It has attracted fans as famous as Victoria Beckham, so move over Mr Atkins and the 'five-two' diet, the alkaline is back. but is there anything to it?
Diet crazes come and go. Many become stalwarts of the dieting masses, while others tend to be a flash-in-the-pan (the non-stick, no-fat necessary pan, of course). High-protein, low-carbohydrate plans have been doing the rounds for many years now, while the 'five-two' plan is relatively new, where you fast for two days and eat whatever you like for five.
The Alkaline diet, however, has been around for an age. It raises its head and becomes trendy every now and then. Is it one worth noting?
Could this be a lifestyle choice (there are websites dedicated to it as a way of life)? Is it sustainable? Could my entire family eat this way?
Is there solid science behind it, backing up its claims?
Will I be doing it 10 years from now, or when I'm 80? (which is my definition of a successful diet).
Read on to help make your own mind up on the matter.
Is Alkaline Always the Answer?
Our blood is slightly alkaline, by which I mean it has a pH of just above 7.
If you can remember the litmus test from school science class, you might remember that, depending on the colour litmus paper turned on dipping, a liquid was deemed acidic or alkaline.
Acidic is zero and above, alkaline is 14 and below; neutral is seven.
Our blood generally reads between 7.35 and 7.45. Our urine changes according to what we consume, as it is the job of the kidneys to regulate our blood's acidity, through excretion of urine.
The theory of the alkaline diet seems straightforward enough; that if we eat acid-producing foods our urine is acidic and when we eat more alkaline-producing foods it corrects such acidity.
And yes, acid-forming foods do leave an acid 'ash' behind (minerals such as sulphur) as alkaline-forming foods leave an alkaline 'ash' (calcium, magnesium, potassium).
If it did not, we would have developed acidosis and died! It is supposed that if we test our urine and it reads acidic then we can adjust our acidic blood by eating more alkaline foods.
In actual fact, the kidneys are fine-tuning our blood pH constantly through excretion of urine, so that our blood pH stays constant.
What we read in urine (and let's be honest, that's half the fun; testing it with litmus paper) does not reflect what is happening in our blood.