The Acid-Alkaline Myth: Part 2 | Chris Kresser

The Acid-Alkaline Myth: Part 2

by Chris Kresser

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In Part 1 of this series, I talked about why the basic premise of the acid-alkaline theory is flawed, and I showed that the evidence doesn’t support the idea that a net acid-forming diet is harmful to bone health. Now I want to look at the effect of dietary acid load on other health conditions.

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Muscle Wasting

There is some research claiming that acid-forming diets cause muscle wasting, and the proposed mechanism is similar to that of the acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis. Some researchers hypothesize that in order to eliminate excess acid and maintain homeostasis, the kidneys must steal amino acids from muscle tissue. (1, 2) Just as a higher acid load increases calcium in the urine, it also increases nitrogen in the urine, leading some to believe that an acid-forming diet causes net nitrogen loss. However, some of these studies neglect to measure nitrogen balance, so this is not necessarily true. (3, 4) In fact, one study showed that a higher acid diet improved nitrogen balance! (5) This theory also does not acknowledge that protein, although it’s acid forming, actually increases the body’s ability to excrete acid. (6) Finally, the one observational study concluding that alkaline diets improve lean muscle mass didn’t even measure the overall acid load of the diet. (7) Instead, they used potassium intake as an approximate measure, and just assumed that the observed improvement in muscle mass was due to the diet being more alkaline. This, in addition to the limitations that always accompany observational data, makes the evidence less than convincing, especially since the clinical trials have conflicting results.

Cancer

One of the more popular claims of the alkaline diet is that it can cure cancer. Proponents say that because cancer can only grow in an acidic environment, a net-alkaline diet can prevent cancer cells from growing, and can eliminate existing cancer cells. This theory is incorrect for a few reasons. First of all, the hypothesis depends on the ability of food to substantially change the pH of the blood and extracellular fluid, which I’ve already shown is not the case. (8, 9, 10) Second, cancer is perfectly capable of growing in an alkaline environment. The pH of normal body tissue is 7.4, which is slightly alkaline, and in almost every experiment done with cancer cells, they are grown in an environment at that pH. (11)

Now, cancer cells do tend to grow better in an acidic environment, but the causality is reversed. Once a tumor develops, it creates its own acidic environment through up-regulated glycolysis and reduced circulation, so the pH of the patient’s blood no longer determines the pH of the cancer. (12) It’s not the acidic environment that causes the cancer; it’s the cancer that causes the acidic environment. To top it all off, the only comprehensive review on ‘diet-induced’ acidosis and cancer did not even acknowledge this as a valid mechanism by which an acid-forming diet could increase cancer risk. They discuss a few biological pathways that could potentially link dietary acid load and cancer, but they admit that it’s mostly speculation and there’s no direct link. (13)

Other Effects

There are a few observational studies attempting to link acid-forming diets with hypertension, but the results are mixed. (14, 15) There’s also limited observational data associating higher acid loads with things like high cholesterol, obesity, and insulin resistance, but there are no proposed mechanisms or clinical studies to validate the hypotheses. (16, 17)

There are a few review papers examining the effect of acid-forming diets and health, but as you’ve seen above, the evidence they have to review is sparse. (18, 19, 20, 21, 22) If you read these papers, you’ll notice that whenever they cite trials showing the deleterious effects of acidosis, those trials were done on patients with chronic kidney disease or diabetes-induced acidosis. In the studies done on healthy people, they’re given ammonium chloride to induce acidosis. What you won’t see are clinical trials showing health consequences from purely ‘diet-induced’ acidosis. (Perhaps because ‘diet-induced’ acidosis doesn’t exist!) You’ll also notice that the strongest two hypotheses deal with osteoporosis and muscle wasting, and that links with other diseases are speculative or based on observational data. And although conflicts of interest don’t necessarily mean their conclusion can’t be trusted, it’s interesting to note that one of these reviews was funded by “pH Sciences®,” which “develops and manufactures patent-protected ingredients that safely and effectively manage biological pH levels.” (23)

In sum, I am not convinced that an acid-forming diet has negative effects on healthy people, based on the science. But just to be sure, it’s always a good idea to observe healthy cultures to see if there’s any anthropological evidence to support or refute the hypothesis.

Evolutionary Data

There are a few studies where researchers attempted to approximate the net acid load of Paleolithic diets. One estimated that 87% of pre-agricultural people ate net-alkaline diets, and proposed this discrepancy with our modern diets as a possible reason for our declining health. (24) However, a more recent study estimated that only half of the world’s hunter-gatherer societies eat net-alkaline diets, while the other half are net acid-forming. (25) They reason that the other estimate is likely accurate for our earlier ancestors, because their tropical habitat would’ve provided ample fruits and vegetables. This idea is confirmed by another analysis that showed increasing acid load with increasing latitude. (26) Even without the study, it stands to reason that as humans moved into less hospitable environments, the animal content (and acid load) of their diet increased.

Given the subpar clinical science on this topic, I think the evolutionary argument is far more convincing. If half of the world’s hunter-gatherer populations avoid the ‘diseases of civilization’ on an acid-forming diet, it would seem that acid load has little to no bearing on overall health. For some case studies, we can always look to Weston Price’s work to see quite clearly that acid-forming diets are not detrimental to health. Based on Price’s descriptions, many of the traditional diets he studied would have been primarily acid-forming, including the Swiss, the Masai, and the Inuit. Yet despite their high intake of animal foods or grains and their comparatively low intake of fruits and vegetables, they maintained excellent health.

Conclusion

I don’t deny that many people have seen significant health improvements when switching to an alkaline diet, but there are many possible reasons for this not having to do with pH balance. Eating more fresh produce is rarely a bad idea, especially when it displaces nutrient poor processed foods. A person switching to an alkaline diet would significantly reduce their consumption of grains, which could cause dramatic health improvements for somebody with a leaky gut or gluten sensitivity. Dairy would also be minimized, which would help those with dairy sensitivities. And although pure sugar isn’t an acid-forming nutrient, many laypeople claim that it is, so alkaline diets tend to contain far less sugar than a standard Western diet.

Between the scientific evidence (or lack thereof) and the anthropological research, I think we can be confident that the acid load of our diets doesn’t negatively impact healthy people. For those with renal failure or similar conditions that affect kidney function, it’s a different story—there’s certainly room for manipulation of urine pH in the treatment of those conditions. But for someone with functioning kidneys, there should be no concern that an acid-forming diet will harm health.

Now I’d like to hear from you: what are your opinions on the acid-alkaline diet theory? Have you ever tried eating an alkaline diet, and if so, did you experience health benefits? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. Hi, I began to take care of what I eat when I got a pilonidal cyst, doctors never told me the reason why it appeared but it’s gone. Treatment with antibiotics was successful only because I went to a doctor on time, so guys please educate yourself so you can prevent surgery or worsening of health. And of course take care what kind of food do you eat, thanks for sharing useful information’s, God bless you!

  2. Since it basically has been proven that our PH stays steady, what is the cause of cancer, then, if not inflammatory? If we can eat whatever we want, wouldn’t our body immediately work at rebalancing our PH? I keep researching my question but have yet to find an answer?

  3. Hey Chris,

    I’d be interested if you’ve read or followed the work of Alex Guerrero (Author of ‘In Balance for Life’ and also Tom Brady’s business partner and health guide) and Larry Trivieri Jr. (Author of “Acid Alkaline Lifestyle”)?

    If so, do you also put their claims in this bucket you write about?

    P.S. – Alex’s company (TB12) will also be coming out with a book in September that I think you’ll find really interesting as well.

  4. I know that blood ph stays the same due to tight regulation by the body; however, urine ph is another story. I got rid of my gouty arthritis and kidney problems by alkalizing my urine through diet and supplementation. I can say an alkalizing diet does affect urine ph and cellular fluid ph as well as kidney and uric acid buildup.

  5. Dr. Gerald Pollack said vegetables basically contain structured water, so maybe that is one factor behind the usefulness of eating extra vegetables on various diets. Highly recommend his publications for info on this topic.

  6. Hi Chris, I was wondering if the theory of drinking alkaline water has any effect on body? What is your opinion on how it is digested?

  7. Interesting article, thank you for this. I just wonder about this: My natureopath, who specializes in this alkaline diet, was able to take a drop of my blood and display it for me on a tv screen through a microscope. He was able to clearly show how my blood cells were all stuck together and hardly moving around. This, he claimed was due to excess protein. He also zoomed way into a single cell and was able to tell me about all sorts of deficiencies and excess in my system. After a few weeks of being on the alkaline diet, we were able to see a dramatic improvement in the blood cells, they were no longer stuck in clumps and were now free flowing. Unfortunately, my chronic eczema did not see an improvement and I had to see a regular doctor and am now dependent on cyclosporine pills every day to have a somewhat normal life. I switched to methotrexate for a while but went back to cyclo in order to have a child with my wife. Any ideas on how this blood cell movement may have been fabricated? Is it possible that by zooming into certain areas of a slide of blood that this difference in cell motility could so dramatically be observed? Thank you all!

    • I don’t like this article for the reason that Chris doesn’t cover all angles when it comes to an alkaline diet. Fair enough it might not change our PH but it definitely improves our microbiota.
      The guy plays a major role in our overall health and all systems in the body are synergised. When you have more bacteria than cells that are supported by an alkalised diet, the outcome can me of many various different degrees of good health. I personally believe that the gut is the frontline defence of pathogens and many diseases that transcends the “PH” levels of the body. Truth be told our science is like “baby trying to fly a spaceship” when it comes to understanding how the gut-brain truly works — just like how our mainstream medical system does not intergrade the mind and the body as one unit/

    • Hi, just wanted to reply to the comment about the live blood analysis:
      I also several times had my live blood checked, from different doctors, so I know for sure that the change in blood appearance is fabricated, before starting eating properly my blood cells were like piles of pancakes and not round as they should be, and eating a mostly vegan diet sugar free gluten free, completely changed that, after some months I had the best blood tests in my life and really nice-looking cells.
      The point is, alkaline is just one piece of the puzzle, you also have to consider detoxification pathways and if you have cancer you definitely need to detoxify “something” – so I don;t think that the acid thing is necessary incorrect but for sure alkalinizing the body doesn’t necessarily make all cancers disappear, but it’s the first unavoidable step. I find it sad that this article throws the baby away with the bathwater, so to speak.

      • Let me reply to both above comments. The pH of the body cannot be changed significantly. Each organ has an exact pH that the body maintains. It cannot be changed more than about 1%. Because the organs work together to come out together each one works at a different speed to come out on time together. Look the pH up. Check google, for instance, for the pH of each organ. This pH must remain the same or the body becomes sick. When you take alkalinity, your body adjust it before and when it hits the stomach. It is no longer alkaline when it goes to the intestine. This function you can explain away and on and on, but it is simple. All vegetables are acid. All fruit is acid. (Check it out). Meat is acid. But when you eat baking soda or alkaline water your body works harder, but the stomach turns it to acid. Without the acid you would die in days as the acid is what kills 95% of the diseases that arrive in the stomach. Your body maintains the slight alkalinity elsewhere, but it doesn’t change. What you eat doesn’t change it. Your body is a chemical lab and it creates enzymes and other things to maintain the exacting pH and you don’t change it by eating or drinking various foods. Those that say that lemon creates alkalinity are only partly right. Lemon is extreme acid and your body reacts to strong lemon by creating some alkalinity, bringing the pH upward from about 2 to 4 or more. But that does not mean it reaches alkalinity. About the blood. Yes you can take weeks of alkalinity and it may in some cases help the blood, because a lot of acid can sometimes kill some of the poisons in the system, but that stacked pancake effect is also over come in about 30 minutes after taking MMS. That’s acidified Sodium chlorite. Look it up. So basically when you force alkalinity you simply make the body work harder maintain the exact pH needed. When your urine turns alkaline it merely means your body is off-loading alkalinity. And when you saliva turns alkaline it is for the same reason. You swallow your saliva and it is turned acid again by the stomach acid. Two of the many ways your body maintains pH exactly. Eating vegetables is not an alkaline diet. One place you can get a complete list of the pH of vegetables is the FDA. They list about 100 vegetables and none are alkaline.

        • Oh contrare – vegetables are most definitely metabolised as alkaline! Even if you grow your own brassicas, as I do, you have to ensure the soil is alkaline by digging in limestone – they won’t grow in an acid soil!! Does that not tell a very basic story?

    • Our family discovered that mold in the house was causing chronic eczema. The pills aren’t a cure, they break your body’s ability to fight infection, so you have to find the cause and remove it. We think the mold combined with food allergies, perhaps causing the food allergies, resulted in the eczema. Strip your diet of common allergens, eat only unprocessed foods (processed stuff has so many potential allergens that it makes discovery impossible), remove chemicals in your personal care and house. If that doesn’t work, what happens if you leave your house for a week or two? Look up Dr. Shoemaker. If your wife is trying to get pregnant, I think you mentioned this, this is imperative because the baby will be effected.

    • I have investigated the alkaline diet for various health problems, the worst being severe eczema my whole life. Weak adrenal/immune system, chronic fatigue, blah, blah. Two books changed my life: Wheat Belly and also Body Ecology Diet. Highly recommended.

    • Interesting. The tightly bound blood cells are easily dispersed quite quickly via Grounding. If he had some reason to trick you he could have drawn the first sample when you were wearing shoes and not grounded, and the second sample while you were touching a ground.

  8. First, it isn’t so much that alkalinity helps the body, it is the absence of acidity that helps the body. Second, to say that sugar does not have an acidic affect on the body is a lie; Sugar is acidic. Go ahead and eat a lot of it year after year and see if you don’t get sick. Sugar is a dangerous neurotoxin in its own right, which causes a secondary effect not discussed in your article. Finally, sugar is one of the synergistic inputs, along with glyphosate, pesticides, aluminum, mercury, radiation, and chemicals in processed foods that sicken and kill people. This is why studying one of these negative inputs, like sugar, in isolation can soften the appearance of its effect somewhat.

    • If you’re talking about Fig. 3, pH did drop during exercise, the biggest swing being from 7.45 to 7.15. Technically it’s still in “slightly alkaline” territory, and also short-term, no doubt returning to pre-exercise levels upon ceasing exercise (would have been interesting to see recovery measured). It’s a small swing and one tolerated by the body during exertion. We’re not talking a change from ph 7 to 5 for example.

  9. Theory and studies are all for consumption and selection, but the truth is what happens when you eat a plant/starch based diet. I was 100lbs over weight, on 5 medications (std), and doing everything my doctor told me to do. I cooked my own food (was a Sous Chef in past career) and never ate processed crap and/or ingredients. No matter what I did I continued to get sicker, older and worse. My Doctor’s only solution was “More Pills”. I was starting to take pills to counter side effects from other pills. I said, “Enough Already”, I started thinking perhaps I should grow my own food. I learned about aquaponics and built a few systems to do so. During the learning process, I happened across a recommended YT video of Gary Yourofsky – The Best Speech Ever and that day I went Vegan. Freaked the shat out of my wife! Long story short… I have lost 50 lbs and take NO medications. I asked my doctor… “Haven’t you ever wanted to grab your patients by the shoulders and shake them while saying, ‘Eat This Not That'” and his answer was, “Then they won’t come”. Meaning he would be out of business if they listened!

    The truth is out there but the best way to find it is to eat a plant/starch diet and see what happens. If you want the whole truth subscribe to NutritionFacts.org on YouTube a great source for nutrition information.

    One thought on Chris’s opinion… He seems to explain things really well but then selectively picks alone with his own bias in the conclusion. Nothing strange about that. You can’t change what people believe and he is no different.

    I have learned so much about health, nutrition and nature… and I feel I have only begun to scratch the surface. Generally speaking, we humans do better eating that which is alive not dead. Plants create life, it is what we designed to eat. Not flesh (etc…) of other animals. Once you wakeup it is easy to understand and no explanation is necessary.
    Rj

    • Be that as it may, animals designed to just eat plants have a sideward motion of their teeth to grind the plants for digestion.
      We have front teeth and canine teeth designed for tearing and chewing a variety of foods, including meat.
      So, as far as what we are designed for, it is variety.

      • Human’s jaws are not locked like a true meat-eater. Meat-eaters are hinged and never move side to side. Human jaws make the same motion as a cow’s jaw. We do NOT have canine teeth. Take a look at a tiger’s mouth, do our “canine” teeth extend that much? If it wasn’t for a fork and knife we would never eat meat.

        • This is almost too silly to bother to reply.

          We are omnivores. Everything about our digestive system makes this clear (including the length of intestines)..

          As far as our jaws go, a number of people have said we could be called “the small-mouthed ape.” In the millennia since we mastered fire, cooking has allowed us to eat diverse foods, and thrive. Even today, the shrinkage of our jaws continues generation to generation; hence the spread of orthodontics.

          To argue about our jaw structure and refer to tigers and cows makes no sense. People who take ‘paleo” to that level would find equal evidence that we shouldn’t stand upright. Really folks, get a grip,

          • Ape babies can walk just after birth. Human’s can’t. How did we evolve to lose this trait?

            Human’s are like rats, we CAN eat just about anything. However, that doesn’t mean we should.

            Eating animal proteins results in acidic ash inside cells. This acid must be compensated. Unlike plant/starch their ash doesn’t need pH adjustment. So the wisdom is that the acid just naturally disappears… right? It doesn’t happen by magic.

            So Chris states many thing correct, but then he jumps to a magically conclusion that eating meat doesn’t cause acid conditions in our cells. Clearly wrong!

            • What??? New born apes do not rely on their hind legs to walk. New born infants’ brains have developed to ensure leg muscles etc are strong enough to support two legs, not two legs and two arms!!!

            • Rj I’m not sure why it’s so hard for people to understand its basic chemistry. The cell is a result of its environment. Well said. When people are cured of things such as cancer, people often look at the food and think if I simply add (this food) to my diet it will work for me also. When in reality if their eating habits are still an acid eating habits it does not change the environment of the cell. Pleomorphism suggests that cells will biologically morph or transform into different cells based on its environment. Dr Robert O. Young did an experiment where a healthy red blood cell in a alkaline environment was placed in a acid environment. The blood cell responded by becoming a bacteria. When changed back to a alkaline environment the cell transformed back to a healthy cell. We are a product of our environment in every aspect of life down to health. His goldfish analogy says it best. If you have a goldfish in a tank and never change the environment the goldfish dies. Your cell would be similar to the goldfish. If you don’t keep the environment healthy, they will adapt to survive, then they will die. A cancer cell is simply an oxygen starved acid cell. Chance the environment and a cancer cell will change also.

              • >>Dr Robert O. Young did an experiment where a healthy red blood cell in a alkaline environment was placed in a acid environment. The blood cell responded by becoming a bacteria. When changed back to a alkaline environment the cell transformed back to a healthy cell.

                I don’t mean to be offensive, but that’s possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on the internet.

                That’s about as likely as turning a dog into a potato. Bacteria and eukaryotic cells diverged from so long ago that the idea is preposterous.

            • We have a way of compensating for the acidity of meat(remember anyways when you fast/starve you are essentially eating your own meat) The glutamine in meat is converted to amonium in our kidneys, which is peed out and in the blood stream, bicarbonate(alkaline) is produced. Carbohydrates and sugars have no such luck.

            • Rj, You are saying that we should wake up, those of us who eat meat, but I have some interesting data for you to think about. All vegetable are acidic. In the entire world there are only about 2 vegetables that you never heard of that are alkaline. All the rest are acid. Of course they invoke an alkaline response from the body as the body adjust highly acid intake. But the body was designed to handle acid food, not alkaline. All vegetables are acid, all fruit is acid, all meat is acid. I am sorry that you guys don’t have the facts, but that is the facts. One more fact — there are no animals on earth that eat vegetable. Cows, goats sheep, etc all eat grass that is a cellulose and must be digested with by microscopic protozoa in four stomaches. So OK, maybe we were designed to eat vegetables and maybe not, but the fact is all vegetables are acidic. I don’t hold a lot for the FDA but they have a list of 200 vegetables, all that you have ever heard of, and the pH of them all is acidic. And don’t tell me they are alkaline forming, because that is simply in the teeth of all know chemistry. It is impossible.

              • Precisely. And with people make such drastic dietary changes to eat more vegetables and fruits… Dentists have seen a huge spike in wearing of the enamel on our teeth bc a plant based diet of veggies and fruits is highly acidic on our teeth.

                But it still has no direct impact on our blood pH.

              • The pH of a food before you eat it is less important than what it turns into once it’s inside your body.

                The mineral content of the food is what causes it to be either acid or base once in your body.

                Lemons for example are acidic outside the body but, Inside the body when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of body tissue (pH above 7 is alkaline).

                it’s the minerals or lack thereof that make foods acid or base once ingested.

                • The effect of eating acid foods is alkalizing, true, but in the sense that the body reacts to maintain the pH of the blood to a preferred weakly alkaline range around 7.4. Conversely, the body would compensate with acidifying mechanisms to dietary intake that raised the internal pH higher than 7.4 (more alkaline).

                • Dr. Robert Young is in prison now. Basically for lying. He lied most of his life that we know about. I’d say he is responsible for many deaths because of his alkaline theories.

              • so wrong…I raised pigs to butcher for myself. They ate vegies out of my garden, the wife brought food from the salad bar at the cafe home, pigs really like carrots and turnips. So you must live in the city and are not familiar with animals. My neighbor fed carrots to the beef he raised to bytcher.

            • APES must be eating something like 85% or more of their waking period just to survive and stay alive. If you have to eat every waking moment just to Not Die…..I’m afraid that diet won’t work for most humans….Veggies are good…..but you gotta have meat and animal fat if you want to keep cognitive functioning…We are designed genetically to eat animals. It is unhealthy in the long term to go against what our bodies are designed for, no matter what kind of mentality we use to make excuses for it. Humans are simply designed to be Omnivores.

        • The problem with the theory of cows is that no cows eat vegetables. In fact there are no vegetable eating animals. The all eat grass which is cellulose and which is digested by protozoa in 4 stomaches or other interesting digestion. So the animal argument for eating vegetables simple does not exist

          • Cows get acidosis for many reasons, like if they eat too much grain.
            “Acidosis is the most important nutritional problem that feedlots face daily and is a major challenge for dairies as well.”
            “Acidosis is not one disease, but rather a continuum of degrees of acidosis.”1 Some of the problems that have been associated with acidosis include:
            founder
            polioencephalomalacia (PEM)
            ruminitis
            hoof problems (laminitis, sole ulcers, sole abscess, etc.)
            poor immune function
            sudden death syndrome
            reduced feed intake
            reduced absorption
            liver abscesses
            grain bloat
            clostridial infections
            transient diarrhea (light colored with sweet/sour odor)
            high un-explained death loss (or cull rates)
            milk fat depression and poor milk production
            lameness
            moderate rumen distention, doughy content and weak contractions
            lung hemorrhages 1,2,3
            Acidosis is difficult to measure in cattle and subacute acidosis is an even more insidious problem and more difficult to diagnose. It may not be possible to eliminate all acidosis and still maintain economic production, but it must at least be managed and controlled.1

            http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/newsletter/pub__5621800.html

          • Cellulose is pretty much a defining structural component of all plant parts (commonly edible or not) whether they be leaf (grass, lettuce…) stalk or root.

            • For almost any plant, there is an animal that eats it. Beavers even eat tree bark.

              ‘Vegetable’ is a vague category. And it can include grass, and cactus, and pine trees. Think of the question, “Animal, vegetable, or mineral?”

              Or, as Wikipedia says, ‘The original meaning of the word vegetable, still used in biology, was to describe all types of plant, as in the terms “vegetable kingdom” and “vegetable matter”.’

        • In all aspects of the digestive system we resemble the wolf more closely than any other animal. By the way, cows horses goats and all animals that eat grass do not eat vegetables. In fact, man is the only animal that eats vegetables. Grass is cellulose and does not belong to the vegetable family and requires 4 stomaches and protozoa to digest.

          • “In all aspects of the digestive system we resemble the wolf more closely than any other animal.”

            That’s might be the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard. There is very little similarity, beginning with our mouths. Humans chew their food extensively, and digestion begins in the mouth. That’s what all our molars are for. Wolves have fangs, and, well, ‘wolf’ down their food.

            Our digestive system is closer to that of wolves that that of tigers, but it isn’t all that close. In experimental models, pigs are most often chosen.

            Despite what the raw foodists say, our digestive system has evolved to accommodate cooked food. This is obvious if you compare our intestinal system to that of a chimp.

            Wrangham even considered calling his book on cooking and human evolutionary response “the small-mouthed ape.” Our mouths are small compared to primate relatives, and continue to get smaller–hence to heed for so many orthodontists!

    • Rj, I don’t (of course) know all of where Chris gets his information (many sources I presume).

      However, in my opinion, your own view is ‘religious’ much like that of vegans. History and science both show that we are omnivores NOT herbivores.

      The question as to whether we can sustain excellent health as a vegetarian is still not a scientifically answered question (though science certainly does suggest that vegans will have a problem with that eventually).

      Studies do suggest that humans can survive quite well eating ONLY animals though there are, and have been, very few such societies. Of course, even though some cultures have done quite well eating only animals does not also mean that any of use that are not from those same cultures could do well eating the same way.

      Even some so called ‘vegetarian’ cultures in Africa were discovered to eat insects regularly. Insects qualify as ‘animal’ in that their nutritional profiles are similar and distinctly different from plant profiles.

    • You stated that the cell creates its own acidic environment. That’s backwards. The environment changes the cell. Look up pleomorphism. The easiest way I can explain this is very similar to a goldfish and a gallon fishbowl. The goldfish would be a representation of a cell and the water would be similar to the environment surrounding the cell. If you never change the water and the environment becomes acid and the goldfish dies. The environment becomes acidic and oxygen starved so the goldfish dies due to lack of oxygen. A cancer cell is simply a oxygen starved acinic cell. Ever hear of a person curing cancer, yet it does not work for everyone? They changed the state of their blood acid to a condition where the cell changed back by pleomorphism or the cancer cell died and passed through the body. Bottom line is you need to change the blood acid back to a state where cancer will not thrive. There are some amazing studies regarding vitamin C IV’s and their results within 2 months with cancer patients at advanced stages. Equally as important is getting the proper minerals in your body since the American diet it virtually void of them. I pray I spark your curiosity and your do your own research to understand the chemistry and help educate people that want the chance to live. Arthritis -acid in the joints ( Low blood pH). Cancer – oxygen starved acidic cell ( Low blood pH). Fibromyalgia – Low blood pH, mineral deficient. Psoriasis -low blood pH I could go on and on but the common denominator in virtually every problem people have is a low blood ph.
      God Bless

    • RJ, I am not a believer of vegetarianism. The reason why is because I’ve tried it and felt awful. Now that I am a diabetic, I realized that all the carbs and starches were making me feel like crap. Besides that, there are many deficiencies caused by vegan/vegetarian diets. But you go ahead and eat all your plants and starches if that suits you. Just don’t push your eating plan off on me.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11613993

      • Well, I’ve been a vegetarian since 1969 or so, and I’m fine.

        From your description, I’d guess you went about it wrong. Tons of sugars and starches is not good for the body. It is possible to be a vegetarian and eat tons of junk food. Avoiding meat doesn’t automatically furnish health.

        A lot of people nowadays confuse vegetarian and vegan. It’s hard to eat a long-term healthy vegan diet. (Not impossible, but challenging.)

        Eating a long-term healthy vegetarian diet is easy.

    • I live in a community where the majority of residents are American. I’m constantly amazed at their poor diets! They also eat far too much! Far too many sweet dishes and not enough vegetables and fresh fruit. They drink sweetened iced tea instead of water. Americans are reluctant to try anything different and tend to stick to their burgers, fries etc. They have never heard of a Mediterranean diet! If only they would eat less, quit sugar,salt and reduce fats, they wouldn’t have a problem! Exercise 1-2 hours a day and watch that blubber disappear!

    • Hi, glad you are better. Anyone who eats enough live food are better for it. I can’t eat like you. I can’t be vegan or vegetarian. I have seen people heal their cancer with baking soda. That’s a lot of sodium. It keeps algae from growing in my pool. I’m not sure what to think. I am sure of one thing my dad was right. He told me only take pills you absolutely need and not for too long. My meds were making me ill and causing bone loss. I am taking only half of my thyroid pill. I am hoping to reverse it and take none. It takes a lot of research, trial and error. Bottom line, it is simple basic stuff, diet and exercise. The right kind for you.

      • Hi, glad you are better. Anyone who eats enough live food are better for it. I can’t eat like you. I can’t be vegan or vegetarian. I do eat organic, non GMOs balanced diet, mostly one ingredient foods. Variety and moderation are important. a little fruit and mostly veggies. A few supplements. About the PH idea, I have seen people heal their cancer with baking soda. Hope they were using the low sodium kind. It keeps algae from growing in my pool. It helped me when i had Candida in my esophagus and intestines. I’m not sure what to think this article. Maybe it helps some things for some people. I am sure of one thing my dad was right. He told me only take pills you absolutely need and not for too long. My meds were making me ill and causing bone loss. I could not get out of bed. Now I am taking only half of my thyroid pill. I am hoping to reverse it and take none. It takes a lot of research, trial and error. Bottom line, it is simple basic stuff, diet and exercise. The right kind for you. Oh yes keep the stress down. Laughter helps.

    • I’ve been a mostly vegetarian for 37 years. Sometimes I’ll eat chicken, and more often fish. But zero red meat or pork for 37 years. At 56, I am literally NEVER sick. I can’t remember the last time I had even a slight fever. I’m with you.

    • I believe that Chris gave an excellent answer as to why your health would have improved. There are also people on the paleo diet that can make the same claims as yours.

    • Dear RJ,

      With all due respect, it’s a condescending statement to say that non-vegans need to “wake up!” All that kind of communication does is plant an idea in people’s heads that vegans are self-righteous assholes and this isn’t helping us change policies or heal chronically ill people – it’s creating a serious divide between meat eaters and non-meat eaters.

      Why not use that energy towards actually making the world better instead of harassing folks online who choose to nourish themselves with animals?

      I have an autoimmune condition, was sick for over a decade and struggled with bulimia. I was vegan for 4 years and raw foodist for 2 and that’s when my health really plummeted! And I was the kind of vegan that managed a raw vegan cafe, sprouted all my foods, fermented, and juiced religiously! I was not a lazy vegan! It got the the point where my blood sugar was so bad that I was barely sleeping or having a period, was underweight, had leaky gut, and was depressed as fuck. I felt like I was losing control of my life and it has take years to get my strength back. Finding paleo and Weston A. Price literally SAVED MY LIFE and I have all the lab tests over the years to prove it! Not to mention all the friends and family that had to go through that with me and are here to see me now.

      My point is, I don’t go around harrassing vegans for eating gluten and rice! It’s just unwise and soul-crippling to tell others what they should eat in order to wake up! There are millions of women in the world who suffer from various eating disorders and body image issues and there are studies upon studies upon studies that eating disorders are much high in vegans and vegetarians – for both biological reasons as well as psychological reasons (since there’s not really a separation outside of western theory)…

      Please check yourself, man. You’re not doing anyone a service with your self-righteousness.

    • Well said…like what you did…instead of listening to all the different theories out there and taking your MDs advice..I.e. More pills u liststned to yrself….essentially, at the end of the day, humans are FRUGIVORES.. No denying that. There are no diseases..just yr bodies feedback system that you are doing something wrong…get to the cause (not treat the symptom) and voila no more problem. Check out Dr Morse; john rose, u will like. Check out Iridology. Ron Logan..all the best

      • FRUGIVORES, kidding right? I suppose if you live near the equator and have zero access to protein sources….. What about the 90% of the population that doesn’t live in the narrow fruit belt? You have to consider genetics. If our ancestors are from say the Amazon, we might be designed for a greater amount of fruit in our diets, but when we try with our intellect to outsmart millions of years of genetics…..we lose.

  10. I had one of those moments of clarity (for example when you suddenly can go cold turkey and quit smoking) three weeks ago.
    I had studied long enough and educated myself in nutrition, so I had the knowledge without the will for a few years (one is little good without the other). Then weeks ago, I had one of those “reality checks” you hear about that give rise to a maniacal sense of absolute commitment.
    I cleaned out all of the bad food in the house..went to the grocery store and within hours i was on my new lifestyle diet: vegan, NO PROCESSED FOODS whatsoever, no meat (just salmon) no added salt and no more added sugar, breads, grains, empty carbohydrates or starches.. or crap food (as I call it).
    If it doesn’t grow or swim i don’t eat it (just things you buy in the produce department and frozen vegies, but i include steel-cut oatmeal)… very little fruit ..( after all sugar IS sugar, be it lactose, glucose, fructose…etc.). No milk, no breads.
    *****After three weeks I unexpectedly had dropped 11 pounds and all the arthritic symptoms in my joints, skin and eyes has disappeared. I didn’t miss sugar after the fourth day of wanting to KILL FOR IT.
    I feel SO much better…and I didn’t know that I wasn’t feeling alright. I thought that was how everyone feels after 50.
    I AM HAPPY ON THIS LIFESTYLE DIET and I WILL NOT GIVE IT UP. I just hung another few years on the end of my life (if I don’t step out in front of a bus) and I consider it my GIFT TO MYSELF. Forgot to mention 5 cups of STRONG double-bag green tea per day. If I can do it..anybody an do it..
    Just prepare yourself with education, a fantasy shopping list… and be ready when it hits you (the new commitment to healthy living). I don’t know what to do if the weight loss gets out of hand, but I will solve it plant-based protein without going acidic. ~Peace~

    • Maybe instead of this article trying to scientifically conclude why alkalinity does work on cancer. The question is really why does it work then? Because there are enough cancer free patients alive because of allalinity to establish this already. Kinda behind the times I guess. I dont know

      • I was thinking exactly the same thing. It does ‘work’! Maybe it is not so much the “alkaline” as it is the nutrition and immune system. But regardless as to “why” the diet works… the fact remains is that it certainly does. 🙂

    • Sounds like a good diet, although fish meat is still meat — clean fish are plenty healthy.

      Has nothing to do with the acidity of the food, though.

      I should also fix my diet along those lines.

  11. This is a first; I got better information from some of these amazing comments than I did from the article itself.

    Usually it’s a mind-numbing article, followed by a slew of astoundingly illiterate mental midgets posting comments that leave me slackjawed, mortified, hopeless for future, highly entertained, and–ultimately– overwhelmed with relief that I haven’t procreated. I’ve decided that I cherish my DNA far too much to subject it to what this world is becoming.

    Then this article comes along, which was actually not half-bad. Had its flaws of course, but also some good points. These comments, however, just floored me. Perhaps there is hope yet.

    Thank you especially to James, for your insights on GERD. As a pharmacist and someone who was diagnosed with gastritis and GERD at the ripe age of 11, I’m a bit dumbfounded as how/why I’m only just now hearing of betaine HCl.

    It never fails, the moment I think I have a decent knowledge base, I get reality-checked. Which is good, because there’s just no room for intellectual complacency in this field. Or in general.

    While this particular topic may not have direct application to what I do on a day-to-day basis, I very much enjoy educating myself on these matters.

    Then again, you never know when someone might ask about acid/alkaline diets, and it’s always better to be able to give an educated answer!.

    So, for that reason and many others, I really appreciate everyone’s contributions.

    • That’s so wierd. Because there sure are alot of documented cases where baking soda cured them of cancer. It can be argued for eternity scientifically but the fact is this. People had cancer. They did an alkaline regiment and the cancer is gone. That gets around all the theory pretty much when you actually speak with these people it has cured. Science can be argued all you want but just like einsteins theory of relativity disagrees completely with quantum physics. But like quantum physicists told einstien….shut up and calculate. Turns our me genius Einstein was wrong. Quantum physics is true. Its like this your Science can say whatever you want…..alot of people are cancer free taking alkaline regiments. That’s the real science people should pay attention to. And its easily understood by everyone. Was sick…took this med…..now not sick. Nit that complicated.

      • Did they ONLY add baking soda to their diet, or did they fix their diet completely?

        Aajonus Vonderplanitz claimed to have cured his cancer by eating rotten and raw food.

    • Your response is SO well written that YOU have restored MY faith in the use of the written word. Many people don’t even bother to use basic punctuation – and God forbid, should something like a semicolon be required – in their remittances, leaving me to exasperatedly read what I see in one long, illogical, poorly conceived, non-sentence!

  12. Minor clarification: My use of the word “above” in the two adjacent posts refers to the comment trail. (Which now appears to be “below” my comments.)

  13. There are also a number of different “alkalizing diets.”

    Chris started off by attacking the “acid ash” basis for alkaline/acid measurements. Well, sure, it’s nonsense.

    And the work of Robert O Young, and his “live blood analysis,” is plain quackery.

    On the other hand, the PRAL (potential renal acid load) of foods does correlate well with urine pH, and is an active area of heath research. It has been used for about 20 years now, and I find 887 papers referencing PRAL values. So dismissing acid-alkaline balance effects on health out of hand is arrogant (or perhaps just ignorant?).

    And, I might add, the PRAL contradicts the repeated assertions above that “all foods are broken down to acids.” Not by the time the breakdown products get to the kidneys.

    All this doesn’t mean that alkalizing “cures cancer”–despite the fact that sodium bicarbonate has been demonstrated in peer-reviewed papers to inhibit cancer growth by altering the pH of tumors to a more alkaline microenvironment.

    Yes, sodium bicarb is alkaline. So it is suggestive. An excess of alkaline breakdown products circulating in the bloodstream before they are excreted could indeed be drawn into the acidic tumor microenvironment and shift it to a higher pH. That is demonstrated for sodium bicarb.

    But there are suggestions from published research that some things with very acid PRALs have a similar effect to sodium bicarb–suggesting that it may not be as simple as PRAL (and may in fact have more to do with buffering than with pH).

    Furthermore, the inhibition of tumor growth and spread by sodium bicarb has been shown for prostate and breast cancers, but in the same papers it failed to inhibit the spread of melanoma. So it’s clearly not as simple as ‘alkalinity kills cancer.’

    I can’t understand why people are so dogmatic about this topic–especially people who claim to be taking a scientific approach.

    (PS Vernon Johnson was diagnosed with Stage IV prostate cancer including metastases to the bone as shown by scans. And he has published excerpts from pathology reports. Famously, he claimed to clear it all with baking soda. Did deeper, and it turns out there are many such anecdotes.

    I dismissed these reports as improbable…but given the experimental evidence in the peer-reviewed research, I am now more willing to admit that sodium bicarbonate may have played a major role in the remission of his cancer.

    Looking at things scientifically requires keeping an open mind.

    Or as Mark Twain put it, It ain’t the things you don’t know that can hurt you, but the things you know that ain’t so.)

    • According to WHO 15% of cancers are caused by virus. Outside the cell it is the immune system, which fight the virus. Inside it is either the virus kills the cell and produces more virons (lysis) or parts of it is incorporated into the cell and protects it against similar viruses. Any diet that strengthen the immune system help in prolonging a long remission. The “alkalizing diets” seems a very good option to me.

      • You can carry that a bit further. The cancer diet is essentially the anti-candida diet. No meats, no sugars, no starch, no grains. GREENS and vegetables and oils and spices. According to an article, you can look up;
        “4 Things you need to know about Candida and Cancer”.
        States that “EVERY Patient with cancer has candida overgrowth.”

        Which is caused by antibiotics killing our gut flora and our diets of processed poison feeding the bad and not feeding the good. God forbid we take any steroids! Which cases the candida to FLOURISH! Candida silently takes over the body… it is a pre-curser to cancer. I think it takes years for it to do this… but many people have cancer for years before they found out. I do believe the immune system is key! 🙂

  14. Okay, listen up. I don’t see how this whole comment thread was written without mentioning these seminal papers in “Cancer Research,” (the most cited and most prestigious peer-reviewed cancer journal in the world).

    These two papers include in vivo results, mind you.

    I’ll post the reference in case the links fail.

    1) Bicarbonate Increases Tumor pH and Inhibits Spontaneous Metastases. Cancer Research, Mar 15, 2009.

    Oral administration of sodium bicarbonate inhibited the growth and spread of implanted breast and prostate cancers in mice. ORAL bicarbonate. But I guess that’s impossible, according to everything that has been posted here, right?

    Bicarbonate Increases Tumor pH and Inhibits Spontaneous Metastases

    2) Acidity Generated by the Tumor Microenvironment Drives Local Invasion. Cancer Research, Mar 1, 2013.

    This included both in vitro and in vivo observations, with pH measured with microelectrodes, and pH altered with…sodium bicarbonate.

    Acidity Generated by the Tumor Microenvironment Drives Local Invasion

    Now, I fully expected to be bombarded with reiterations of everything written above. Everybody here seems intent on convincing others of their beliefs, rather than looking at the whole of the evidence. But those two are pretty definitive studies.

  15. I am curious about research into the micro biomes in and on our body’s. As more research is piling up about the the role microbes play in our bodies, I am interested in finding information about healthy bacteria versus unhealthy bacteria living inside of us and how the ph level in our bodies can determine which kind thrive. Also, can there be ever-so slight changes in the ph of our body that we cannot measure but do effect which bacteria thrives?

    • I think that impact of bacteria on health is still massively overlooked. All this alkaline diet talk is to prove that scientifically the diet doesn’t have any sense, but contemporary science is still far from being perfect. What is the most important here is that alkaline diet brings positive results and can cure from cancer. Period.

      We should look at these facts first and do not throw on them our insuficcient scientific data to discredit it. I think bacteria may play a massive role here. We all know the benefits of healthy gut flora, the question is what our gut flora prefers to eat? Surely not unhealthy food like sugar cake. We can see this simple proof when we look closer to our teeth.

      I also do not believe that we should eat only alkaline food. Any extreme approach is not beneficial. The key is to eat acid and alkaline foods in a proper ratio. Unfortunately promoted SAD diet is mostly acidic with only about 30% of alkaline veggies and fruit.

      • I’ve come to understand that when we consume too much acidic forming foods more ammonia is produced and in that process the body knows to keep a certain blood pH and will draw upon environment like bone and muscle mineral for homeostasis without us knowing this delicate balance is going on. And if we consume more plant matter then the bodies environment does not need to draw on minerals so much for blood homeostasis thus saving bone and leeching less mineral…pH of urine is just biproduct of ammonia and salts…Less ammonia equals more of a base headed urine which results from a diet less leeching and less acidic ammonia producing.

  16. Do acidic foods affect Interstitial cystitis, citrus foods are avoided as well as coffee, chocolate, etc., or is it a problem of high histamine and related foods causing irritation of the GU tract? Would like to hear from Chris on this issue.

  17. I think this was a good article. I have read a degree of the work done by Weston Price and feel he was on to something important. So if it is true that the Swiss, Masai and Inuit maintain health, or other cultures with different diets from the Western diet, what is it about our diet that destroys our health. Is it evolutionary? Does the body adapt over time to the “local diet” and has this importing foods not indigenous to our geography messed up our health. PS. I think process foods are a given.
    Karen

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