Alkaline Diet Myth #1: You Can’t Change Your pH!
So many times I’m emailed by concerned people saying they had just gotten on board with the whole alkaline thing, but then their friend sent them to a website, or their doctor tells them:
“You can’t alter the pH of the body, the body has strict regulating mechanisms to keep it’s pH the same – so there is no point eating alkaline to try and make the body alkaline”.
The short answer to this is:
THAT’S EXACTLY THE POINT
The aim of the alkaline diet is NOT to try and raise the pH of the blood. Yes, that’s right. The aim of the alkaline diet is NOT to try and raise the pH of the blood.
The whole purpose of the alkaline diet is to prevent the body from having to do the regulating!
This is the biggest misconception that so-called experts have, who are so quick to criticise the alkaline diet. When the truth is, they simply haven’t done their research and are making themselves look like idiots.
The REAL damage of an Acidic Diet
Your doctor and friend are absolutely right, in that the body will do whatever it takes to regulate your blood pH (and the pH of other cellular fluids). But the constant need to do this regulating is what causes the massive problems with an overly acidic diet and lifestyle.
By living and eating alkaline, we relieve the body of this need to regulate and thus the body thrives. Of course, it helps (and is surely no coincidence) that all of the alkaline foods are also nutrient-dense, live, fresh, healthy, high-water-content, healthy foods that are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutritents, antioxidants and more.
Is the Alkaline Diet Just a Little Convenient?
I digress slightly but do you think that this is a coincidence? Acidic foods are nutrient-devoid, unhealthy, artery-clotting, dead foods, sugary foods, trans-fats, refined foods, oxidising foods and foods that contribute zero nutrients to our body.
Whereas alkaline foods are the exact opposite. There is no alkaline food that is damaging to the body.
Find me a Doctor or reporter or friend that doesn’t agree that the following is a healthy diet:
– loads of fresh foods
– eat lots of vegetables, low sugar fruits, nuts, seeds, salads, juices, smoothies
– exercise daily
– live stress free and avoid toxins
– avoid trans fats, sugar, refined salts, refined foods, fast foods, takeaways, alcohol, tobacco, pizza, chips, chocolate, ice cream etc
– enjoy everything in moderation
That is the alkaline diet.
Anyway, to get back to the initial point…
We simply didn’t evolve with a body to cope with the changes to our diet that the modern world has given us. We didn’t evolve to be able to cope with such an acidic Standard Western Diet of yeasts, sugars, trans-fats, microwave meals, fast foods, pizzas, chips, chocolate.
Our body was not designed to be able to neutralise this much acid!
The human body creates it’s own acids (metabolic acids) and we evolved with a small acid buffering system which can happily, easily neutralise this acid that is caused by our body’s internal processes and metabolism. However, when we throw incredibly strong acids on top of this all day long, the body goes into shock – desperately trying to keep the pH of the blood and other fluids at a slightly alkaline pH of 7.365.
This is where the damage of the acidic diet occurs
We fully know and understand that the body will ALWAYS keep this pH of 7.365 and our aim is not to change it! Our aim is to give the body the tools it needs so that maintaining this pH is as easy as possible. Putting lots and lots of acid-forming foods puts the body into a huge tailspin and the damage snowballs.
The constant consumption of over-acidic foods and an over-acidic lifestyle leads to massive long term problems. The body will make all manner of long-term sacrifices to your health in order to maintain your short term health by keeping the pH of those cellular fluids at 7.365.
Calcium is pulled from the bones, magnesium is pulled from the muscle, and yeasts, bacteria and microform overgrowths become highly present in the digestive system – clogging your intestines and causing all manner of problems.
The alkaline diet is not aiming to change this 7.365 – it’s aiming to support the body, remove the stress of an acidic lifestyle and give the body the tools it needs to thrive.
So the summary is this:
The body will ALWAYS retain your blood pH in a very tight range close to pH 7.365. Your aim is NOT to change this, it is to support the body’s efforts to keep it there. The standard, modern, Western diet is incredibly acidic, and living such an acidic diet puts constant pressure on the body to try and neutralise these acids to retain the pH at the slightly alkaline 7.365. The real damage is done to the body not in simply consuming these foods, but the real damage is the fallout of the body having to work dramatically hard to neutralise the acids and retain the pH at 7.365.
So the next time someone tells you the alkaline diet is pointless, you now know the response to this. Let them continue to tell themselves there is no point in eating alkaline, and they can keep on slurping their soda and eating their burger. I mean, what does it matter anyway – the body will always keep this pH right? So why bother eating healthy.
I hope this all makes sense. I’ve tried to keep it in as simple terms as possible, but as ever, if you have any questions at all you can ask them below!
Hello! When I test my saliva first thing in the morning, the color barely changes. Doesn’t this mean my body is not maintaining a healthy pH? I’m not sure that I understand this article.
Thank you for this brilliant article.
Question: Keeping the blood at approx. 7,3 PH makes sense because it HAS to be there.
But my understanding was that changing of the body’s interstitial fluids was the whole game. Through an alkaline diet we do indeed change the PH of our body fluids including uring, saliva, tissue fluids, etc. in order to help the body not work so hard to maintain the general PH. But also to create an invironment where much of our diseases today can’t thrive, including cancer.
Or have I misunderstood that?
Hi Ross, thankyou for being so helpful and insightful and this all makes sense, I’m currently studying an alkaline nutritionist diploma course, and I don’t always find information easy to absorb or even believe, unless I fully understand the fact. I’m stuck with how I’ve always known that disease thrives in an acidic environment…and I fully understand that the body’s PH levels will always be at slightly alkaline (just sometimes due to how we live and eat it is working harder to maintain this) so why are we being told disease grows in the acid environment, when is this acidic environment present? Thanks Ross that probably sound idiotic but I’m just stuck on that x
Would you be so kind and send me literature on breast cancer, I am a breast surgeon and I´m treating a patient with breast cancer, she is very insistent that I read literature on the alkaline diet but I don´t seem to find any big studies related to breast cancer. Could you send me any related to breast cancer please
Here is a start for you: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1743-7075-9-72
Use google scholar, there are many there and I urge you to research this area.
You are a quack. Back up what you say with peer-reviewed clinical studies published in scientific journals
A selection of peer-reviewed studies and some of my analysis of them: (this is scratching the surface)
I had a lypoma the size of a football in my abdomen. I had it removed last July. Still having some pain & discomfort in that area. Have been checked with cat scan, etc. drs can’t find anything wrong. Could the inflammation and stress have caused bone marrow cancer 6 mo later? My PH is around 6 and I can’t get it any higher with greens and eating good. Could that be my normal PH?
I have been trying to get my Ph up. Eating healthy, lots of greens, etc. My Ph ranges around 6. Could it be that that is my normal Ph? I was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer 2 mo ago. Have changed to a vegetarian.
Hi. How long can it take for your body ph to get back to normal? I have extreme abdominal burning as I have a low ph of 5.0. Anyhing I eat or drink it burns. I have started alkaline diet dec 1 and it is now December 22 and I also just completed 5 days of juicing only alkaline foods. I had just a little relief and it is still not even close to being better. How long should this take? Maybe there is a bigger problem here but can’t figure it out. Doctors did test and said that all is healthy. I take aloevera juice to help heal, flax seed oil, extra vitamins through isagenix and enzymes. I am so lost at what to do. Or if I have to be on this diet for months and months to get better. I would like to know if it should take this long because I want to give up. I.m can’t live like this any longer. Thanks for your input.
Hi Ross,my ph is 5.5 and cannot get it any higher,for 4 weeks we have been juicing drinking herb tea and no alcohol,pumpkin seeds,white tea,no coffee,no sugar,no dairy or junk food etc why is this not helping?thanks
I am confused. You say: “The whole purpose of the alkaline diet is to prevent the body from having to do the regulating!” If it is the logic, why should you make your blood alkaline, not acidic? Both ways the body will work in order to make your blood neutral.
Good question, The blood is not neutral, it’s alkaline at pH 7.365. The blood’s perfect pH is slightly alkaline – and our original perfect diet was also alkaline, so it worked. We were always providing the body what it needed. However, nowadays our diet is so acid-forming and toxic, that we need to go a little further and help our body repair first, and then simply provide it with those fresh, healthy, nutrient-dense and – yes – alkaline foods.
There is absolutely no scientific evidence that the body has to work harder to maintain pH if you’re on a diet other than an alkaline diet. This diet may well include healthy foods–but not because they’re alkaline.
I disagree. As just one example, when the body is forced into diet-induced acidosis (from our natural 7.365 to around 7.25) it causes a massive spike in cortisol which:
a) stresses the adrenals and the pancreas
b) causes inflammatory signals to spike
c) thus produces more NK cell
d) which has a knock on effect to the digestive system and immune system
Here’s one of the papers showing this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3571898/
This is just one effect of diet-induced acidosis.
HOWEVER, I definitely do thank you for keeping me alert to the fact I need to remember to reference the research I’ve done. I wrote this a while ago, so I’ll go back and edit when I get the time to do so. Thanks again
The origin of the alkaline diet started with making water alkaline. The reason we did that was bc commercial water is too acidic, and tap waters alkaline properties are from heavy metals which are bad. So we used lemons bc the citric acid is alkalized by the body. The reason we want the water alkalized is so that the body WILL ABSORB THE WATER. It has nothing to do with changing the pH of the body or the water pre digestion.
i’m very concerned to read that our bodies will “do anything to stay at 7.0” as my recent blood results were all normal with the exception of my blood PH which was 5.0. i’m super scared especially when reading not only is this far from the norm of 7.0, but that apparently eating extremely healthy will not help. please help me.
I agree with a lot of what this article states, however there have been multiple studies that show that eating a diet high in acidic foods does not cause the body to pull calcium from your bones. Also, I have been a competitive weight lifter for over 20 years and although I eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, I also eat a great deal of protein from meats. I don’t worry about following a super strict diet and eat breads and sugars when I feel like it. I am pretty sure my overall diet should fall closer to being acidic rather than alkaline. I am approaching 50 years old and have never broken a single bone even though I’ve placed many body under the stress of hundreds and hundreds of pounds. With a bench press well over 400, a squat over 600 and a deadlift over 600, I’m pretty sure my bones haven’t been robbed of any calcium.
I really don’t understand this… For three weeks I have cut out of my diet many acid forming foods and have been eating far, far more vegetables etc yet the pH of my urine is around 5.5 – 6.5.
For three weeks I have cut out of my diet many acid forming foods and have been eating far, far more vegetables etc yet the pH of my urine is around 5.5 – 6.5.
I have now read an article which states if you are blood type B you will always be acidic. I am blood type B.
I’m glad you addressed the myth that we are trying to change body fluid pH and raise it. However, proponents of the alkaline diet also tell you not to eat acid-forming foods that can be very healthy and toxin free — all proteins, such as eggs, dairy, meats, grains, poultry, fish are frowned upon, as well as nuts and seeds. But these foods can be eaten from clean sources, without being junk food and the “typical Western diet” you’re talking about. If you were a hunter-gatherer, you’d net an acid diet, but it would be whole, natural food sources. So you are still not addressing the criticism of those who push the alkaline diet that some foods, and macromolecules like protein, are just to be avoided, no matter how healthy the form. What do you say about that? Also I’ve heard the claim that while the blood pH is tightly regulated at about 7.3-7.4, the other body fluids and tissues might be too acid from acid-forming foods. What do you think about that? And do you think testing urine pH is bogus, which I’ve heard from the scientific community, as urine pH is a reflection of many factors, including being efficient at getting RID of acid through the kidneys! Thanks for answering those basic 3 questions.
“Ross is known as ‘The Alkaline Diet Guy’. Author of The Alkaline Diet Recipe Book & The Alkaline Weight Loss Solution, green drink addict and co-founder of Energise. A veteran of TEN years of living & coaching the alkaline diet. Ross makes the Alkaline Diet easy.”
I am confused. If as you say above the body will ALWAYS keep a pH of 7.365 then why on this energise for life website are you selling ph strips so that people can test their alkalinity??!!
Because the body will struggle to maintain the correct ph if you have an acidic lifestyle so you can test where you’re at with the strips.
I found the following article on the webMD web site:
After reading this article Myth #1: You can’t change your blood pH,
everything starts to make sense about the body having to work harder to maintain the blood pH 7.365.
However, I have a question about how you arrived at the pH scores in your document Alkaline-Food-Chart-2.8.pdf
The acid/alkaline scale seems to have a weak scientific basis.
Dear Ross, This make a whole lot of sense to me. A few years ago, I bought a machine that makes 9.5 water (and others) and I’d forgotten why I did that, and I also bought some other opposing ideas along the way. I’m so glad I found you to help me get back to basics so I can put them into practice and change my health for the better. I got very very ill with a lung infection last October, and I’m still battling with breathing/mucus issues which is how I found you in the first place…always looking to learn. I want to thank you very much for your loving and caring and your courage and willingness to lay your viewpoint out for all of us who need help. Your help is very very much appreciated. Thank you ! :o)