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Can You Change Your Body PH? The Alkaline Diet Scam

I recently received the following question from a reader:

Fred,

A few years back my mom was following pretty much Dr Robert Young alkalarian diet – with NO fruit at all, where he considers fruits – high sugar content ones specially – to be acidic, as a perfect and only greatest discovery diet ever.

I would like you to say something about this ‘insanity’ of not eating any fruits. What do you think about high content sugar fruits to be acidic to the body?

To be more specific, I have been eating much more fruits than greens nowadays, and my family is pretty much concerned about my eating choices, so I want to be able to show them a consistent answer about this choice and why it has nothing to do with Dr Young’s Alkalarian diet.

Hope to hearing from you soon.

ANSWER BY FREDERIC:

I’m familiar with Dr. Young’s approach, and as I’ve always said, every diet has something to offer usually because of the bad things they *remove* rather than what they add in. The Alkalarian diet by Dr. Young does a good job at removing some of the most unhealthy foods most people eat, but is completely misguided when it comes to its recommendation on avoiding fruit.

First of all, Dr. Young is wrong in implying that what you eat or drink has any effect on your body’s PH. It’s actually pretty embarrassing that he would even say something like that, given that he pretends to be a scientist.

Your body and your blood maintain a stable PH that *never changes significantly* no matter what you eat or drink! Therefore you cannot make your body “acidic” or “alkaline” by eating a certain food or avoiding certain foods. In fact, if your blood’s PH changed significantly it would mean *very bad news* for your health, it would mean your body did not have enough mineral reserves to buffer the change and bring yourself back to neutral.

The body always wants to be at homeostasis, if it changed constantly one way or the other you would likely not be alive, the body is very intelligent and has evolved in a way that it can handle almost anything you drink or eat and yet remain at the same PH.

That being said, the foods you eat can become acidic or alkaline *after they are digested.* This means that certain foods, after they are digested, will produce acidity in the digestive tract, and others will produce alkaline base materials. But remember that technically speaking, the digestive system is *outside* the human body! F

rom your mouth to your colon is a complete system that is not actually part of the rest of your body, nothing goes directly into your blood without being processed, and filtered. Picture a date and its stone pit, the stone being the digestive track and the date itself being the body. One is inside and one is outside.

Some people test the PH of their urine and think it means anything, but it doesn’t since urine, again, is outside of the body and bloodstream. The only way to test the PH of your body would be to test the blood.

Your digestive system and organs only use what it needs and not everything you eat or drink “hits” your bloodstream. You cannot make your blood acidic or alkaline, it always stays the same PH. The body uses what it needs from the digestive tract and discards what it doesn’t through waste products and those never “enter” the body or affect your PH.

Whether a food produces an alkaline or acidic reaction after digestion is measured by a chart known in medical science as the “Renal Acid Load Chart.”

If you study this chart, you’ll discover that *all* fruits and *all* vegetables are alkaline-forming. On the other hand, animal products are quite acid-forming while grains and beans are slightly acid forming.

The acidity created from the digestion of certain “acid-forming foods” must be buffered by the alkaline mineral reserves of the body. That’s why it’s important to eat diet composed mainly of alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables.

What this means to you, is that you need to eat more fruits and vegetables to have more alkaline mineral reserves generally in your bones. If you eat only meat and grains, your body will take alkaline minerals from your bones to buffer any extra acid produced in digestion and that can lead to problems like osteoporosis where you have weak or brittle bones from a lack of certain minerals like calcium which is alkaline.

Please note that I said it’s important to eat “fruits and vegetables” and not just “vegetables.”

Also keep in mind that the body and the blood themselves are not getting more alkaline or acidic by the foods you eat. Anyone who says the contrary is just making stuff up, and claiming that fruits are acid-forming because of their fruit “acids” and somehow harm the body is even more ludicrous.

Ask any medical practitioner or even med student and they will tell you that it’s impossible and that the blood or body cannot change PH based on what you eat. It just doesn’t work that way.

This also goes for alkaline or acidic water, water is buffered by the body just like food, so don’t be duped into thinking the PH of your drinking water means anything, especially when you’re eating a high mineral diet of fruits and vegetables. Your body is getting more than enough to maintain it’s reserves to buffer any slight change from what is produced by digestion.

Eat your fruits, eat your vegetables, and you’ll be healthy!

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.


Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.