The acid-alkaline diet: Dispelling the myth

Some popular diet plans suggest that eating too many acid-forming foods, such as dairy products or grains, harms your health and damages your bones. Proponents of the theory argue that you need to ”alkalize” your body by eating alkaline foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

But is your body actually “acidic” after eating? Not really.

Here’s why: During digestion, foods are broken down into various components, some of which are acidic. But for most healthy people, the stomach, gall bladder, liver, and kidneys are very efficient at handling acids and do a great job of maintaining the perfect balance of acidity to alkalinity.

Although eating alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables is always a good idea, excluding dairy products or grains can hurt, rather than help, your health and bones. For overall health, strong bones, and optimal performance, choose calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy products, fortified soy or nut milks, leafy green vegetables, and calcium-fortified orange juice. Opt for whole grain foods such as brown rice, pasta, and cereals.



Bonjour, Jean-Philippe. “Nutritional disturbance in acid–base balance and osteoporosis: a hypothesis that disregards the essential homeostatic role of the kidney.” British Journal of Nutrition 110.07 (2013): 1168-1177.

Fenton, Tanis R., and Andrew W. Lyon. “Milk and acid-base balance: proposed hypothesis versus scientific evidence.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 30.sup5 (2011): 471S-475S.

Tang, Minghua, Lauren E. O’Connor, and Wayne W. Campbell. “Diet-Induced Weight Loss: The Effect of Dietary Protein on Bone.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114.1 (2014): 72-85.

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