Interested in giving the “alkaline” diet a try this year? You’re not alone. The celebrity diet is becoming increasingly popular. However, experts are now suggesting that claims about the diet’s potential health benefits may be overblown.
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Supporters of the diet say that consuming mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes — while avoiding most meats and grains — can lead to both weight loss and help the body ward off cancer and osteoporosis. The idea is that eating meats and breads will result in the body producing acids that eat away at the mineral stores in our bones and that this process will lead to sickness.
Victoria, British Columbia’s Julie Cove runs a website dedicated to promoting the alkaline diet. She says if a food is green and has a “high water content,” “you can pretty much say it’s alkaline.”
Cove added that the key is to “add way more greens to your diet.”
Sounds like good advice. Any diet that replaces fatty meats and carbohydrates with green vegetables is likely to cause weight loss.
Keeping hydrated is also a big part of the alkaline diet. Some companies are currently selling a special $60 water pitcher that supposedly helps make water alkaline by adding unique minerals.
However, experts don’t believe that’s necessary. “Drinking alkaline water makes zero sense whatsoever,” says Joe Schwarcz, a chemist at Montreal’s McGill University. “What has happened in this case is a bit of scientific fact was taken completely out of context and woven into a fabric of nonsense,” Schwarcz added.
The other problem is that the diet restricts the consumption of some healthy foods — such as mushrooms, tropical fruits, and berries.
Toronto-based dietician Christy Brissette says that’s troubling. “I’d encourage people to pick the foods that they eat based on the nutrition in them, rather than looking at every single item and questioning is it acid, is it alkaline?”