If you’ve been following the news recently, you may have heard that an author by the name of Robert Oldham Young was ordered to pay $105 million to a cancer patient after encouraging her to follow the plan outlined in his best-selling “pH Miracle” book series on The Alkaline Diet rather than undertake traditional treatment. 

I’m not going to focus too much on my thoughts surrounding the outcome of the court case (just Google “schadenfreude” and you’ll get the gist of it) but I wanted to go into the ideas surrounding the alkaline diet, your body’s control of pH, and whether this is something we should be considering.

What is pH and why should I care?

pH is a scale of 0-14 that measures how acidic or alkaline something is. The low end of the scale (0-7) is acidic, whilst the higher end of the scale is alkaline (7-14). If something has a pH of 7, it is considered neutral. Our blood has a pH of around 7.4, making it ever so slightly alkaline. End science lesson. 

The Alkaline Diet

The goal of this diet is to reduce your body’s acidity through nutrition, by increasing the consumption of foods that will make your body more alkaline and excluding foods that will make your body more acidic. This approach is founded on the belief that certain diseases, such as cancer, thrive in an acidic environment. By following an alkaline diet you’ll stop these diseases from developing and will presumably live forever. 

Alkaline promoting foods include fruits and vegetables, whilst acid promoting foods include dairy, meat and processed foods. This classification of foods as either alkaline or acidic is based on scientific studies carried out OVER 100 YEARS AGO. Since then, we’ve invented computers, smart phones and sliced bread. I think it’s time we moved on. 

The Reality

You can’t make your body more alkaline. Your blood’s pH is VERY tightly regulated (mostly by your kidneys). This is excellent news, because if your blood’s pH shifted outside of this you would die. All of the cellular processes keeping you alive run most effectively at a pH of 7.35-7.45, so if your body strayed outside of this range, bad things would happen. 

Want to reduce disease? Follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, drink enough water, get enough sleep and manage stress. Let your body take care of its own pH.