Alkaline Food

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Goemon
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Alkaline Food

Postby Goemon » Tue May 10, 2016 12:23 am UTC

A friend was telling me about his troubles with excessive stomach acid (potentially leading to heartburn, acid reflux, etc) so I was thinking that people with that sort of difficulty should try to eat alkaline foods to help counteract the acid. So I did a quick search, and ... there aren't any. At least, as far as I can tell, antacid tablets are about the only thing out there you can comsume that are actually alkaline.

What's up with that? There are plenty of foods that are acidic - some of them very acidic - but virtually nothing with a pH greater than 7. Is this a general property of life on Earth, or human digestion, or what?

* Note that searching for information on this topic is complicated by some silly psuedoscience fad about "ph Balance" that isn't related to the actual pH of foods; e.g. they list lemon juice as "having a very alkaline affect on your metabolism" when in reality the pH is more like 2.5.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby BlackSails » Tue May 10, 2016 1:28 am UTC

Almost everything edible is akaline relative to your stomach acid

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Xanthir » Tue May 10, 2016 6:48 am UTC

Also: basic things trigger your bitter sensors. We've bred that out of nearly everything we eat, or avoided it as food entirely.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby jewish_scientist » Tue May 10, 2016 12:53 pm UTC

One option is to drink a lot of water. Although it increases the volume of the stomach acid its concentration decreases. Milk is nearly neutral and it has more nutritional value than water, so it is an alternative.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 10, 2016 1:05 pm UTC

Also, I believe that taking tums over long periods of time habitualizes your system to producing more acids.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby p1t1o » Tue May 10, 2016 3:19 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Also, I believe that taking tums over long periods of time habitualizes your system to producing more acids.


This is true, at least for calcium salts. For longer term problems a "proton pump inhibitor" (like "Zantac") works well and are available without prescription, I have the same problem.

Its no wonder that all food is one side of the pH scale, it would be hard to design a digestive system that could handle both acid and alkali foods.

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 10, 2016 3:21 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:Its no wonder that all food is one side of the pH scale, it would be hard to design a digestive system that could handle both acid and alkali foods.
Eh, I think our stomachs solution is kind of just 'moar dakka'. I'd say that as generalists, humans are actually pretty good, especially when you factor in our propensity for cooking/fermenting our meals.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby slinches » Tue May 10, 2016 8:40 pm UTC

I couldn't (with a brief search) find the pH of bagels, but they are processed with lye which is very alkaline.

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby cyanyoshi » Tue May 10, 2016 9:03 pm UTC

slinches wrote:I couldn't (with a brief search) find the pH of bagels, but they are processed with lye which is very alkaline.

Hominy is also treated with lye and other alkaline compounds, but the pH of cooked hominy is listed as 6.0-7.5. That's surprising given that untreated corn is 5.9-7.3, and cooked frozen corn is even in the 7.3-7.7 range. I don't think that bagels would be particularly alkaline.

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby speising » Tue May 10, 2016 9:07 pm UTC

I don't think alkaline food would be very tasty. Try to lick on a bar of soap... (Or sperm, i hear, which is alkaline, too)

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed May 11, 2016 7:54 am UTC

Lutefisk is quite alkaline: pH of 11–12, although it is soaked in water before final preparation, which reduces the pH considerably.

Also, some people use lye as a seasoning. See viewtopic.php?t=96865&p=3211809#p3183323

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby p1t1o » Wed May 11, 2016 8:30 am UTC

Is evolution trolling us?

"Lets make all acidic food super tasty, and make almost no food alkaline. But hey! Lets make teeth basic!"

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby jewish_scientist » Wed May 11, 2016 1:48 pm UTC

I'd say that as generalists, humans are actually pretty good, especially when you factor in our propensity for cooking/fermenting our meals.[/quote]
What is even more impressive is that our stomachs can digest eaten stomachs without digesting themselves. The body does this by giving the stomach a Wolverine/ Deadpool type healing factor. Sure, there are some other stuff there that helps, but not of those things explain why we can digest stomach.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Xenomortis » Wed May 11, 2016 2:00 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:The body does this by giving the stomach a Wolverine/ Deadpool type healing factor.

More frequently known as "Mucus".
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Soupspoon » Wed May 11, 2016 6:08 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Eh, I think our stomachs solution is kind of just 'moar dakka'.
This is why I'm surprised that antacids even work in the first place. The feedback in a stomach primed to be overly-acidic, but detects that it is being deacidified, ought to ramp up its production of acid until forcibly lowered by basic depletion. (NPI!)

speising wrote:Try to lick on a bar of soap... (Or sperm, i hear, which is alkaline, too)
(I'm not overly familiar with that latter kind of bar... ;) )

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby poxic » Wed May 11, 2016 11:32 pm UTC

I think I learned that antacids don't completely neutralise stomach acid. They just bring it up a couple of points (e.g. from pH 1 or 2 up to pH 3 or 4, which feels gentler on an irritated tummy).
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby stianhat » Thu May 26, 2016 9:42 am UTC

Well...

You should be eating acidic foods.

"Neutralizing" the highly acidic stomach with alkalinity is going to create a serious mess down there, since the stomach readily produces more acid and since neutralizing with alkaline products will cause a tremendous release of energy in the form of heat and possibly hydrogen. Not a good idea. But if you are hell bent on it, there are bitter fruits and nuts that are surprisingly alkaline.

How do you make it less acidic then? Buffer solutions. It is a well known trick to ingest diluted vinegar (apple vinegar for instance) to "help" digesting (i.e. let it pass through undigested) very fatty foods. Alcohol will help as well, but for acid reflux alcohol is not at all a help, due to other effects...

The buffer action equilibrium of the HAweak <-> H+ + A-weak will be driven left, consuming the highly acidic H+ and leaving a slightly less acidic HA and the pH can stabilize around the pkA of the weak acid. for vinegar, the pkA is slightly above 3 IIRC. "Normal" stomach acid is dominated by 0,1M-0,05M HCl (and that translates to a pH around 1-2). again, if I remember correctly.

Antiacid tablets are a form of carbonic acid, they are branded as "alkaline" because what you are interested in is the alkaline ION, CO32- or, in the case of Aluminium Hydroxide AL2(OH)6 (which is amphoteric), again you are interested in its value as a weak acid buffer and the amphoteric nature means it has one. The alkalinity is of an entirely negligible importance, the buffer action is what you want.

I will admit, I suppose, trying to drink (diluted) vinegar while having acid reflux does not feel very helpful, I would think it feels like adding fuel to a fire (though it actually IS helpful).

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Bloopy » Thu May 26, 2016 9:29 pm UTC

For getting a more alkaline diet, this book lists foods such as banana, celery, lettuce, mung bean sprouts, and spring onion.

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Xanthir » Fri May 27, 2016 5:00 am UTC

As the OP mentioned, any pop nutrition on "alkaline diets" is nonsense woo.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Minerva » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:53 pm UTC

Bloopy wrote:For getting a more alkaline diet, this book lists foods such as banana, celery, lettuce, mung bean sprouts, and spring onion.


There is a huge amount of snake oil and quackery out there surrounding "alkaline diets".

Many of them will even tell you that lemons and limes are alkaline! (Big Litmus covers it up - they don't want you to know the troof.)

Many of these quacks generally suggest that fresh fruits and vegetables and biodynamic kale and mung beans and that sort of thing are "alkaline", even if they are fruits which are clearly acidic, and they suggest that processed foods and Monsanto and sugar and Coke and artificial sweetener and that sort of thing are "acidic" even if they aren't.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby p1t1o » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:54 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:
Bloopy wrote:For getting a more alkaline diet, this book lists foods such as banana, celery, lettuce, mung bean sprouts, and spring onion.


There is a huge amount of snake oil and quackery out there surrounding "alkaline diets".

Many of them will even tell you that lemons and limes are alkaline! (Big Litmus covers it up - they don't want you to know the troof.)

Many of these quacks generally suggest that fresh fruits and vegetables and biodynamic kale and mung beans and that sort of thing are "alkaline", even if they are fruits which are clearly acidic, and they suggest that processed foods and Monsanto and sugar and Coke and artificial sweetener and that sort of thing are "acidic" even if they aren't.


Oh god don't get me started on "biodynamic"...

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby thoughtfully » Sun Jun 12, 2016 4:04 pm UTC

To be fair, colas are quite acidic, with both carbonic and phosphoric acids. A quick google put the pH around 2.5.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby sardia » Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:04 am UTC

The bigger problem with nutrition "science" is it often consists of p-hacking small sample sizes of dubious value. Let's shove slices of bread down 12 college student's throats, and check their weight afterwards. Maybe something will be statistically significant!

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:05 pm UTC

I would think blood would be a good example of an alkaline food, albeit very slightly. There are a lot of foods with pH between 7.0 and 7.5.

stianhat wrote:Antiacid tablets are a form of carbonic acid

Well no. Carbonic acid is an acid and carbonate salts are the conjugate base. Calcium carbonate accepts protons. It reacts with acid in solution to produce water. Its pKa is 9.0.


By the way, while the alkaline diet fad is basically nonsense, the claim isn't that the foods themselves are alkaline but that anabolism of high protein foods results in ketosis, which is sort of true.

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby BlackSails » Sun Jun 26, 2016 5:30 pm UTC

Rogereric wrote:
Goemon wrote:A friend was telling me about his troubles with excessive stomach acid (potentially leading to heartburn, acid reflux, etc) so I was thinking that people with that sort of difficulty should try to eat alkaline foods to help counteract the acid. So I did a quick search, and ... there aren't any. At least, as far as I can tell, antacid tablets are about the only thing out there you can comsume that are actually alkaline.

What's up with that? There are plenty of foods that are acidic - some of them very acidic - but virtually nothing with a pH greater than 7. Is this a general property of life on Earth, or human digestion, or what?

* Note that searching for information on this topic is complicated by some silly psuedoscience fad about "ph Balance" that isn't related to the actual pH of foods; e.g. they list lemon juice as "having a very alkaline affect on your metabolism" when in reality the pH is more like 2.5.



When we eat acid-forming foods, our body brings our blood pH back into balance by releasing alkaline-rich minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium into our bloodstream. If we are eating enough alkaline-forming foods each day, then our body has easy access to these minerals from our diet.

If we are not eating enough alkaline-forming foods, then our body has to pull these important minerals from our bones, teeth and organs. This can compromise our immune system, cause fatigue and make us vulnerable to viruses and disease.


Thats completely incorrect.

Your body regulates its ph by the kidneys peeing out acids/retaining bicarbonate or reducing peed out acids and losing bicarbonate. The lungs regulate ph by increasing or decreasing respiratory rate, and how much carbon dioxide is blown out.

The food you eat has minimal if any impact on your ph.

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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Xanthir » Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:30 am UTC

And to be more specific about blood, it keeps its pH stable by being a buffer solution with carbonic acid (H2CO3) / bicarbonate (HCO3-). Notice the lack of any exotic minerals; like almost everything else about your body, it's just CHON.
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Re: Alkaline Food

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:52 pm UTC

Yes, but I can tell you from personal experience that ketoacidosis is very real. Your blood won't actually get acidic, just less basic, but it amounts to the same thing.

People on the Atkins diet have been shown to have ketotic blood. Of course, this doesn't typically lead to acidosis because as you say you will compensate by increasing respiration (even if the kidneys can't respond well enough), but the notion that (slightly) faster breathing can be unhealthy is not entirely crazy. I'm not saying it's true, I'm just saying it isn't as obviously false as the way it's being presented here.


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