’t claim it to be good for you because it IS acid forming. I recommend using ACV only as an ingredient in a recipe, not as a supplement (make sense?) – i.e. it’s ok in moderation but don’t have daily.


  5. Wendy Reply

    Hi Ross,
    Since acv is acid-forming, what do you recommend to dress a salad? Thank you,

  6. mailin Reply

    HI Ross,
    I love drinking lemon/ginger all day long. I would just make in my 32 oz glass jars and frigde but drink about 64 oz a day of that.
    so it be 1 lemon and about an inch of ginger avg size of ping pong ball for every 32 water. SO that is keeping me somewhat in the alkalizing side of things…better then drinking sweet tea or soda.
    Here is the thing…I told my dentist this and he said NOT good. its eating my enamel. I did not think 1 lemon in a big 32oz water was bad for my teeth. what is your thought on this?

  7. Gemma Reply

    Are rolled oats acid or alkaline food. There have been mixed reviews?

  8. Marta Reply

    Fantastic information Ross!

    You are really doing an awesome job in the field of Alkalinity. I am really sick and tired of all those health blogs and “certified health coaches” ( of course they all went though the same program and did not even test what they learned, plus they just recite the same information all over again!) who tell you that sugary fruit is alkaline and you should drink ACV to get alkaline. Brrr….don’t even get me started!

    Like you said in your article, it’s usually about 90% of those health blogs offering PRAL charts. It’s really hard to un-teach all those guys and tell them to read something like a pH Miracle- the only book they need to read actually.

    As always, the solution is simple, yet people make it difficult….

    For me, the alkaline diet was a game changer. I used to suffer from low energy levels (even though I thought I was healthy- after all I had plenty of fruit and fermented super foods haha), was addicted to coffee and could not crawl out of bed. Because of that I had anxiety and was not organized.

    Now it has changed. I thrive on alkaline foods. Every day I get up at 5AM feeling like when I was a kid or even better.

    I don’t understand alkaline diet skeptics. I believe it’s all because of the misleading informaiton that is available out there!

  9. Dean Reply

    So….Kombucha is acid forming? Why is it so good for the body? I’ve also read that organic raw apple cider vinegar is the only vinegar that is alkaline forming in the body.

    • ross Reply

      Hey Dean

      These are both fermented foods and so in theory are acid forming because of that. I do use a little ACV here and there in dressings and the like, but I don’t personally recommend it as a supplement.

      Things can have beneficial and non-beneficial qualities (antioxidants in red wine for example), but you have to weigh up whether the good outweighs the bad, and in the case of kombucha and ACV the nutrient benefit, for me, is outweighed by the acidic nature of it.


  10. Patrick Reply

    Hi Ross,

    How do I know whether a fruit is acidic forming or not. Depends on how sweet they are? Then, is lemon alkaline forming???

    Thanks a lot!

  11. Chris Reply

    Everyone seems to have the same questions / concerns on sauerkraut, miso, temphe, kombucha, etc. These are fabulous foods and should be consumed daily.
    To make those cut and dry comments about these foods is incorrect. I believe no one knows it all, including Ross!

    • Ross Bridgeford Reply

      Hi Chris

      I always say it’s an 80/20 thing and if you want to include those foods as part of your 20% acid then all the power in the world to you. Nothing, as you say, should ever be cut and dry, including comments 🙂


      p.s. all jokes aside I absolutely don’t know it all and am always open to having my opinion changed. An open mind is always going to be the most enlightened. Thanks for providing your counter-argument.

  12. Ardis Reply

    Hi Ross,
    I’m very interested in the alkaline diet and the good health that comes with it. My concern is that most of the comments have reference to weight loss that accompanies the other positive benefits. I am at a comfortable weight for my size(5’3″ 137 pounds) I do not want to lose any more weight. Is it possible to use this diet and not lose weight?

    • Ross Bridgeford Reply

      Hi Ardis

      Absolutely, if you do not need to lose weight you will not. It’s a long explanation to truly answer why this is the case, but if you begin to lose more weight than you should or want to then you’re not doing it right!

      I’m going to be posting more detail on this in the next few days – keep an eye out!

  13. yoshiko Reply

    hi Ross.
    I understand alkaline diet is fabulous. but fermented foods like miso, temphe, kombucha are fabulous natural probiotic. Do you against these fermented food?

    • Ross Bridgeford Reply

      Hi Yoshiko

      I personally don’t eat a lot of them because they are indeed acid forming, BUT you can include as part of your 80/20 alkaline/acid.


  14. Marc Reply

    Hello Ross, could you tell me if natural yoghurt without sugar is alkaline?

    • Ross Bridgeford Reply

      Hi Marc

      No, dairy generally is acidic – it’s just the sugar added stuff is even MORE acidic.


  15. Starr Reply

    My husband and I raise bees. Then I learned about the alkaline diet. Honey is acidic. Makes me sad.

  16. Dan G Reply

    Thanks for helping spread the information of an Alkaline diet! I have been moving towards the low fat, RAW diet over the last few years and no longer suffer from heartburn and constipation. My only issue with your information above is where you say, “sugar is sugar”. Most fruits are more alkaline forming than vegetables when eaten fresh and ripe. Not to mention the easiest to digest loaded with water, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating enough calories from Organic fruits, leafy green vegetables and getting enough water and sleep, is the key to sucess! It is that simple. Our bodies run on natures sweet juices, not man-made high fructose corn(vegetable), syrup. Consuming too much, (over 10%) fat, especially from animals, may cause your blood sugar to spike due to excess fat in the blood stream, coating the cells and blocking the uptake of fructose. Take a look at what Dr. Douglas Graham is doing to help others, including professional athletes, reach their full potiential. He truly practices what he preaches! High carb, low fat, raw vegan is what your body has been craving all along. I hope this helps people to make sense of all the confusing, man made sugar funded studies on the internet today. Just try and find a diet out there that doesn’t try to sell you some kind of supplment that your not getting from that diet. I have tried most all of them and although Dr. Graham’s is by far the hardest to follow, it also brings with it the benefit of true radient health which your friends and family will be sure to notice. I speak from experience and am not trying to sell you anything. Money has a way of distorting the real truth. Don’t just take it from me, let your body make the choice, not your mind.


  17. Barbara Reply

    Thanks for this info. I have always found the differences in ph food charts very confusing. This is a big help!

  18. Georges Reply

    Hi Ross,
    You say: “apple cider vinegar, ….. are all acid forming”.
    I was under the impression that it IS acid but alcaline forming, once in the body…..??
    How about lemon-water every day?
    Thanks for comments and best regards, Georges

  19. tina tobin Reply

    can acidic food cause me to have female children.