The Alkaline Diet and Diabetes
Our bodies, as measured through our bloodstream, are naturally slightly alkaline, maintaining a pH of between 7.35 and 7.45 overall (remember that a pH of 7 is neutral and 14 is totally alkaline.) However, not every part of our bodies has the same pH. The stomach is extremely acid, at a pH of 3.5 or less (with 0 being totally acidic.)
The Alkaline Diet (also known as the Alkaline Ash diet, the Alkaline Acid diet, the Acid Ash diet or the Acid Alkaline diet) comes from the belief that heightened acidity within the body can lead to cancer and other long-term health conditions as a result of a condition called latent acidosis. Stress, our American diet, toxic overload and excess use of medications are all believed to raise overall acidity levels within the body, and therefore put the body at greater risk for developing these conditions. As an example, the theory is that the body will naturally seek a near-neutral pH, and that an acidic system will draw minerals from the bones (which are alkaline) in order to achieve that balance, thereby contributing to osteoporosis.
Proponents of the diet believe that we should be consuming a diet containing 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods. Some foods are acid or alkaline in their raw state, but when metabolized by the body, have the opposite impact. For this reason it is important to be educated to the ultimate impact of each food item, separate from its raw state.
Scientific research on these theories has not, for the most part, backed up these claims. However, the diet itself is not an unhealthy one. Consuming primarily organic vegetables and fruits, peas, beans, lentils, seeds, certain nuts, spices, herbs and seasonings and leaving behind meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains and legumes can lead to better health, with lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels, weight loss and overall improved energy levels. Alcohol, milk, coffee, tea and soda are not permitted, while mineral water and fresh fruit and vegetable juice are encouraged. Tobacco is out, as are medications.
For those who are under the care of a doctor, a discussion regarding the diet is probably advisable. For those who are taking prescribed medications for any reason, a discussion with their doctor should definitely happen. The more radical the change from what an individual commonly consumes, the more important it is that they be monitored for any physical changes.
Diabetics should not discontinue any treatment they are receiving. Rather, they should continue to monitor their daily blood sugar levels. It is possible that strict adherence to this diet may reduce insulin needs, but it should be done only in consultation with one’s physician.
Image courtesy: Centers for Disease Control