By dietician Karen Ansel
The Alkaline Diet, or so-called pee strip diet, is having a moment. According to the New York Post, celebs like Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston are fans of the plan, which requires you to monitor your pH levels by peeing on a strip of paper that tests your urine. Fun right? It’s also doing the rounds on TikTok, with advocates touting its many health benefits, from weight loss to more energy.
The Alkaline Diet theory
Certain foods (and not always obviously acidic ones like lemons and tomatoes) are said to produce acidic by-products when digested. These can throw off your pH balance and lead to weight gain, according to fans of the diet. There’s also the theory that these foods produce mucous in the body, which fuels disease by allowing them to thrive.
Proponents of the diet say you should swap acid-forming eats like meat, eggs, dairy, processed foods and most grains. Instead, opt for high-alkaline fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds to correct your body’s pH and magically torch fat.
In order to create an alkaline environment, you’d need to cut out acid-forming foods and introduce alkaline foods. In order to make sure your body is in an alkaline level, you’d need to pee on a strip to test.
But does it work?
While it’s a no-brainer that switching from fatty meats and processed carbs to a low-kilojoule produce-and-legume regimen will help you drop kilos, there’s zero evidence that your body’s pH has anything to do with it – or even that a certain diet can affect pH at all.
“If our diets were able to drive the pH of our blood outside of the body’s normal range, people with lousy diets would be falling into comas and dropping dead left and right,” says nutritionist Tamara Duker Freuman, a registered dietician. Alkaline diets can be nutritionally sound but often lack many of the nutrients that vegan diets do. That’s not to say the alkaline diet hasn’t been praised by vegans on TikTok, since the diet focuses on raw foods, like cucumber noodles.
Plus, while your pH in urine can be influenced by food, your blood should stay in a normal pH range, which is already slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.36–7.44. Your stomach, on the other hand, should be acidic, which is key for digesting food. It could be fatal if your blood’s pH goes out of balance. This happens when you drink too much alcohol, are diabetic or during starvation.
While the alkaline diet encourages you to focus on whole foods, leading to a healthier body overall, studies can’t guarantee specific health benefits. Any weight loss would result from cutting out whole food groups, leading to a calorie deficit. Since the science isn’t up to scratch, you’re better off focusing on whole, healthy foods, rather than trying to alkalise your body.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com