Debunking the Alkaline Diet Myth

The benefit of an “alkaline diet” is an example of a mis-truth which repeated enough becomes a truth. For years I believed myself that being “toxic” and unhealthy was related to being overly “acidic”. It’s certainly true that acidosis is problematic but whilst its a nice neat theory to say that we all need to become more “alkaline”, unfortunately things aren’t that simple.

Dr Gabriel Cousens author of arguaby the finest book ever written on Health and Nutrition “Conscious Eating” cautioned us many years ago not to over subscribe to theory.  It took me years to be willing to accept it though as its become such a pervasive theory with so many other reputable leaders in the Natural Health movement still continuing to push the alkalising theory.

Acid-Alkaline Theory - there is a bit more to it

Acid-Alkaline Theory – there is a bit more to it

In was only when I researched the matter myself in writing the Chapter  – “Detoxing Explained” of my book “The Boda Fast – 3-step plan to lower inflammation, maximise fat burning and restore vitality”  that I became convinced that we need to come to a more mature understanding of the principle. 

In the end, if you have good general health, then simply keeping your diet natural, whole and balanced will serve you at least 80% of the way. As I’ve written about in the excerpt below from my book , the body if given a natural diet is perfectly capable of effectively self regulating it’s acid-alkaline balance. As always what nature provides is alway best – i.e natural spring water over “alkaline water”. The rest is about becoming intuitive with what “feels right” in your body. If you feel the need to be more precise about it, or you have troubling health issues then I highly recommend that you invest into discovering what your “metabolic type” is. 

Debunking the Alkaline Diet Myth

In “detoxing” circles it has become the norm to insist that acidosis is ubiquitous with disease and alkaline as infinitely good (to the extent that the more alkaline foods you consume the better).

“In truth excess alkalinity is just as harmful as excess acidity. To clear the confusion, all physiological systems are maintained through a negative feedback mechanism that operates in a dualistic manner. Dualistic means that for every normal condition, there are 2 abnormals-abnormally high and abnormally low. To say that there is only one abnormal with respect to pH balance is to display total ignorance of the most basic fundamentals of physiology.

‘An Analytical System of Clinical Nutrition’, -Guy Schenker, DC, 1989-2010

Some common symptomatology associated with “alkalosis”, include hypothyroidism, hypochlorydria (low stomach acid), allergies, diarrhea and fatigue making it very common (in fact more common that acidosis associated symptomatology).

Another reason to steer away from an over-emphasis on acid / alkaline pH balance is that it is rendered virtually useful unless it’s known what “Metabolic Type” the person is. Specifically, there are two main metabolic operating systems in the body with each individual having dominance in either the  “Autonomic Nervous System”, or in the “Oxidative System” (or a 3rd possibility is having equal “Mixed” dominance). If you are dominant in your ANS, proteins and grains will, in fact, have an acidifying effect on your blood plasma.  If, however, you are dominant in your oxidative system, proteins and grains will have an alkalising effect.

If “Metabolic Type” is known, prescribing a diet which is either more alkalising or acidifying will have obvious merit in order to gain balance, otherwise it can become very confusing. For instance a person may present with low blood levels of the alkaline minerals “magnesium” and “calcium”  but this may actually be due to being “overly alkaline” because of “hypochlorydria” (low stomach acid) which inhibits the ability to absorb magnesium and calcium. This person would therefore need to make their system more acidic in order to correct their deficiency in these alkaline minerals. This particular example demonstrates that to promote detoxing, the importance is on strengthening systems such as the digestive , respiratory and renal systems which  generate homeostasis (balance). In this state of balance, detoxing proceeds naturally.

Whilst an individual “out of balance” will require a diet unique to their “Metabolic Type” to regain balance, without knowing this, as the above demonstrates, the best one can do is  provide nutrient dense foods which “strengthen” one’s physiological systems. “The Boda Fast’s” approach then is aimed at providing a balance of high quality nutrients with carbohydrates, fats and protein present in each  meal (both solid or liquid).

“The Boda Fast” delivers both acid and alkaline minerals in abundance and then simply allows the miraculous power of “fasting” to work its magic. As the following pages demonstrate, our approach to fasting allows the digestive fire to rekindle, whilst cellular inflammation is simultaneous lowered, making absorption of all nutrients enhanced. With strengthen physiological systems, the body more effectively “self-regulates” the acid / alkaline balance and detoxing proceeds naturally.


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Aaron Travers is the author of  The Boda Fast  a three step plan to lower inflammation, maximise fat burning and restore vitality”. Aaron writes at and shares his ideas and experiences on health and wellbeing from his personal life and through working with clients clinically and those doing his “supported fasting” / intermittent fasting diet programs. Every Friday he sends out his newsletter, click below to subscribe. 

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Cousens, Gabriel M.D. Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine. 

Cousens, Gabriel M.D. Spiritual Nutrition – 6 Foundations for Spiritual Life and the Awakening of Kundalini. Berkeley, California. North Atlantic Books, 2005

Cousens, Gabriel M.D. Conscious Eating. Berkeley, California. North Atlantic Books, 2000.

Schenker, Guy R., D.C. An Analytical System of Clinical Nutrition. Nutri-Spec, 1999

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