Alkaline Food Questions Answered: Why Are Alkaline Food Lists So Different?

Article by ross

alkaline foodsHey everyone!

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.


Alkaline Recipe BookThis 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!

Firstly – here is my list of alkaline foods and acid foods. Our list is based upon the research and theories of Dr Robert Young, who is the pioneering researcher in the alkaline diet field.

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 Live Energized and I believe my chart 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 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 System
Click here find out more about the alkaline nutritionist Gareth Edwards
Click here for my quick-reference guide: The Seven Most Alkaline Foods
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.

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


  1. Dean Reply


    Loving your charts! I’m so tired of seeing inconsistencies in other charts I’ve seen. One recently said that soya sauce and lean chicken are alkaline!

    Question- are chickpeas acidic? Couldn’t find it on the charts. I’d love to keep eating them but I have a sensitive stomach and they make me feel bloated and tired- but not sure if they’re acidic or not.


  2. Beryl Reply

    Hi Ross, I have had major problems with fatigue and only being able to eat 1 – 3 different foods for the past 12 months. I am NOT allergic to any foods but am intolerant of ALL vegetables because of Salicylate intolerance.
    7 years ago even though I had been eating a quite healthy diet with mostly home cooked meals, very little packaged foods I had a bout of candida plus not having my usual energy so started on anti candida diet. I was very strict and did not touch sugar or any other sweetener for approx 3 years, no yeasts in any food and still not feeling well often lethargic.
    To heal my stomach I then followed another 3 years of not one drop of sugar, dairy or gluten, only cooking vegetables morning, noon and night plus eating bone broths and home cooked beef, lamb and chicken and kept getting worse to the stage of not being able to function and having to spend a lot of days in bed plus visits to the hospital with suspected heart attacks only to be told there was nothing wrong with me.
    It was 2 years ago after many visits to doctors, naturopaths etc, etc that I discovered that I had massive histamine and salicylate intolerance. Once I cut out all beef broths and all slow cooked meats and nearly all vegetable after much trial and error I actually got my life back and could function again. I actually could only eat my histamine free meat and spelt flour scones I made each day and I was able to get some energy back.
    18 months later no matter how many times I try to eat any vegetable except for a bit of potato my body will not tolerate it from slight shakes to very strong reaction such as fainting. I feel this excessive salicylate intolerance, not being able to take Vit c, ( a major shock reaction)or any other amino acids to heal the stomach, points to acidosos.
    I would really like your suggestions and help on how to enable my body to tolerate vegetables.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Gabriele Reply

    Hi Ross, some questions:
    Your chart des not include: canned food such as tuna fish, meat, beans, peas, lentils, etc. –
    frozen food: vegetables, fish, ready dishes, etc.. Can you tell me somethig about them?
    Reading through your site I realized that you suggest a lot of supplements. But I know that supplements are not good for your health if taken in quantity and for long time. Moreover your diet sems to be basically a vegan diet.
    I am 76 years old and what you would suggest to a peson of my age as a diet? Recently my urine ph was 5 and started taking a glass of mineral water with half lemon juice and a little spoon of sodium bicarbonate and it worked greatly. How long shuld I take sodium bicarbonate?
    Thank ou very ,uch.

  4. Judy Bicheler Reply

    Hi Ross,
    I had that same question about the discrepancy of alkaline/acid foods and have a further question. While I understand that some foods supposedly create an alkalizing affect in the body, my body reacts very badly to tomatoes (especially) and vinegar and at least some citrus. I cannot eat them without terrible pains, bloat etc. I seem to have a very acid stomach and have to eat so bland. Any idea why these foods would bother me?

  5. Christina Reply

    Hi Ross. I downloaded your list of alkaline foods and it’s awesome; but one thing I do not see is coconut sugar. Is it alkaline? Is it high in any of the -oses? Also, how is popcorn with himalayan salt? Any better?

    I am new to this diet, and I am currently in a bad way for more hot food, in addition to wanting meat, chocolate and coffee!! These are hard habits for me to break. I think I might substitute coconut cream and stevia in my coffee, until I can totally break free.

    Any advice?

  6. Lesley Reply

    Tomato,Onion,citrus fruits and Garlic are NOT alkaline,they are acidic and harmful for people like me with acid reflux.You need to get your list right so people aren’t harmed.

    • ross Reply

      Hi Lesley

      The alkaline-mineral content of these foods does make them alkaline, but I know people with varying degrees of GERD need to go easy on them until they’re back in balance.

      One size fits one – these are guiding principles I am suggestion, not a perfect solution for everyone.


    • Judy Bicheler Reply

      Leslie, Those are the same foods I cannot eat, as well as cheese .What list do you follow?

  7. Joanne Reply

    My daughter has a terrible yeast infection and diarrhea. She is a very picky eater. What would be best for her to drink and eat to get better?

    • Jerry p Reply

      Try GREEN VIBRANCE sold as powder in most
      Health food stores. I had the same problem
      But not yeast..

  8. Rosie Reply

    Hi Ross,
    Such a great website – thank-you!
    I just have a question about the chart. I noticed brown rice was in the moderately acidic table but then also listed as an alkaline food. Could you please clarify this for me?

  9. Tim Beynon Reply

    Hey Ross! Great post, thank you for sharing:)

  10. Trish Reply

    I have city water that has tannon in it and it stinks. They also add Floride. I don’t drink the water but have no choice but to wash with it.
    I bought a distiller. What else can I add to it to make it safe to drink? Bottled water was much too costly and had too many additives as well.
    I don’t drink enough water and it shows up as kidney failure. I need help!

  11. Thomas Reply

    @Zinturis, even though the high sugar fruits are natural and would contain more alkaline minerals as you mentioned. Regardless it being natural sugar, sugar = acid. The high acidity would actually cancel out the alkaline properties. Dr Young, has tested a guy from California that loved his oranges. I am not from the states but I think that they are known for oranges there. However, he thought it was the healthiest thing on earth and Dr. Young did a live blood test and it froze and stuck together and did not move for hours. He was not happy.
    If you want to really test it, a Live/Dry blood analysis would answer it for you.

  12. KarenB Reply

    I have also been confused about the differences between charts and after talking to my kinesiologist on the subject (it was her that introduced me to alkalising foods) , I asked her to test which charts were right and she found that it depends on your blood type to whether a food will be alkaline or not to the individual.

  13. zinturis Reply

    I agree with this alkaline approach. But there is still a missing part in this chain. If you check many high sugar fruits you will notice one very interesting thing – the more sugar fruit has naturally the more alkaline minerals it contain. Isn’t it a natural balance of nature? For instance the same mentioned banana has much sugar but the nature gives much alkalizing minerals with it. The same story with other foods like raisins and other fried fruits, oranges, apples, pears, plums and etc. It would be interesting if someone who has pH of 7,5 would do a test and eat just bananas for instance for a couple of days and measured pH. So the answer would be a fact.

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