Acidic vs. Alkaline foods and weight loss

Alkaline or Acidic Foods and Weight Loss

Key Points

  •        Diet-induced acidosis is different from clinical metabolic acidosis.
  •        The typical Western diet results in diet-induced acidosis (heavy on animal products).
  •        Emerging research suggests that reducing diet-induced acidosis may offer benefits for weight loss and other health issues.
  •        Available research suggests diet-induced acidosis is clinically relevant and can be corrected with dietary changes.
  •        The RealDose team continues to monitor this exciting area of research.

 
Background

        Diet-induced acidosis is different from clinical metabolic acidosis.

  • The impact of diet-induced acidosis on health and wellness continues to be an active area of research. Diet-induced acidosis, also known as “low-grade” or “chronic metabolic acidosis” is different from clinical metabolic acidosis. Clinical metabolic acidosis results in a blood pH below normal (e.g., below pH 7.35) that, when severe enough, can lead to shock or death.
  • By contrast, diet-induced acidosis results in a slight decrease the blood pH to the lower, more acidic end of the normal range (pH 7.36-7.38) rather than the higher, more alkaline (pH 7.42-7.44) end of the normal range. This shift occurs well within the tightly controlled pH range of blood.[1] The health consequences of clinical metabolic acidosis are well defined; however, the impact of a prolonged state of low-grade, diet-induced acidosis is yet to be well understood.

        The typical Western diet results in diet-induced acidosis.

  • The balance between acid- and base-forming foods determines whether a diet is a net-acid diet or a net-alkaline diet. The typical Western diet is a net-acid diet, primarily because it’s relatively high in animal protein and salt (net-acid foods) and relatively low in fruits and vegetables (net-alkaline foods). A net-acid diet is also reported to be more common among older adults, possibly due to a higher intake of acid-producing foods and/or the age-related decline in kidney function.[2]

        Emerging research suggests that reducing diet-induced acidosis may offer benefits for weight loss and other health issues.

  • The effect of chronic, low-grade, diet-induced acidosis continues to be the subject of ongoing research. Some research suggests that reducing the net-acid load of the diet — primarily by increasing fruit and vegetable intake and reducing salt intake — may help to improve bone health, preserve muscle mass, reduce chronic back pain; and improve the action of some cancer drugs that work better in a more alkaline medium.[3] In the elderly, a net-acid diet is reported to be a potential additional risk factor for bone fracture.[4]
  • Others report that a net-acid diet increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol that, in turn, promotes insulin resistance and high blood insulin. By contrast, a net-alkaline diet decreases cortisol production. A net-acid diet is also associated with lower levels of adiponectin (a fat cell hormone that improves the function of insulin) and leptin (a fat cell hormone that promotes satiety).[5] Thus, a net-acid diet may potentially play a role in weight loss, in part, through its effect on these hormones.

        Available research suggests diet-induced acidosis is clinically relevant and can be corrected with dietary changes.

  • Some researchers believe that the available research makes a compelling case that low-grade, diet-induced acidosis over a long period of time is clinically relevant and may largely be prevented by dietary changes, including eating more fruits and vegetables and decreasing salt intake.[6]

        The RealDose team continues to monitor this exciting area of research.

  • More research is needed to confirm these preliminary findings. RealDose team continues to monitor this exciting area of research and will provide updates as new information becomes available.

References

  • [1]. Robey IF. Examining the relationship between diet-induced acidosis and cancer. Nutr Metab. 2012 1;9(1):72. PMID: 22853725.
  • [2]. Alam I, Alam I, Paracha PI, Pawelec G. Higher estimates of daily dietary net endogenous acid production (NEAP) in the elderly as compared to the young in a healthy, free-living elderly population of Pakistan. Clin Interv Aging. 2012;7:565-573. PMID: 23271903.
  • [3]. Schwalfenberg GK. The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health? J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:727630. Review. PMID: 22013455
  • [4]. Wynn E, Krieg MA, Lanham-New SA, Burckhardt P. Postgraduate symposium: positive influence of nutritional alkalinity on bone health. Proc Nutr Soc. 2010;69(1):166-173. PMID: 19954569.
  • [5]. Robey IF. Examining the relationship between diet-induced acidosis and cancer. Nutr Metab. 2012 1;9(1):72. PMID: 22853725.
  • [6]. Pizzorno J, Frassetto LA, Katzinger J. Diet-induced acidosis: is it real and clinically relevant? Br J Nutr. 2010;103(8):1185-1194. PMID: 20003625.

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