The Alkaline Diet IS the Keto Diet of Choice
References: Pure Wow, Dr Axe, Book of Daniel, Saddleback Church, U of BC, Journal of Nutrition,
There has been a recent flurry of articles in the media about the alkaline diet with a few “expert dieticians” poo-pooing it and suggesting you should just follow the Mediterranean diet instead. What’s the confusion for? Let me straighten this out for your so that you get the gist of it.
First of all, the alkaline diet isn’t anything new. The Book of Daniel in the Bible talks about it with the first recorded RCT (Randomized, Placebo-Controlled) experiment in history. That was from 3,000 years ago. Daniel and his fellow observant Jews ate vegetables, (alkaline) and the members of Nebuchadnezzar’s court ate meat. Daniel’s crowd did better. Even got published in a reputable journal that is still read avidly (Bible). And as best I can tell, is still helping people lose weight.
What is the Daniel Diet? Or the Alkaline Diet? Vegetables. Vegetables are filled with potassium and magnesium salts which participate in making your urine pH positive, or greater than seven, which is neutral. Your blood doesn’t change its pH in any measurable fashion, but just that tiny amount enough to switch buffers. You have a complex system of buffers in your blood that helps balance your pH very precisely and exquisitely. You breathe every breath as part of that balance, so it is virtually impossible to measure the changes on a second by second basis in your blood. But you can see it in blood samples of folks eating an alkaline diet. Their red cells are coated with alkaline salts and flow separately from one another. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And your kidneys just pump out the acid or alkali as fast as they can. In meat/animal based America, everyone’s urinary pH is quite low, around 5.5 We have kidney stones, osteoporosis, vascular disease, cancer all as possible resulting outcomes. Very very few of us eat an alkaline diet. The guy who invented, Robert Young, got way ahead of the curve and ended up in prison for practicing medicine without a license. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t right, just not licensed.
Why is this so valuable? For most of mammalian/hominid history, we were vegans and our kidneys (which control your acid-base flow, and eliminate acid or base) were designed to rid you of alkaline salts, most notably potassium or magnesium. That’s because we ate massive amounts of alkaline foods. All hominids except humans eat mostly raw plants. Gorillas eat 15 pounds of leaves a day. Orangutans, 20 pounds of green leaves (except in fruit season). Their urine is alkaline. Your kidneys can still excrete massive amounts of potassium and sodium. But not acid. With acid, we struggle a little. Humans living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle today (Hazda in Africa) still eat mostly alkaline foods. They know some 250 edible plants in the forest, which they eat. But our brains require more calories to support their energy needs, and animals became more important. About 5 million years ago, we started adding animal to our diet. We like animal. We thrived with more of it.
But animal-based foods have more sulfur salts in them, which are acid. The more animal we eat, the more acid we become. That includes cheese, milk, eggs, fish, and yes, meat. Cheese is the most acid of all because it also has lots of salt added to it. And grains are also acidic, altho a little less so.
All that acid has to flow through you, in your blood. Your blood pH can’t change and doesn’t. But your buffers do. The balance of buffers is read with exquisite sensitivity by your bone cells and every membrane in your body. You start giving up calcium carbonate to balance the buffers, which is the slippery slope of beginning osteoporosis.
What about fat? Fat is neutral. Neither acid or base. Just pH neutral. It has some baggage though. Saturated fat, when from animals, comes with animal protein, which is acidic. Unsaturated fat, from seeds, is high in omega six fats which start inflammation.
And here is the kicker. Remember, gorillas digest green leaves into short chain fatty acids. So do we. A diet rich in green vegetables is a high-fat diet. Then add olive oil and you are even better off. A green salad diet smothered with olive oil is an alkaline, healthy, Daniel diet. Get that? A vegetable-based diet is a keto diet, provided you avoid the roots and the grains. Eating spinach is actually getting fat. Keto redux. You lose weight. You have less cancer. You have less heart disease. You have fewer autoimmune diseases. Your body can heal.
That leaves you with an alkaline diet rich in leafy, green vegetables with lots of safe fats as the diet of choice. The alkaline diet is the purest form of the keto diet. The only question is whether you can be so pure. Ah, there is the rub!
www.What Will Work for me. I’m shifting my animal proportions to more vegetable. Instead of two eggs for breakfast, one egg in spinach. For lunch on the plane, I took an avocado, cut in half at home. Made a great lunch. And I’m fascinated by the Fast Mimicking diet. It’s vegan with nut oils. It’s a keto diet too. In time, we will let Robert Young out of prison and say sorry. (There’s a lot of Robert Young’s work that is pure quackery, but the alkaline part is not.)
- A diet of mostly vegetables, olive oil and a tiny bit of fish is currently called? Answer: The Mediterranean Diet (whatever that is, as all the countries around the Mediterranean have different cuisines, except for their abundant use of olive oil and vegetables)
- To be on an alkaline diet, you have to do what? Answer: Eat enough vegetables and little enough meat and cheese to shift your urinary pH to something greater than 7. Very hard to do. Almost no meat.
- How does your body balance acid flowing through the system to be excreted by your kidneys? Answer: by a system of buffers, by giving up a tiny bit of Calcium Carbonate from your bones, and by breathing a little more deeply.
- The first advocate for the alkaline diet has been elevated to hero status in the annals of medicine. T or F Answer: Are you kidding, he is in prison for reaching way beyond the core truth of his alkaline diet idea.
- What is the most recent evidence-based diet, beyond the Mediterranean Diet, that is taking the literature by storm? Answer: The Fast Mimicking Diet that adds fasting to the mix