While in the U.S.A. fad diets range from meal replacements and low-carb to vegan and Paleo varieties, in Europe, the alkaline diet is sweeping England as compared to the 5:2 diet. Looking at the alkaline diet, it reveals facts such as lemons digested become alkaline and cow's milk digested becomes acidic in the body. Even Kim Kardashian has entered the diet and weight arena when she celebrated the launch of her own weight management product called "Quick Trim" at Westfield on May 18, 2012 in London, England.
You can read more about such 'quick' diets in articles such as, "The Dangers of Kardashian-Endorsed QuickTrim" and "Kardashians Sued For $5 Million Over Quicktrim Diet Pills. Photos." But currently sweeping the UK and coming to the USA is the Alkaline Diet phenomenon. This week, it's the Alkaline Diet that's making international news circles and has been picked up by numerous film stars. The Alkaline Diet is popular overseas and is becoming a growing trend in the U.S.A. Check out the book Honestly Healthy - By Natasha Corrett | Amazon.com. And see the site, e Alkaline diet.
Before eating lemons or drinking cow's milk, if you test them on the when tested on the PH scale of acidity and alkalinity, you'll find that lemons test as they taste, like citric acid, and cow's milk tests alkaline on the pH scale, like it tastes. The opposite happens after consuming and while the digestion process is happening.
What's the alkaline diet?
Popular movie stars such as Gwnyth Paltrow and Kirsten Dunst, according to the February 5, 2013 article by Kate Hilpern, "The alkaline diet vs the 52 diet," are mentioned in connection with the "Honestly Healthy Alkaline Program," a diet that focuses on eating alkaline foods in order to keep the body's pH between 7.35 and 7.45.
If you check out all the "Alkaline diet" websites, according to Hilpern's article, "many websites advocating it claim it can heal a wide range of ailments including arthritis, diabetes and cancer, as well as slowing the aging process," besides managing your weight or losing weight. Authors of the Honestly Healthy informational website and book, nutritional therapist Vicki Edgson and organic chef Natasha Corrett, say that the diet can improve energy levels and memory and help prevent headaches, bloating, heart disease, muscle pain and insomnia. Check out this diet and find out why alkaline is touted. See, Why Alkaline?
The origin has been said to refer to the research of 19th century, the French biologist Claude Bernard who found that changing the diet of rabbits from herbivore (mainly plant) to carnivore (mainly meat) turned their urine from more alkaline to more acid. Other scientists looked at what foods create more alkalinity in the body. Eventually, numerous diets arose with names such as the alkaline ash diet and the acid alkaline diet), whose popularity, according to Hilpern's article "has recently taken off after the celebrity take-up."
The idea is that human blood is slightly alkaline. The normal level pH level ranges between 7.35 and 7.45. If the alkaline diet reflect the pH level of human blood as it probably looked like more than 20,000 years ago before agriculture and lots of grain eating, it's supposed to be healthier.
Acid-producing foods are noodles made from flour, grains, fish, meat, poultry, milk, cheese, and salt. In modern times, traditional Australian aborigines, for example never added salt to any food they cooked. They roasted their meat, such as kangaroo, over coals and ate it as crispy as nature made it. The meat contained enough salt as did any plants they ate growing nearby that were eaten with the roasted meats.
The alkaline diet seeks balance
Proponents of alkaline diets believe a diet high in acid-producing foods disrupts this balance and promotes the loss of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium as the body tries to restore equilibrium. This imbalance is thought to make people prone to illness and gaining weight. The ultimate aim is to eat 70 per cent alkaline foods and 30 per cent acid foods. For example, raw spinach is alkaline, but when you cook it, it becomes acidic. The question is whether the body maintains its pH balance regardless of diet.
You can find various studies that show certain degrees of alkaline diets may help prevent the formation of calcium kidney stones, osteoporosis, and age-related muscle wasting. But it's going to be difficult to find studies showing acid-dominated diets cause diseases, unless you can prove a genetic predisposition to clogging up the arteries by eating fats and meats and a reversal by eating a vegan diet as in the Ornish diet. See, Ornish Diet -- What You Need to Know -- US News Best Diets.
Fats and oils studied in diets
Additional studies look at plant-derived omega 3 fatty acids as compared to such oils that come from fish or krill oil. In the U.S.A., a study from Penn State showed that plant-derived omega-3s may aid in bone health. Plant-based omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may have a protective effect on bone health, according to a team of Penn State researchers who carried out the first controlled diet study of these fatty acids contained in such foods as flaxseed and walnuts.
Normally, most of the omega-3 fatty acids in the diet are plant-derived and come mainly from soybean and canola oil. Other sources are flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts and walnut oil. Smaller amounts also come from marine sources, mainly fish, but also algae. Omega-3s are thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect and may play an important part in heart and bone health.
"The unique thing about this study is that we know exactly what the participants ate because we closely controlled their food," says Dr. Rebecca Corwin, associate professor of nutrition, according to the news release, Plant-derived omega-3s may aid in bone health. "These people are really dedicated to spend a total of 24 weeks in the study with 18 weeks eating only what was supplied to them."
Previous studies of omega-3s on bone health used oil supplements rather than whole food sources
The researchers note in a recent issue of Nutrition Journal, that "supplement studies typically do not involve control of the background diet, and it is possible that differences across studies could be explained by failure to control for other nutrients that affect bones."
The researchers developed three diets that they fed sequentially to the 23 participants. Twenty of the subjects were men and three were postmenopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy for six months. This study was part of a larger one investigating the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular health.
For six weeks the subjects ate either the control diet, dubbed average American diet or two other diets high in PUFA. After six weeks the group had three weeks off to resume their typical eating pattern and then for the next six weeks they ate one of the other diets. This continued for 24 weeks until all participants consumed six weeks of all the diets.
Monday through Friday the participants ate either breakfast or dinner in the diet center and packed the remaining meals, including weekend meals and snacks home. The researchers designed the diets so that individual body weight remained unchanged; participants carried out their normal activities and exercise levels. Blood tests showed that all subjects ate their supplied food and did not cheat on their regimens.
The two high PUFA diets had different amounts of linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid and alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. Walnuts, which are high in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, supplied half the total fat in both diets. They appeared in walnut granola, honey walnut butter, walnut pesto and as snacks.
The ALA diet also contained flaxseed oil to increase the ALA content of the diet. Other sources of ALA, such as canola oil, were not used in this study. Check out another article, Fish oil supplements found to set off irregular - USA Today. Also see, Top 10 Myths of Heart Health | PBS NewsHour.
Myths in the news about foods, over-the counter medicines, supplements, and heart health
According to Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, much of the information Americans use as a guide for heart health is little more than folklore. "It's appalling," he said, according to the article, Top 10 Myths of Heart Health | PBS News Hour. The interview in that article went on to state, "And it's getting worse. These days, you can conduct an Internet search for any heart condition and get a lot of information. The problem is most of it is wrong. And a lot of the common mythology is wrong, too." See, What Drugs Are Known To Cause Memory Loss?
There's a point about whether someone over a certain age should even take aspirin as a blood thinner if told to by his or her doctor. The article explains, "As for the brain, people of certain ages have areas of weakness in the blood vessels of the brain, and if you get a little bit of a break in those blood vessels and your blood clots normally, nothing bad may happen. But if you have an anticoagulant on board, you may have a serious cranial bleed. When you add it all up, for people who are otherwise healthy, the risks exceed the benefits of taking an aspirin a day." Another Doctor, in a different column warns people over age 65 or 70 about the possible consequences of bleeding from taking aspirin.
The question is should people turn to therapies other than what their doctor recommends? Or is their doctor controlled by the huge pharmacy corporations into learning more about conventional prescription medicines with side effects and not trained in nutritional therapies to reverse diseases such as clogged arteries with soft plaque rather than hardened calcium.
Most doctors against vitamins or foods say the FDA doesn't control the vitamin industry to make sure what's on the label is really in the bottle when it comes to supplements. But then again, the consumer isn't told all the side effects of prescription medications either if the consumer's genetic variations haven't been tested to see whether they match or not to the prescription medicines. And many patients are never warned what happens if they use prescription medicines long term. For example, see, Study Links Long-Term Aspirin Use With Vision Loss: MedlinePlus and healthfinder.gov - Long-Term Aspirin Use Linked With Vision Loss.
In a new book, "Heart 411," Nissen and his colleague, cardiac surgeon Dr. Marc Gillinov, approach some of the more popular rumors "the way a jury would approach a trial." One question asked in the article: "Is there evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that red wine is good for your heart or that red meat is bad?
Blood tests screened for two biological markers of bone health, one that indicates bone formation and one that indicates bone resorption or breakdown
Throughout life, two different types of cells – osteoblasts and osteoclasts – constantly build and break down bone. In this process they produce chemicals that researchers can measure in the blood. This process allows broken bones to heal, and bones to remain strong, but if more bone is lost than is rebuilt, osteoporosis occurs.
The biomarker for bone resorption, N-telopeptides, decreased significantly during the ALA diet and marginally during the LA diet compared to the average American diet. Levels of bone-specific alkaline phosphatases, a measure of bone building, were unaffected by the diets.
"If less bone is being resorbed and the same amount of bone is being created, then there is a positive balance for bone health," says Corwin in the news release. Some scientists believe that the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is the important factor. The ratio of these fatty acids in the average American diet was about 9.5, while in the LA and ALA diets it was 3.5 and 1.6 respectively.
The researchers caution that it is unknown if the observed effects are due to increased ALA or conversion of ALA to eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA. Fish oils in fish, are the main source of EPA in the American diet.
The researchers note that "recent epidemiologic data suggest that the effects of dietary fats on bone health may be particularly strong in men." So, while middle-aged men are often overlooked in studies of bone health, incorporating plant sources of omega-3 PUFA into the diet may not only improve cardiovascular health, but also enhance bone health.
The team included Corwin; Amy E. Griel, recent doctoral recipient and dietetic intern, Penn State dietetic internship; Penny M. Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State; Kirsten Hilper, previous doctoral recipient, registered dietitian, Sodoexho USA; Guixiang Zhao, previous doctoral recipient, senior service fellow, Centers for Disease Control; and Sheila G. West, associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State. The California Walnut Commission supported this research and partial support was provided by Penn State's General Clinical Research Center NIH grant.
The 5:2 intermittent fasting diet
Another diet is the The 5:2 diet, based on intermittent fasting. You eat normally for five days and severely restrict your calories for the other two – 600 calories for men and 500 for women. Studies conducted by the Baltimore National Institute on Aging reveal that fasting once or twice a week lowers Insulin-like growth factor 1 - IGF-1 levels, which encourages fat burning and can protect the brain against diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, according to the study, "The 5:2 diet - Can starving yourself twice a week make you live longer?"
Also see, Yahoo! Lifestyle, September 11, 2012. Check out the book, The 5:2 Diet Book: Feast for 5 Days a Week and Fast for 2 to Lose Weight, Boost Your Brain, and Transform Your Health."
Resources for the Alkaline diet