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Remember back in your high school chemistry class when your teacher talked about how pH is a measure of the activity of the solvated hydrogen ion p[H] which measures the hydrogen ion concentration in a given substance? I don't either, I just stole that from Wikipedia. Most of us do, however, remember the term pH and know that it refers to how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance is. Although Wrigley's Winterfresh Gum so nicely reminded us that our temperature is "A blistering 98.6 degrees inside your mouth" no marketing campaign has successfully socialized the concept that the human body has a hefty pH requirement in order to keep itself alive. Well I'm here to spill the beans. When your pH is too acidic it will generally cause drastic changes to your body which, unfortunately, we see quite often in today's world. An acidic pH leads to weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatigue, acne, bone decay, vision decay, diarrhea, and in extreme cases coma or death. 

Let's start by taking a look at some background as to why this is so important. We all know how it feels when you get the flu and your body temperature climbs up in the 100+ degree Fahrenheit range, but what is it about that which causes you to feel so awful? Your body is like a giant automated laboratory doing thousands of chemical reactions all the time and temperature is a key factor in the speed that a reaction takes place. Unfortunately, not all chemical reactions are affected in the same way by a temperature increase. So when your temperature raises by 2 degrees, some of the chemical processes in your body take place 1% faster, and others take place 50% faster. You can imagine the havoc that this causes and this is why your body has so many mechanisms to regulate your temperature. 

As it turns out, your pH balance is similarly important and analogous to your body temperature. If you poured bleach, or battery acid in your veins in even the tiniest of concentrations, it wouldn't be long before you were in a coma. Even a .2 deviation from 7.36 pH in your bloodstream will put you in the hospital. As you can see in the figure above, other parts of your body have appropriate pH values which are different from your blood. For an in-depth explanation of how digestion works, follow this Link, but if you're reasonably knowledgeable and don't have time to read that, allow me to do my best to summarize one major way that acid affects the body:

  • How Acid Makes You Fat and Raises Your Cholesterol: When you eat acidic foods they are broken down in your saliva, then stomach, then small intestine like any other food. Depending on the type of food (Fat, Protein, Carbohydrate) when the partially digested food is pushed into your small intestine, it will either be greeted by enzymes from your pancreas, small intestine, liver or some combination of each. These enzymes, as well as saliva and stomach acids are manufactured in your body by using all of the essential minerals we know to be necessary in a healthy body, such as all of the B Vitamins, Vitamins C, A, D, E, and K in conjunction with minerals such as calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and others. In general, this process is very effective, and when acidic food is eaten in smaller amounts it doesn't cause a problem, but when a person eats pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner they can create an environment inside their body where they are vitamin/mineral deficient because the body has used all of its resources digesting food. The human body is designed not to allow it's blood stream to become too acidic (this is regulated by hormones released by the cells of your mucosa in your stomach and small intestine). The good news is this won't kill you yet because your body has a backup plan. Fats and Cholesterol are relatively inert (don't react with chemicals) and particularly resistant to acid. So in the event that your body does not have enough resources to neutralize the acid in your food, it will proceed to prepare your veins and arteries for the upcoming acid by coating them with cholesterol. In addition, it will increase your fat stores as a buffer to the acid. This is good news for the guy who wants to stay alive, but not so great for your figure.
 
So why are alkaline foods important to losing weight and lowering cholesterol? Can't we just reduce calories and take the yolks out of our eggs? Many failed Atkins Dieters serve as proof that you do, in fact need vegetables in your diet (notice I didn't say fruit, I said vegetables). You will notice highly accelerated weight loss when you begin replenishing your alkaline reserves (vitamins/minerals) and eliminate acidic foods from your diet, as well as an almost immediate reduction in cholesterol. 

So, I'm Sold. How do I get Alkaline?
I hate to do this to the 10 of you that will read this first blog post before I type up my second blog post, but that is the topic of my next blog post, so stay in touch!


 

 


Comments

silva
10/09/2012 8:44am

Great post! I switched to a diet that consisted of veggies and fruits for two weeks then i had a moment of weakness and ended up going back to my old unhealthy diet and i felt it right away! I started having stomach problems again, a lost of energy and the acne that cleared up came back. Looking forward to the next post!

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Jordan
10/10/2012 7:46am

In reading your article I noticed it talks a lot about losing weight, but what about general health especially that of an athlete? Does this type of diet help promote muscle growth? Recovery? Also on this type of diet what amount/percentage of protein would an average person be taking in?

Have you personally tired this diet? What results have you experienced?

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Hayden Watkins
10/10/2012 10:31am

Good questions Jordan, and funny that you asked! My next post was actually going to be about exercise and sports on a plant based diet. I should have it ready later today or possibly tomorrow. Regarding my personal experiences, I will do my best to include them in future posts a bit more, but I am trying to generate a bit more google traffic since the blog is new, and I figured informational posts were more effective at that than anecdotal ones. To give a bit of a synopsis though, I definitely have lived by this diet for over a year now, and I have lost about 40 lbs, seen massive increases in energy (no more sugar roller coaster), cleared my acne, seen large muscle gains in the gym, and had absolutely no health complications (not even the flu). The only time I ever find myself feeling bad or having any minor health issues (like acne) is when I deviate from the diet significantly. This is not to say that I have not experimented a bit with other diets for short periods, but I always end up back at this one because it's the only one I've found that doesn't come with any negatives. I am generally very objective and open to suggestions, and I will be quick to rescind a statement if I find out that something I said was wrong. I hope that answers your questions, and stay tuned for my next post!

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