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Myth or Fact? Balancing Acidic and Alkaline Foods for Your Stomach

The idea that we need to balance our inner pH with a special diet is a trendy one, but is there any evidence behind it?

The pH level (the balance of acid and alkaline) in your body is important, and can affect multiple body functions, but balancing pH is more complicated than simply changing your diet. It is true that a majority of the average American’s diet is loaded with acidic foods, but food isn’t the only factor that affects your inner pH.

“It is an interesting concept [balancing pH by adjusting the amount of acidic food you eat], but there is little basis or medically proven benefit of doing so,” says Cooper Clinic Director of Gastroenterology Abram Eisenstein, MD.

The human body is very sensitive to changes in pH and balance between acid and alkaline materials in our blood is very important part of our blood, but the body was developed with a number of mechanisms to guard against over acidity or over alkalinity in the blood. “Without these fundamental and life-protecting mechanisms, you can become very ill with chronic acidosis, but in the big scheme of things, what you put in your mouth has very little to do with the acid/alkaline balance in your body,” explains Dr. Eisenstein.

Serious diseases, such as uncontrolled diabetes and chronic kidney disease can have a far greater effect on your body’s pH levels than the food you eat. “While the recommendations that you can control pH by balancing acidic and alkaline foods in your diet come from well-meaning people, this idea is misguided,” says Dr. Eisenstein. “One of the beauties of our bodies is that our pH is regulated minute-by-minute. There is no long term effect on your blood from eating acidic foods.”

As far as the store bought urine tests claiming to check for a pH imbalance, Dr. Eisenstein doesn’t recommend giving them much thought either. “Measuring pH in the urine is not the way to find out if your pH is balanced or not because your kidneys are designed to balance the pH,” he says. “If you have too much acid in your blood, you’ll put out acid urine, if you have too much alkaline in your blood, you’ll put out alkaline urine.”

The bottom line: acidosis and alkalosis are serious medical problems, but unless you have other signs of serious poor health, worrying about your inner pH levels is unnecessary.

If you are concerned about your pH balance, schedule an appointment with your physician for an examination. If it is deemed necessary, your physician will order a blood pH test, which is the only correct way to check for a pH imbalance.

For more Prevention Plus articles, click here.

Healthy Weight Loss with a Dietitian

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Weight LossIf weight loss is on your to-do list and you are having a hard time getting started or keeping it going, consider how a registered dietitian can help you. Losing weight is accomplished most successfully for the long term when treating it as a lifestyle, not a diet.

A registered dietitian is the nutrition expert and can help you:

  1. Design a weight loss plan, including what to eat based on your personal preferences.
  2. Explain the philosophy of mindful eating and how you can develop better skills around your eating choices.
  3. Find innovative ways to incorporate healthy eating daily, both during the week and on the weekends.
  4. Provide quick, easy and creative meal and snack ideas for you to enjoy.
  5. Work with you to manage social and holiday events that can make losing weight more challenging, but doable!!
  6. Devise strategies for eating out and travel so you can take your healthy eating habits with you wherever you go.
  7. Provide you with accountability and support and celebrate with you all of your little and big successes along the way.

Cooper Clinic registered dietitians want to work with you on your journey.  We want you to succeed and you will, with a strong commitment and a little bit of knowledge, skill and patience.

It is never too late to hop on the train to lose weight. Let us travel together. There may be a few bumps on the road and that is okay, just so long as you commit to a healthy lifestyle, you will become the healthier person you decide to be.

Our team of Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitians are here to help. If you live in the DFW area, schedule an appointment today!