The health benefits of alkaline foods

Celebrities like Victoria Beckham are fans of the alkaline diet, but how does it actually work and is it effective for weight loss? An expert weighs in!

Victoria Beckham

Does Posh stay skinny by controlling her pH levels? The super-svelte former Spice Girl has tweeted about cookbook Honestly Healthy before and reportedly sticks to an alkaline diet. But what’s the science behind it and what foods can and can’t you eat it if you follow the plan?

Raw lentils and vegetables

Foods encouraged on the alkaline diet include fruits and vegetables,
soybeans and tofu, some kinds of nuts, seeds and legumes.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It, and New York-based nutrition expert, says despite the popularity of alkaline diets, the jury is still out on whether they actually work. “All the cards aren’t counted yet as to whether this plan doesn’t hurt more than harm,” she explains. “The theory of the diet is based upon how certain help you maintain a balanced pH level in your blood. But actually, the foods you eat don’t have as much of an impact on your pH level as you would suspect. The body tries to naturally maintain that balance.”

Foods encouraged on the alkaline diet include fruits and vegetables, soybeans and tofu, some kinds of nuts, seeds and legumes, according to Taub-Dix. “Foods to avoid are those that are more acid-producing, like dairy, eggs, meat, certain grains and processed foods, including convenience foods and those that come in cans and packages,” she says. And sorry, caffeine addicts and cocktail lovers: Coffee and alcohol are also discouraged on this eating plan.

Clearly, it’s a pretty restrictive regimen, but will it get you into your skinny jeans? Possibly, but don’t count on it permanently. “Any diet that cuts out whole groups of foods is going to help you lose weight, and if temporary success is what you’re looking for, then this is another fad you may want to try,” Taub-Dix says. “But diets like this rarely, if ever, produce a weight loss that you don’t [regain] soon after you ditch the unrealistic regimen.”

If you’re not ready to take the plunge but want to increase your alkaline intake, consider an alkaline beverage, such as AquaHydrate water. While most bottled water has a pH of 7, this brand has a pH of 9+, thanks to added electrolytes. “Drinking water is important (especially with a high-fiber diet). Alkaline water is recommended, as well as certain herbal teas,” Taub-Dix recommends.

More on diet and eating

5 Snacks that are surprisingly high in calories
21 Homemade snacks under 100 calories
Is low-carb better than low-calorie dieting?

Photo credit: Patrick Hoffmann/


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