Acid or Alkaline: The Argument Rages

We live in contentious times. Chances are you’ve noticed all the tsk-tsking and flying fur,so this doesn’t come as a news flash.

One raging argument, in the health world at least, is about acid/alkaline levels–what happens if you get it wrong, what to eat to get it right, and on, and on. Nothing ever gets settled.

But, here’s the thing: Your body has its own opinion about how this acid/alkaline business has to work. We can argue until the cows come home, as the old saying goes, but the body’s going to do what the body’s going to do.

Perhaps unfortunately, our body doesn’t bellow, “So there! Take that!” when it does its thing. We can be thinking we’re doing the right thing even when our body’s bailing like crazy to get things back on track.

Let’s talk about this.

Some acid/alkaline background

Burning wood leaves behind ashes, and it’s the same when our bodies burn food. Alkaline foods (such as fruits, legumes, nuts, and vegetables) leave behind alkaline ash, which, they say, makes your body alkaline. Acid foods (such as meat, fish, dairy, nuts, grains, and alcohol) leave behind acid ash, which, they say, makes your body acidic.

The alkaline camp says an acidic body makes you vulnerable to illness and disease, leading to premature aging and other inconveniences. Nothing about our bodies is ever that simple.

Our bodies have many pH levels in various body parts; there’s no one-size-fits all level to aim for. And levels can change in a split second when needed, which is often.

For instance, when you eat, your stomach gets flooded with acid so it’s able to digest the food. An alkaline stomach can’t fully process the food you eat, leaving half-digested food that sneaks out of the digestive system into places it doesn’t belong. Chaos ensues. It’s called “leaky gut syndrome”–misery on wheels.

Our blood keeps acid and alkaline (among other things) in balance. Otherwise, we die

Our bodies aren’t casual about anything. “Casual” doesn’t keep you alive, let alone in good health.

Nothing you do to manage your acid/alkaline status changes the pH level in your blood. Your body knows, as the Bible says, “Life is in the blood,” and it won’t let you muck things up.

Some disease states can unbalance the blood; this is an extreme medical emergency. What you eat can’t; your body just keeps chugging along, protecting your blood.

Things to know

The main way your body regulates pH is by excreting acid in your urine. Eat some scrambled eggs for breakfast, and your urine will be acidic for a while. Same when you eat a steak for dinner.

We don’t know when we’re dumping acid or how long it takes. Testing with pH strips can be misleading.

Bones But doesn’t acidity eat our minerals and lead to osteoporosis? Actually, acid doesn’t affect our bones. The kidneys and respiratory system deal with acid, but not bones. We have zero studies showing a connection between dietary acid and our bones.

But studies do show that our bones benefit from high-protein (acid forming) diets.

Cancer But doesn’t acidity cause cancer? Actually, no.

Cancer starts when our bodies don’t get the nutrition they need, not because of acidity. Cancer can start and grow in an alkaline environment, but we don’t stay alkaline very long because cancer cells create acid.

So an acid environment doesn’t create cancer; cancer creates an acid environment.

The acid/alkaline war of words turns out to be no more than a distraction from the more important topic of nutrition. There’s a lot we need to learn about nutrition.

Once you get nutrition worked out, your body will start singing your praises. Maybe even cartwheel from time to time.

God is good,
Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette Dowdell defines determination. A drunk driver put her into a really deep health ditch when she was a baby, giving her a concussion. Concussions are murder on the endocrine system, which controls all of health, and down the hill she tumbled. Doctors didn’t help–for years. So, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. Bette never intended to be a health expert, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and she’s still researching. To subscribe to Bette’s free health e-mails, click the “subscribe” button on the top/right.

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