Alkaline Diet: What to Know Before Trying It
Potential Risks and Benefits of the Alkaline Diet
Because there is no evidence that diet can significantly change blood pH, a highly irregular blood pH is a sign of a larger problem -- perhaps kidney failure -- not a dietary issue.
People with kidney disease or medical issues that require monitoring by a doctor, such as severe diabetes, should not attempt this diet without medical supervision.
"If someone's blood sugar is not being monitored properly -- especially if they're on insulin if they're type 1 or they're a severe type 2 diabetic -- you're potentially running the risk of your blood sugar dropping too low after a meal if you don't know what you're doing," Nolan says.
It all comes down to balance, Asplin says. The alkaline diet could potentially over-restrict protein and calcium.
"Vegetarians can be completely healthy in their diets as long as they make sure to get adequate supplies of essential components to a diet. But it is also true that many Americans over-consume protein and get much more than they actually need," Asplin says.
The Red Flags of Diet Fraud
Several web sites that appear at the top of "alkaline diet" Internet search results ask users to subscribe with their email address or buy diet products from the site. These are red flags that the promoter of the diet may only be interested in selling something, experts say.
Be wary of diet web sites that require a monthly fee for recipes or information. There are numerous complaints online that these subscriptions are easy to start but virtually impossible to stop.
William Mundell, MD, vice chair of the department of general internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., also advises people to beware of any diets that:
- Want you to buy only their product. You should be able to get the foods for any healthy diet on your own at the supermarket.
- Focus on a narrow spectrum of foods, whether it's to eliminate all fat, all carbohydrates, or all proteins, or just eat grapefruit.
- Claim that science has kept something a secret or that a single person has discovered something that nobody else knows about.