In the world of dieting, there’s always something new to try. One theory that’s been discussed is the pH-balanced diet, which consists of eating foods that are more alkaline than acidic. “A truly pH-balanced diet comprises alkaline-forming foods and a limitation of foods that are acid-forming after digestion,” says Bam! Bam! Body’s Organic Health and Wellness Coach Natalie Cacciatore. “Balance is what the body strives to maintain, and following a pH-balanced diet helps it do that.”
All types of food break down during digestion and leave an ash (the residue that the body uses to extract nutrients to survive) in the stomach before being metabolized. “What determines if a food is acidifying or alkalizing is the type of ash that remains after metabolism,” says Cacciatore. The more natural the food is, the less ash it produces. Because everyone’s digestion cycle varies, it can take anywhere from four to more than 50 hours for the acid- or alkaline-producing food to fully leave the body.
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An acid-forming food, which contains components like phosphate and sulfur, becomes acidic during metabolism. These types of foods include coffee, soda, alcohol, meat, dairy products and eggs. But don’t be fooled—certain foods may seem acidic when they actually produce alkaline. “Some foods, like lime, are acidic in their natural state, but when ingested, form an alkaline ash so they’re actually alkalizing,” says Cacciatore.
The ash produced from alkaline foods contains components like calcium, magnesium and potassium because the foods themselves do. Alkaline-producing foods include seeds, nuts, sprouted grains, spices, herbs, peas and beans.