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A physician's commentary on current issues in medicine, clinical research, health and wellness.

Alkaline diet
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Pros and Cons of an Atkins Diet

Analyzing the Hippocratic Oath

It has been proposed that this diet will increase "energy" or treat cardiovascular disease , there is no evidence to support these assertions. Young as a method of weight loss in his book The pH Miracle. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , portions of his diet such as the emphasis on eating green leafy vegetables and exercise would likely be healthy.

However, the "obscure theory" on which his diet is based and the reliance on complicated fasting regimens and nutritional supplements means that this diet "is not a healthy way to lose weight. There is no evidence to support this proposal. Because the alkaline diet promotes excluding certain families of foods, it could result in a less-balanced diet with resulting nutrient deficiencies such as essential fatty acids and phytonutrients.

The level of effort needed to use this diet is considered "high" as there are many foods that need to be excluded.

According to the traditional acid ash hypothesis underlying this diet, acid ash is produced by meat, poultry, cheese, fish , eggs , and grains. Alkaline ash is produced by fruits and vegetables, except cranberries, prunes and plums.

Since the acid or alkaline ash designation is based on the residue left on combustion rather than the acidity of the food, foods such as citrus fruits that are generally considered acidic are actually considered alkaline producing in this diet.

Advocates for alternative uses of an alkaline diet propose that since the normal pH of the blood is slightly alkaline, the goal of diet should be to mirror this by eating a diet that is alkaline producing as well. These advocates propose that diets high in acid-producing elements will generally lead the body to become acidic, which can foster disease. Because of the body's natural regulatory mechanisms, which do not require a special diet to work, eating an alkaline diet just can, at most, change the blood pH minimally and transiently.

A similar proposal by those advocating this diet suggests that cancer grows in an acidic environment, and that a proper alkaline diet can change the environment of the body to treat cancer. This proposal ignores the fact that while cancer tissue does grow in an acidic environment , it is the cancer that creates the acidity.

The rapid growth of cancer cells creates the acidic environment; the acidic environment does not create cancer. The role of the diet and its influence on the acidity of urine has been studied for decades, as physiologists have studied the kidney 's role in the body's regulatory mechanisms for controlling the acidity of body fluids.

The French biologist Claude Bernard provided the classical observation of this effect when he found that changing the diet of rabbits from an herbivore mainly plant diet to a carnivore mainly meat diet changed the urine from more alkaline to more acid.

Spurred by these observations, subsequent investigations focused on the chemical properties and acidity of constituents of the remains of foods combusted in a bomb calorimeter , described as ash. The "dietary ash hypothesis" proposed that these foods, when metabolized , would leave a similar "acid ash" or "alkaline ash" in the body as those oxidized in combustion.

Nutrition scientists began to refine this hypothesis in the early 20th century, emphasizing the role of negatively charged particles anions and positively charged particles cations in food. Diets high in chloride , phosphate and sulfate all of which are anions were presumed to be acid forming, while diets high in potassium , calcium and magnesium all of which are cations were presumed to be alkaline forming.

Other investigations showed specific foods, such as cranberries , prunes and plums had unusual effects on urine pH. While these foods provided an alkaline ash in the laboratory, they contain a weak organic acid, hippuric acid , which caused the urine to become more acidic instead.

Historically, the medical application of this diet has largely focused on preventing recurrence of kidney stones as well as the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections , by relying on the recognized ability of this diet to affect urinary pH.

Years ago, this diet was used to adjust the acidity of the urinary environment that the stones formed in, and could hypothetically help prevent stones from forming or the development of UTIs. However, the analytical methods that attempted to precisely calculate the effects of food on urinary pH were not precise except in very general terms, making effective use of this diet difficult.

Therefore, medications , which can more reliably alter the urine pH, rather than diet modification, have been the treatment of choice when trying to alter the pH of the urine. Precise calculations require very detailed knowledge of the nutritional components of every meal as well as the rate of absorption of nutrients, which can vary substantially from individual to individual, making effective estimation of urine pH still not currently feasible.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Alkaline diet Alkaline ash diet, alkaline acid diet, acid ash diet, acid alkaline diet An alkaline diet encourages the consumption of most fruits and vegetables and omits foods such as meat, cheese, eggs and grains.

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