There is no short of myths on nutrition that are making its rounds around the internet. The centre of attraction of the new rumour is to ‘alkalize our bodies’ in order to achieve optimal health. Excess acidity, it seems is the root cause of many of the diseases that we come face-to-face, be it from cancer to acne. To combat and curb it, we need to micromanage the alkaline intake and lessen the acid-forming plant-based foods that reach our gut.
Is it fact or simply an internet tale of make belief? By the end of this we will advise you to only stick to a plain and simple plant-based diet. Read on…
Its simple high school chemistry- acidity and alkalinity is measured on the pH scale that runs from 0-14, with the scale from 0-6 indicating very acidic and acidic respectively, and 8-14 indicating basic and very basic respectively. The pH 7 is considered as neutral, and it neither acidic nor basic. The pH scale is logarithmic meaning that the pH level of 3 is 10 times more acidic than pH of 4.
The myth of having to alkalize the body is a common misconception of the basic understanding of the human physiology. The question you need to ask yourself is, which part of your body should you ‘alkalinize’?
The gut is perfect at a pH of 2, and that increases to 4-5 after a meal. If the stomach were to become less acidic then we would end up absorbing less iron from the food. However, this is not the case with your intestines, as the acidity of the large and small intestine is carefully maintained at pH 7.4 for various digestive secretions and the benefit of the gut microbes that produce lactic acid, short chain fatty acids and other chemicals from the foods that you consume. The acidic environment prevents pathogens from growing.
To be plain and simple, it is a bad idea to ‘alkalinize’ your body!
Maintaining the right pH level is important for your survival and if it falls below a narrow range of pH then the body deploys numerous buffering mechanisms to restore the balance. Anything that ends up overwhelming the buffering mechanism can end up killing you; yes, death is a surety.
The take home message is that each compartment of the human body operates in a narrow range of pH that is required for its proper functioning. You can’t simply choose to turn your body ‘alkaline’ and neither should you be hell-bent on trying to. The result would be long-lasting damage that even the best medical professionals won’t be able to reverse.