Alkaline Diet: Pros and Cons

Also called the acid-alkaline diet or the alkaline ash diet, this eating plan is based on the consumption of alkaline-forming foods in place of acid-forming foods.

Proponents of the diet argue that this can improve health and extend lifespan, since eating acid-producing foods such as red meat gives rise to a pH imbalance that sets us up for poor health.

The idea is that a person can control the acidity or alkalinity of their body through the foods they consume. When food is metabolised to extract calories, the food is burnt, leaving an ash residue that may be acidic, alkaline or neutral. Advocates of the alkaline diet claim that this ash can affect how acidic the body is and that acidic ash increases susceptibility to disease. Alkaline ash, on the other hand, they believe is protective and that by “alkalizing” the diet and balancing the body’s pH, it is possible to improve health.

The food eaten includes vegetables, fruits, almonds, lentils, soy products, tofu and sprouted grains. Approximately 80% of foods should be alkalizing foods and 20% can be acid forming; a rule that is applied to every meal and drink.

The acidic alkaline diet food chart infographics with food icons on a ph scale and body with health benefits icons. Image Credit: elenabsl / Shutterstock
The acidic alkaline diet food chart infographics with food icons on a ph scale and body with health benefits icons. Image Credit: elenabsl / Shutterstock

Examples of acid-forming foods (pH0 to 7)are meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, sugary drinks, snacks, wheat products, coffee, mayonnaise, milk, alcohol and ketchup; examples of neutral foods (ph7) are natural fats, sugars and starches and examples of alkaline foods (pH 7 to 14) are vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts.

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of following this diet are described below.


  • The diet is heavy on fruit, vegetables and grains and cuts back on red meat, added sugar and processed and junk foods.
  • Some people find they have more energy, experience fewer gut problems and lose weight. However, this could be a result of cutting back on processed and junk foods rather than being linked to reduced acidity.
  • Unlike some other diets, the alkaline diet does not eliminate entire food groups. People can still consume acid-forming foods; they simply eat less of them.
  • The diet is not expensive to maintain.


  • The claims about how this diet works have not been supported by any reliable scientific evidence.
  • Acids such as DNA, fatty acids and amino acids are essential building blocks to life.
  • Proponents of this diet advise limiting meat, dairy and eggs, all of which are beneficial to health and contain important proteins and nutrients.
  • The human body strictly regulates its own pH, which is one of the main roles of the kidneys. Many experts therefore do not believe it can be altered by diet.


Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally first developed an interest in medical communications when she took on the role of Journal Development Editor for BioMed Central (BMC), after having graduated with a degree in biomedical science from Greenwich University.


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  1. Gonzalo De Armas Gonzalo De Armas Uruguay says:

    milk, eggs, and meat are not beneficial to health!!!

    • Katherine Gibson Katherine Gibson United States says:

      The way our meat, beef, chickens ect are raised and fed are the only reasons why the above mentioned foods may not be good for health these days. However, God created these animals for human consumption in their natural habitat and if they were CARED for the way He (God) intended them to be, the above mentioned foods would be just fine and good for our health. But nobody really speaks out about this and gets on to these dirty companies that raise our food to an unhealthy consumption. God laid out the clean and unclean animals we should abide by, but most don't and this is the reason why we are a sick, unhealthy fat society.

    • HKeen Shine HKeen Shine Tanzania says:

      Those food are not electrical. Our body is electrical can not assimilated to our body. If God prepared us to take those foods our teeth should looks like lion, dogs, vampires and all carnivorous species.
      Also our stomach acid should be strong as carnivorous species like crocodile or dogs. Our colon is 9 times longer with our heights while carnivorous are 3 time. God designed the same as herbivorous species looks our teeth looks as cows. Thus common sense.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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