An alkaline diet is a way of eating that emphasizes consumption of fresh, whole alkaline foods, while eliminating processed or acidic foods, to maintain a healthy pH balance within the body. A pH-balanced body is better able to resist disease, say diet proponents.
The main theory behind the alkaline diet is that the body must be in a consistent state of pH balance in order to lose weight, gain energy and ward off disease. In chemistry, pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a substance on a 0 to 14 scale. Acidic substances range from 0 to 7, while alkaline substances range from 7 to 14. The human body, which generally falls between 7.35 and 7.45, is naturally slightly alkaline, and proponents of the alkaline diet suggest eating only alkalinizing foods to keep it that way.
Recommended foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Acidic foods, such as meats, cheeses, dairy, tea, processed foods and coffee, are to be avoided. Many health professionals discredit the alkaline diet as unnecessary, due to the body's innate ability to maintain its own pH balance. Although definitive research on the effectiveness of the diet does not exist, the diet does recommend foods that are generally nutritious and energizing.