I’ve heard people (especially yogis) talk about wanting to eat a low-acid diet but never really paid much attention until recently. Then this article piqued my interest, about how a low-acid diet might help prevent osteoporosis.
How could a low-acid diet prevent osteoporosis? Our blood needs to stay within a neutral pH of 7.35-7.45. When the blood gets too acidic, calcium is leached from the bones in order to neutralize it. Too much calcium loss from the bones leads to osteoporosis. Different foods produce different amounts of alkalinity or acidity in the body.
Acid-producing foods include meats, beans, fish, cheeses, and grains. Foods with a high protein content leads to more acid production (especially animal proteins because of sulfurous amino acids). Coffee, tea, beer, wine, sugary foods (things we crave and become addicted to) all acid producing.
Alkali producing foods include fruits and vegetables. Even though lemons and other citrus fruits have acidic juice, when they are ingested they actually have an alkaline effect (result of the potassium and magnesium present).
The typical American diet is highly acidic: meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and coffee, while low in fruits and vegetables. A low-acid diet is high in fruits and vegetables, and low in animal protein.
Some are beginning to suggest that it may actually be the consumption of too much meat and animal protein (including dairy) that explains the high rates of osteoporosis in America. Even though dairy products contain calcium, they may actually end up weakening our bones because of their acid-producing effect. Research like this is surfacing, showing that there is insufficient evidence to recommend dairy to children for bone health.
My own doctors have always recommended dairy products to make sure I get enough calcium, but have never talked about the effects of a low or high acid diet on my bones. Have yours? I’m wondering if/how this might start to change over the next few decades.