4 Half-Truths about the Acid-Base Balance and the Alkaline Diet

4 Half-Truths about the Acid-Base Balance and the Alkaline Diet

The other day, during an unplanned visit in a raw food and detox smoothies store…

Alkaline water to restore body pH

What a wonderful premise for a comic about Evil Acid and the Mighty Alkaline Diet!

According to some people, our bodies are full of acid and constantly fight to preserve the acid-base balance, which wear us out and make us sick. It is said to cause illness, such as osteoporosis, eczema and even cancer.

Acid-base balance and blood pH do matter a great deal in medicine. There is also available research on how diet can impact those.

Unfortunately, we only hear half-truths on the matter. As an example, you can read online about a so-called “alkaline diet”, made out mostly of fruits and vegetables, which allegedly prevents multiple illnesses. Websites and books supporting that diet are full of claims like:

  • “Meat increases the levels of acid in the body!”
  • “Fruits and vegetables are alkalizing!”
  • “Acid excess is unhealthy! ”
  • “Cancer cells cannot grow in an alkaline body! ”

Those statements are more or less true… but more often than not, they’re part of a discourse which has no scientific ground, spread by people who don’t seem to understand how the human body works.

hippie meme acid-base balance

Let’s sort this out! This comic strip examines 4 half-truths regarding the acid-base balance… and adds the missing pieces of information that make up the whole picture.

Translated by Patricia Rainville; proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.


4 Half-Truths about the Acid-Base Balance and the Alkaline Diet (header)

Some foods are acidic


Some foods are acidifying or alkalinizing

Too much body acid is unhealthy


The body fights to maintain the acid-base balance


Boring conclusion


Better conclusion




3 responses to “4 Half-Truths about the Acid-Base Balance and the Alkaline Diet

  1. References:

    Basic physiology of acid-base balance and description of different systems of adjustment of body pH. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/acid-base-regulation-and-disorders/acid-base-regulation

    This meta-analysis did not reveal any association between consumption of acidifying foods and bone loss. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21529374

    A high-protein diet is associated with better bone health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20717017

    Seniors who consume more protein have better bone health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11842948

    “Your Urine is Not a Window to Your Body pH”, a brilliant article by Scott Gavura. https://sciencebasedpharmacy.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/your-urine-is-not-a-window-to-your-body-ph-balancing-a-failed-hypothesis/

    Another excellent article that describes well the mass of pseudoscience surrounding the alkaline diet. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/09/15/your-friday-dose-of-woo-acid-base-or-woo-1/

    Alkaline Water, according to a chemist. http://www.chem1.com/CQ/ionbunk.html

    Consumption of certain types of protein is monitored in astronauts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206848/

    Here is a nice paper to cite if you wanna go for pseudoscience. Make sure you do not read it before coming to hasty conclusions. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/regulation-of-bone-cell-function-by-acidbase-balance/1459469356D2351B805C716FD140C92C


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