Proponents of the Balanced pH Diet believe a diet high in alkaline foods prevents degenerative diseases and improves health by decreasing acid in the blood stream. Foods are categorised as either acidic or alkaline (basic) based on how the food effects urine pH after consumption.
The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 0 to 7 representing acidic foods and 7.1 to 14 representing alkalising foods. The body tries to maintain an alkalising pH of 7.4 by depositing or withdrawing minerals from bones, fluids or soft tissues. Therefore, eating a diet rich in alkalising foods helps the body maintain a healthy pH level. Proponents of the diet recommend that alkalising foods account for 50 to 80 per cent of total caloric intake.
All foods are classified into two categories, alkalising or acidifying, based on the effect the food has on urine pH after consumption. If a food increases the acidity of urine after consumption, it is classified as an acidic food. Conversely, if a food increases the alkalinity of urine after consumption, it is classified as an alkalising food. Within the classifications of alkaline and acidic, foods are categorised as low, moderate or high alkaline or acidic foods.
The most alkaline foods are citrus fruits, except oranges, watermelons, mango, papaya, asparagus, onions, vegetable juices, parsley, spinach, broccoli, garlic, barley, olive oil and grape seed oil. Similarly, dried fruits, melons, grapes, apples, pears, kiwis, okra, squash, green beans, beets, celery, lettuce, zucchini and sweet potatoes are moderately alkaline. Lastly, amaranth, quinoa , millet, lentils, wild rice, corn, oranges, bananas, cherries, pineapple, peaches, avocados, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, peas, cauliflower, turnips, olives, canola, raw sugar, coconuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, goat cheeses, whey and soy products are low alkalising foods.
On a high-alkaline diet, acidic foods should be avoided and consumed sparingly. Low acidic foods are kidney beans, runner beans, plums, store-bought juices,, brown rice, rye bread, sprouted breads, organ meats, cold water fish, eggs, pumpkin, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, corn oil, fatty dairy products, margarine and honey. Similarly, skinless potatoes, pinto beans, navy beans, lima beans, canned fruits, white rice, oats, pecans, cashews, pistachios, coffee, wine, chicken, turkey, lamb, raw dairy and most condiments are moderately acidic. Lastly, blueberries, cranberries, prunes, wheat, white bread, pasta, beef, pork, shellfish, cheese, ice cream, peanuts, walnuts, beer and alcohol are highly acidic foods.
A few non-food sources also can affect the pH of urine. Mineral water and hard water are alkalising, but soft water is acidic. Additionally, antibiotics, mineral supplements, vitamins and antacids can affect the pH of urine, and additional dietary changes may need to be made to offset the pH balances they create.