If you have come here to find objective information about the alkaline diet then you have come to the right place. I am dumbfounded at the claims that are being made by various people regarding acid and alkaline foods. Please use your own common sense when reading food charts. Can you really believe that you should limit your consumption of bananas because they are acidifying? The fact of the matter is that they aren’t. It’s just that some people’s definition of the Alkaline Diet has become somewhat jumbled in a subjective quagmire.
My definition of what constitutes an acid or alkaline food comes down to its PRAL value. This stands for Potential Renal Acid Load. It is a scientific calculation that was devised by Thomas Remer, Triantafillia Dimitriou and Friedrich Manz in their paper Dietary potential renal acid load and renal net acid excretion in healthy, free-living children and adolescents. This has nothing to do with burning which was a method used in an earlier Acid Ash test. The PRAL calculation determines the acid load that a foodstuff has on our body. It is an equation that is determined by the quantities of protein, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium present. A positive number means the food is acid forming while a negative number means the food is alkaline forming in our body.
Doesn’t Sugar Make a Food Acidic?
In a word, no! The PRAL calculation is an objective calculation. I have found no objective information online regarding a calculation showing the acidity/alkalinity of foods based on their sugar content. There is plenty of fluff talk about it though. It only takes a moment to realize that this idea is crazy. Believing that sugar is the enemy means that practically all fruits become acid foods and their intake should be limited or avoided. This is nonsense! Fruits are our friends. The more we consume, the better we’re going to feel.
Alkaline Diet Foods according to Real Scientists
It’s interesting that the two most prominent scientists in this field, Thomas Remer and Friedrich Manz don’t really talk about the alkaline diet. Instead, they talk in terms of PRAL and NAE (Net Acid Excretion). These guys are scientists, they aren’t trying to sell us any supplements to help us alkalize our bodies. This, combined with my own common sense, is the reason that I am basing my dietary decisions on what the scientists are telling me not what a “doctor” (who just happens to have a company that sells pH balancing products) would have me believe.
In their paper, Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH by Thomas Remer, Fredrich Manz, available on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, the authors list the PRAL values for a number of different foods. According to Remer and Manz, bananas have a PRAL value of -5.5 which makes them alkalizing foods.
Why not calculate the PRAL value for yourself? All you have to do is input the values for protein, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium into the formula above. You can get the figures from the USDA Nutrient Database.
The relevant figures for bananas are:
- Protein = 1.09g
- Phosphorus = 22mg
- Potassium = 358mg
- Magnesium = 27mg
- Calcium = 5mg
You can do the calculation manually or use an online PRAL calculator. The result is: -6.9369
This varies a little bit from the Remer and Manz result. In fact, it indicates that bananas are even more alkalizing. Of course, we don’t know exactly where they took their food nutrient data from. It would appear that they didn’t use the USDA figures.
Use Your Common Sense
If sugar was the enemy, a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice would be just as bad for us as a can of soda. Can you really believe this? If you can, then you might want to leave this site now and go off to buy some pH drops. There’s lots of people who’ll be more than happy to take your money.
When I discovered the alkaline diet, the idea was intriguing and the science seemed to make sense. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Ask yourself if you really need to buy charts, powders and alkalizing drops. Perhaps that way of doing things makes sense to you. I’m not going to argue. But for me, simply eating lots more fruits and vegetables has made a marked improvement on the way I feel on a day to day basis. The more I read about health and longevity, the more convinced I become that eating a whole foods, plant based diet is the way to better health now and lasting health into the future. There’s no way I’m going to limit my banana consumption because some chart suggests that they are acidic. How about you?