Understanding The Alkaline Diet

Veggies2Health experts agree that the Mediterranean Diet promotes health and prevents disease.  I’ve concluded that by adapting the Mediterranean Diet so that it also maintains the alkaline pH balance in the body I have the perfect diet-


This is the diet I aim for in my own life and the one that I recommend to my patients with skin problems and other health problems.

I outlined the Mediterranean Food Pyramid in my last blog post. In this post, I’m going to explain an Alkaline Diet.

1.  The Concept of The Alkaline Diet

Foods you eat effect how acid or alkaline your body is.  In general terms:

  • Every food you eat or beverage you drink releases either an acid or alkaline base into your blood stream when you digest and absorb it.
  • Your body is naturally alkaline (pH 7.35-7.45) and you’re healthiest if you stay alkaline. (The term ‘pH’ is a way of measuring and describing acid and alkaline base amounts.)
  • Consuming some foods and beverages that release acid is ok so long as most of what you consume releases alkaline base into your blood stream so that your body stays alkaline.

2.  The Health Claims of  Alkaline Diet Proponents

Right now, The Alkaline Diet (also called the Acid/Alkaline Diet) is a new popular diet craze.  It’s based on the long standing  alternative medicine principle that foods create subtle but important changes in your body’s pH (acid and base balance).  These pH changes affect our body’s health; a shift towards acid pH cause diseases while maintenance of the natural alkaline pH of the body supports health and prevents disease.

Proponents of the alkaline diet claim that when your body is too acid it’s more prone to conditions such as:

  • Inflammation
  • Mucous production
  • Headaches
  • Osteoporosis
  • Breast and ovarian cysts
  • Numerous other health problems

My dermatology patients have observed over the years that some of their skin problems worsen with dietary changes that could be acid forming.  These skin problems include:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff)
  • Psoriasis
  • Other inflammation based rashes

My own personal experience with seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, Reynaud’s phenomenon and discomfort from my musculoskeletal problems support the benefit of an alkaline diet.

3.  The Controversy

Traditional western medicine, of which I am a member, doesn’t agree.  Western scientists have been unable to document the health benefits of maintaining the alkaline body pH compared with having a slightly more acid body pH when they conduct scientific studies.  They conclude that the alkaline diet hypothesis is unfounded.   I’m going out on a limb here because this conclusion isn’t consistent with my personal experience and my professional observation as a physician.   I’ve devoted years of study, and a lot of time reading and researching the alternative medicine literature on The Alkaline Diet and I think there’s merit to it.  As a result, I’m willing to incorporate The Alkaline Diet  into my own dietary goals, recommend it to my patients and wait for western science to catch up.  (I expect this to be a long wait because: good scientific studies take time, subtle things are hard to measure, and research studies follow funding.)




With references you can use.

If you liked this blog post, you may also want to read:

Cynthia Bailey MD’s Recommendations for The Alkaline Mediterranean Diet

The Alkaline Mediterranean Diet-A Dietary Magic Wand for Overall Health and Beauty

Natural Skin Health: Dermatologist’s Diet Recommendations for Healthy Skin

Dermatologist’s Recommendations for Natural Skin Health: Kefir the best probiotic for healthy skin

A Simple and Nutritious Fish and Veggie Dinner

Photo attribution:

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5 Responses to “Understanding The Alkaline Diet”

  1. Dave Doolin January 21, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    Holy Moly! This is awesome!

    I’m coming in from your comment on Yaro’s latest article on opportunity cost.

    Saw that you didn’t have anyone commenting.

    That’s no good at all.

    BTW, you have a broken attribution link at the bottom of the article.

    Looking at the Solas website right now too. Very, very professional. I”m learning from just looking.

  2. Cynthia January 22, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Thank you for the encouragement. Yes, I’d love more comments. I’m going to have to figure out how to stimulate people to participate. I know from Google Analytics that I have the traffic, but so far folks are quiet.

  3. Cara @ Health Home and Happiness January 24, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    I think the acid/alkaline theory is interesting. I’m big into fermented foods also. The thing about the alkaline thing… I had heard that our body will automatically regulate the acid/alkaline balance based on what kinds of foods we eat, or how deep/shallow we’re breathing with a negative feedback loop type thing. I’m pretty sure I learned about this in physiology and chemistry, where a ‘low fat’ diet was also prescribed, so I’m open to the idea that it’s untrue information! I need to look into it myself I think! :)

  4. Cynthia January 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Cara, I agree and I think it’s all part of the same puzzle. For example, I don’t think that a healthy intestinal flora population, full/deep breathing, or a calm neuro-endocrine body chemistry can entirely compensate for the modern diet of prominently acid forming refined, processed foods. You can use pH strips to demonstrate that foods do affect the pH of urine, and thus the body pH. I do however think all of these elements of health are important to put into place in our lives. I’m very glad to have found your blog and to see you getting the message out too.

    Part of my goal for blogging is to build a body of information on my diet and healthy living recommendations. The first 3 pieces are built: natural/fresh/whole foods, fermented foods, alkaline diet. More to come. Please stay tuned.


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