The Alkaline diet: What's it all about?

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With celebs like Victoria Beckham on the Alkaline diet meal plan, we ask what's the deal?

Green vegetables
The alkaline diet has grown in popularity as celebs such as Victoria Beckham have shown their love for this mostly vegetarian way of life. But what is it?

Devotees claim that the alkaline diet improves their digestion, stops bloating, improves skin condition and boosts their mood by sticking to a predominantly vegetarian and wholegrain eating plan.

It is also supposed to improve memory, concentration and regulate blood sugar and energy levels.

The diet discourages eating acid-promoting foods, which include meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, processed foods, fizzy drinks, coffee and alcohol.

The belief is that the kidneys have less work to do breaking down alkaline foods and that you are able to take more vitamins from less acidic foods.

But don't confuse acid with citrus, as foods such as lemons are actually alkaline when digested…

Alkaline rich foods:
• Lemon, lime and grapefruit
• Dates, figs and apricots (rehydrated)
• Tomato, apple, pear, mango, papaya and avocado
• Watercress, fennel, asparagus, celery and cauliflower
• Onion, garlic, ginger (fresh) and beetroot
• Kelp, spinach, rocket, parsley and coriander
• Sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and their oils
• Almonds, walnuts and pecans
• Quinoa, millet, buckwheat, oats and brown rice
• Almond milk, brown-rice milk
• Ground coconut and coconut water

Acid-forming foods:
• Red meat, including pork and venison
• Poultry, including feathered game
• Processed breakfast cereals (low in nutrients, high in sugar and salt)
• Commercially produced biscuits, cakes and breads (high in yeast, white flour, salt, sugar and additives – all acid-forming components)
• Cola, diet cola and alcohol
• Tea, coffee, chocolate (especially milk chocolate, which is high in sugar and dairy solids)

Health verdict?

Speaking to Web MD, Marjorie Nolan, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman explained that the diet is, 'basically healthy. It's a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of water, avoiding processed foods, coffee, and alcohol, which are all recommendations for a generally healthy diet anyway,' Nolan says.

However she added, 'But our body regulates our pH between 7.35 and 7.45 no matter how we eat.'

If undertaking the diet, make sure you are getting enough protein and calcium as with any vegetarian focused diet.

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