Welcome to Debate Club! Please be aware that this is a space for respectful debate, and that your ideas will be challenged here. Please remember to critique the argument, not the author.

The pH for dummies infographic is belittling and unhelpful - Rational Discussion about Alkaline Diet

2

Replies

  • VintageFeline
    VintageFeline Posts: 6,771 Member
    As for why can't we just let people call a diet alkaline because it promotes the eating of vegetables. Well, why can't we just say, no need to follow a set list of do and don't foods or label it, just get a wide and varied diet with a colour spectrum of veg, fruit if you like it and lots of other good whole foods.

    Making claims about what a certain named diet can do to the body is a slippery slope that leads to places such as claiming what you eat can cure cancer.
  • lobotomybunny
    lobotomybunny Posts: 18 Member
    edited May 2017
    I posted the multiple links to get a conversation started, figuring that different people would respond to different subjects. Sorry if that was too broad and confusing. The links described the theory that a Western diet increases a body's acid load (and I summarized the reasons for it, e.g., potassium etc or lack thereof), and were provided so that the diet, as discussed in the scientific literature that I could find, would be well-defined in this discussion, as opposed to whatever version of a diet is assumed by its name. To show that some research scientists, not just pinterest bloggers, thought that the discussion was worth merit. Got unhelpful patronizing response, everyone loved it! So helpful. If I did not post a link to any articles that support any of the claims, I'd probably be wrong for doing that as well, because it would all be woo and magic and fad-driven.

    I think I asked some pretty specific questions. In direct response to somebody in this thread saying that food does not affect body pH, I posted a quote from a free full scholarly article (seriously doubt it is activist driven) and asked why it was wrong. I also posted a link to a free and full article with data that seemed to show that foods change the balance of buffers. Maybe it's not a big deal in the long run, but this seems to be the main concern from people who argue against the diet (also reflected in the infographic), so that seems to warrant a direct answer to that particular concern. I'm looking for the data on the other side of the coin. Sorry if it is too time consuming. Telling me that I am wrong or getting off track for even asking the questions in response to the comments is not constructive. I think that each of my requests can be answered by the person who claimed the contrary.

    As I said a few times, I am not making any specific claims that the alkaline diet is the magic pill for health or weight loss or anything. I don't do that diet. But maybe a wee part of its merit is its buffering capability. If that is what a person has chosen, I would want to move forward and provide information about the potential merits of that lower grain, higher vegetable content diet without shaming them for calling it the wrong name. We are not supposed to shame people for what they eat, right? If you tell me you are on the alkaline diet, I won't simply tell you that it's woo and discourage you from doing it.

    Whether or not the general commentary smack-downs are aimed at me, I have read enough of them on this site to see a rather sad pattern, and to really appreciate those who are capable of having a productive discussion.

    So.. Because it seems to be THE major concern for people who call woo, I am looking for convincing that food-driven acidosis cannot exist and that food-driven buffering of the acidosis cannot exist (or alkalosis, whatever you want). That's all. And because I know I have to say it again, I am NOT asking about moving pH into death range. Can we please focus on this?
  • lobotomybunny
    lobotomybunny Posts: 18 Member
    How did you read that so fast? I am listening to all comments and am asking for more than just a "no." Sorry.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,205 Member
    How did you read that so fast? I am listening to all comments and am asking for more than just a "no." Sorry.

    I think the scientist here explained things fairly well and didn't just say "no."
  • lobotomybunny
    lobotomybunny Posts: 18 Member
    Oh Ok then. Now I can totally explain why that paper is incorrect. Guess I'll just contact the author now. Thanks for bringing so much to the table.
  • VintageFeline
    VintageFeline Posts: 6,771 Member
    And I have to wonder, if there were merit around this, how would one know they NEED to be so specific about their diet even though clinically they aren't at risk or displaying life threatening symptoms? Is it really useful to someone following this "diet" to affirm their believes they need to somehow alter their pH?
  • ronjsteele1
    ronjsteele1 Posts: 1,065 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    How did you read that so fast? I am listening to all comments and am asking for more than just a "no." Sorry.

    I think the scientist here explained things fairly well and didn't just say "no."

    Because scientists are no different then any other profession. Ask ten of them the same question and you'll get ten different answers. Why would anyone put their stock in one person's statements? Consider it amongst numerous positions, sure. But believe one person on this site because they're a scientist? Forget it.
  • lobotomybunny
    lobotomybunny Posts: 18 Member
    Ruatine wrote: »
    I'm not a scientist, so I have to do a lot of reading and rereading, and I'm pretty open to multiple interpretations on things that I don't understand. That said, a lot of the studies presented seem to be conflating an "alkaline" diet with a balanced diet. An increase in fruits and vegetables in a diet otherwise lacking them showed positive correlations with decreased disease and morbidity. "No *kitten*, Sherlock!" was my reaction to that.

    I'm very skeptical of diet-induced metabolic acidosis. Mainly because I can't find any major organization discussing it (my go-to for confirmations like that are the Mayo Clinic, CDC, WHO, etc.). Perhaps it's less about the acidity or alkalinity of the diet and more about people meeting their body's micronutrient needs? (Again, I'm not a scientist, so I'm just spitballing here.)

    Hmmm... NIH is not good enough? CDC, NIH, FDA are all under US HHS AFAIK.
    But I found pages from both CDC and Mayo clinic on thiamine deficiency causing it. And others on soy based formula causing it. Those examples are about acute acidosis though and I won't make the mistake of linking any more papers here.

    Agree that it does seem to be about micronutrients (particularly electrolytes).

    So long and thanks for all the fish.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,205 Member
    edited May 2017
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    How did you read that so fast? I am listening to all comments and am asking for more than just a "no." Sorry.

    I think the scientist here explained things fairly well and didn't just say "no."

    Because scientists are no different then any other profession. Ask ten of them the same question and you'll get ten different answers. Why would anyone put their stock in one person's statements? Consider it amongst numerous positions, sure. But believe one person on this site because they're a scientist? Forget it.

    I don't think you'll get a whole lot of scientists having much debate about this particular issue...

  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,205 Member
    nutmegoreo wrote: »
    Ruatine wrote: »
    I'm not a scientist, so I have to do a lot of reading and rereading, and I'm pretty open to multiple interpretations on things that I don't understand. That said, a lot of the studies presented seem to be conflating an "alkaline" diet with a balanced diet. An increase in fruits and vegetables in a diet otherwise lacking them showed positive correlations with decreased disease and morbidity. "No *kitten*, Sherlock!" was my reaction to that.

    I'm very skeptical of diet-induced metabolic acidosis. Mainly because I can't find any major organization discussing it (my go-to for confirmations like that are the Mayo Clinic, CDC, WHO, etc.). Perhaps it's less about the acidity or alkalinity of the diet and more about people meeting their body's micronutrient needs? (Again, I'm not a scientist, so I'm just spitballing here.)

    Hmmm... NIH is not good enough? CDC, NIH, FDA are all under US HHS AFAIK.
    But I found pages from both CDC and Mayo clinic on thiamine deficiency causing it. And others on soy based formula causing it. Those examples are about acute acidosis though and I won't make the mistake of linking any more papers here.

    Agree that it does seem to be about micronutrients (particularly electrolytes).

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

    But again, you are talking here about a balanced diet versus malnourishment, not one that specifically claims to change the pH. The majority of these types of diets (which is part of what makes it a fad diet, IMO) are claimed to be beneficial for everyone, not a subset of people with specific medical needs. No one, I'm aware of recommends obtaining blood work to evaluate their pH prior to undertaking the alkalizing diet. So by what is success measured? In hospital, when patient's are diagnosed with acidosis, they aren't prescribed a dietary change, they are given whatever is needed to change it, depending on the underlying cause. A balanced diet is not going to have a significant impact. A poor diet with excess or lack of specific nutrients, of course, has a considerable impact on health and well-being. That's not specific to an alkalizing diet.

    I'd also think that if this was a huge mainstream issue that ph testing would be a regular thing at your annual physical and wellness checkup. I get a whole host of blood work done annually...to my knowledge my Dr. has never checked my Ph.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    Here's something to start with:
    The links described the theory that a Western diet increases a body's acid load (and I summarized the reasons for it, e.g., potassium etc or lack thereof), and were provided so that the diet, as discussed in the scientific literature that I could find, would be well-defined in this discussion, as opposed to whatever version of a diet is assumed by its name.

    The links I looked at did not describe a specific set of foods that would supposedly be the alkaline diet. I admit I did not read all of them.

    More significantly, I don't eat the SAD (western pattern diet) and most here who are interested in nutrition probably also do not. I am experimenting right now with something else, so not exactly eating my regular diet, but I generally plan meals around vegetables and from logging at Chronometer am reasonably sure that my diet does not share two common issues with the SAD, low potassium vs. sodium, and low omega-3 vs. omega-6. So if the issue is something like "too little potassium" or "too much sodium," I don't think the "alkaline diet" is really the most sensible approach. Is the problem with the SAD that it is too acidic? Given the main issues with the SAD, I doubt it but that might be a specific thing to discuss.
    So.. Because it seems to be THE major concern for people who call woo, I am looking for convincing that food-driven acidosis cannot exist

    I did not see anything in the articles you posted suggesting that it could (and I mean acidosis as in http://www.healthline.com/health/acidosis?m=2). Can you point to a specific portion that you think disagrees?

    Note, I don't think effect from drinking to extreme excess=effect caused by food choice.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    nutmegoreo wrote: »
    Ruatine wrote: »
    I'm not a scientist, so I have to do a lot of reading and rereading, and I'm pretty open to multiple interpretations on things that I don't understand. That said, a lot of the studies presented seem to be conflating an "alkaline" diet with a balanced diet. An increase in fruits and vegetables in a diet otherwise lacking them showed positive correlations with decreased disease and morbidity. "No *kitten*, Sherlock!" was my reaction to that.

    I'm very skeptical of diet-induced metabolic acidosis. Mainly because I can't find any major organization discussing it (my go-to for confirmations like that are the Mayo Clinic, CDC, WHO, etc.). Perhaps it's less about the acidity or alkalinity of the diet and more about people meeting their body's micronutrient needs? (Again, I'm not a scientist, so I'm just spitballing here.)

    Hmmm... NIH is not good enough? CDC, NIH, FDA are all under US HHS AFAIK.
    But I found pages from both CDC and Mayo clinic on thiamine deficiency causing it. And others on soy based formula causing it. Those examples are about acute acidosis though and I won't make the mistake of linking any more papers here.

    Agree that it does seem to be about micronutrients (particularly electrolytes).

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

    But again, you are talking here about a balanced diet versus malnourishment, not one that specifically claims to change the pH.

    Yes, this is really the key point.

    Can severe malnourishment cause something (like an electolyte imbalance, inability to use nutrients from food properly, probably other things)? Yes, absolutely.

    That is different from the alkaline diet claims, which are that your diet is too acidic and is causing hard for that reason. I think not getting enough potassium over time is bad for you and does damage. I don't think that's evidence for the "alkaline diet."
  • nutmegoreo
    nutmegoreo Posts: 15,532 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    nutmegoreo wrote: »
    Ruatine wrote: »
    I'm not a scientist, so I have to do a lot of reading and rereading, and I'm pretty open to multiple interpretations on things that I don't understand. That said, a lot of the studies presented seem to be conflating an "alkaline" diet with a balanced diet. An increase in fruits and vegetables in a diet otherwise lacking them showed positive correlations with decreased disease and morbidity. "No *kitten*, Sherlock!" was my reaction to that.

    I'm very skeptical of diet-induced metabolic acidosis. Mainly because I can't find any major organization discussing it (my go-to for confirmations like that are the Mayo Clinic, CDC, WHO, etc.). Perhaps it's less about the acidity or alkalinity of the diet and more about people meeting their body's micronutrient needs? (Again, I'm not a scientist, so I'm just spitballing here.)

    Hmmm... NIH is not good enough? CDC, NIH, FDA are all under US HHS AFAIK.
    But I found pages from both CDC and Mayo clinic on thiamine deficiency causing it. And others on soy based formula causing it. Those examples are about acute acidosis though and I won't make the mistake of linking any more papers here.

    Agree that it does seem to be about micronutrients (particularly electrolytes).

    So long and thanks for all the fish.

    But again, you are talking here about a balanced diet versus malnourishment, not one that specifically claims to change the pH. The majority of these types of diets (which is part of what makes it a fad diet, IMO) are claimed to be beneficial for everyone, not a subset of people with specific medical needs. No one, I'm aware of recommends obtaining blood work to evaluate their pH prior to undertaking the alkalizing diet. So by what is success measured? In hospital, when patient's are diagnosed with acidosis, they aren't prescribed a dietary change, they are given whatever is needed to change it, depending on the underlying cause. A balanced diet is not going to have a significant impact. A poor diet with excess or lack of specific nutrients, of course, has a considerable impact on health and well-being. That's not specific to an alkalizing diet.

    I'd also think that if this was a huge mainstream issue that ph testing would be a regular thing at your annual physical and wellness checkup. I get a whole host of blood work done annually...to my knowledge my Dr. has never checked my Ph.

    That's because it happens with specific disease states, lung and kidney, diabetes, and alcoholism, along with a few lesser common causes such as severe dehydration, etc. Diet is certainly an important consideration with kidney failure and diabetes, and malnourishment is common with prolonged alcoholism, but again, these are specific subsets of the population.
  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,911 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    How did you read that so fast? I am listening to all comments and am asking for more than just a "no." Sorry.

    I think the scientist here explained things fairly well and didn't just say "no."

    Because scientists are no different then any other profession. Ask ten of them the same question and you'll get ten different answers. Why would anyone put their stock in one person's statements? Consider it amongst numerous positions, sure. But believe one person on this site because they're a scientist? Forget it.

    I don't think you'll get a whole lot of scientists having much debate about this particular issue...

    Yeah, pretty sure 10 out of 10 scientists would agree that no matter what you eat, it will fall into a big balloon filled with extremely potent acid and get mixed together, and brought down to the acid's pH.
    Well, maybe not Dr. Oz.