Should men follow an alkaline diet?

November 2, 2018 6:43 am Published by Leave your thoughts

 

This month, we’re taking a good look at men’s health. Today, we’re answering a question one of our customers recently asked us: should men follow an alkaline diet?

Let’s start by working out just what an alkaline diet is.

What’s an alkaline diet?

An alkaline diet is based on a theory: that levels of excess acid in the body, caused by poor diet, exacerbate various health conditions. By changing the way we eat, the theory runs, it’s possible to alter the pH balance of our bodies and our blood, alleviating these health conditions.

Supporters of the alkaline diet claim that it works well for those suffering from arthritis, diabetes, kidney and liver problems, digestive issues – and even cancer. So far, it’s mostly been popular with women (perhaps because it’s also been recommended for osteoporosis), but men are becoming increasingly interested too.

Those following this diet cut down on foods that are considered ‘acid-producing’ and boost their intake of foods that are ‘alkaline’. Foods in the ‘acidic’ category include meat, refined sugar, dairy products, wheat and many other grains, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods. What’s left in the alkaline category?! Basically, fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some selected whole grains.

What’s the problem?

There are some fairly high-profile supporters of the alkaline diet. There are also some pretty vocal opponents of it – and they’re mostly lined up on the scientific side. Opponents point out that while the diet may have originated in proper scientific theory – a bid to change the pH of urine, to prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections – it’s become bogged down in pseudoscience subsequently. You might be able to alter the pH of your urine – but not of the rest of your body. The pH balance of our blood and our bodies is not affected by what we eat.

And just to be crystal clear, Cancer Research UK finds no evidence that an alkaline diet prevents cancer (or indeed, that an ‘acidic’ diet causes cancer).

Is it still worth a try?

Lots of celebrities on alkaline diets look amazingly fit and supporters of the diet will point to great health benefits: they’re more energetic, less prone to colds and infections, they’ve lost weight and they sleep better.

They may have a point. Like many strict diets, simply focusing properly on what you eat is likely to see an improvement in your health. Cutting down on red meat, refined sugar, high-fat dairy, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods – and not basing your entire diet on wheat – are all moves well in line with respected, scientifically backed health advice. You’ll rarely find anyone prepared to argue against eating more fruit and vegetables, either.

But cutting out ‘acidic’ food groups altogether would be foolish, say health bodies. To do so would be to risk deficiencies in all kinds of vitamins and minerals, as well as a shortfall in vital protein.

What about men in particular?

It’s thought that men may have been less ready to take up this diet because of its emphasis on giving up both meat and dairy products, leading to a potentially large loss of protein. Men – particularly those who take part in strenuous exercise – need to ensure they obtain the right amount of protein from their diets. It’s therefore essential that men interested in this diet work out their exact dietary requirements and how they can obtain them, before simply eliminating elements. It’s clearly fine to cut down on the guaranteed nasties: alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and processed foods. But men should be particularly careful about getting rid of the vitamins and minerals found in dairy foods, meat and other whole grains altogether.

The conclusion?

Go into this with your eyes wide open – and read up about it widely first. If you decide to follow any form of an alkaline diet, make sure you do so in a balanced way, cutting down on foods accepted to be bad in excess, but stopping short of taking out major food groups.

Make sure the food you eat is of the highest, most nutritious quality. For top nutrition, you need wholefoods, in which you’re eating the whole of the food, replete with all its vitamins and minerals. Naturally Good Food has a huge range of wholefoods, encompassing grains and flakes, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, rice, pulses, oils and more. We specialise in organic products (but sell non-organic too), giving you these foods in their most natural, unadulterated forms. And if you’re avoiding dairy or gluten, then you need to check out our ‘free from’ section, with its range of high-quality, high-protein alternatives.

Alkaline diet’ foods

If you’re interested in foods from the ‘alkaline list’, you’ll be able to find many of them at Naturally Good Food. We’ve got, for instance:

Whatever you do, and whatever you eat, make sure you give your body just what it needs. At Naturally Good Food, we’re here to help with that.

Naturally Good Reads v2

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This post was written by Yzanne

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