Is the Alkaline Diet the Real Deal?

Shape Magazine - Elle Macpherson has said she checks her urine's pH balance with a tester she keeps in her purse, and Kelly Ripa recently gushed about the alkaline diet cleanse that "changed (her) life." But what is an "alkaline diet," and should you be on one?

While it's true that the modern, meat-heavy American diet contains unhealthy foods with a high "acid load," that doesn't have much of an impact on your body's pH levels, adds Allison Childress, R.D., a nutrition sciences instructor at Texas Tech University.

"All food is acidic in the stomach and alkaline in the intestine," Childress explains. And while your urine's pH levels can vary, Childress says it's not clear how much your diet has to do with that.

Even if what you eat does change your urine's acid levels, "your diet does not affect your blood pH at all," Childress says. Both Dubost and national health authorities agree with her. "Altering the cell environment of the human body to create a less-acidic, less-cancer-friendly environment is virtually impossible," according to resources from the American Institute for Cancer Research. Research on avoiding dietary acid for healthier bones has also failed to turn up proof of pH-related benefits.

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