As you likely already know, the diet and weight loss industry brings in billions of dollars each year.
In 2017 alone, the diet industry brought in $66 billion dollars of revenue, which included books, weight-loss programs such as Weight Watchers, supplements and gym memberships, all of which was aimed at helping 97 million Americans get to their goal weight.1
Interestingly, more Americans these days are looking at a less structured, more wellness-focused approach to their weight-loss goals. A recent poll in Fortune magazine found that 77 percent of those surveyed said that their fitness efforts centered on eating healthier, rather than actually dieting.2
This means that you will be more likely to see this type of DIY weight loss patient in your practice than you may have within the last few years. These patients are far less interested in structured weight programs, such as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, which include prepackaged meals.
Instead, they are purchasing their own fresh, organic, healthy food from their local market and aiming to make their own meals from scratch to get the most nutritional benefit they possibly can. As a result, any diet plans they follow will be ones that explain how to combine these individual ingredients.
One of the more popular of these diets is what is known as the alkaline diet.
What is this diet, how does it work, and what are its pros and cons for helping your patients lose weight and eat healthier food?
What is the alkaline diet?
The alkaline diet works on the premise that you can change the pH value of your body, depending upon the type of food you eat. In other words, you can shift the acidity or alkalinity of your body. When your body burns calories, there is an ash residue left behind, similar to the ash left behind in your fireplace from the wood you have burned in it.
This ash can make your body acidic, alkaline, or neutral. So if you eat foods that are highly acidic, your body will become acidic, which will make your body more vulnerable to health issues, according to proponents of the alkaline diet.
Acidic foods include:
Alkaline foods include:
Pros and cons
Obviously, the aim of the alkaline diet is to get your pH value to shift from acidic (pH less than 7) to alkaline (pH greater than 7) by changing your diet. However, let’s take a closer look to see if it really is an effective weight loss method that you can recommend to your patients.
Pros: If you are trying to convince your patients to add in more fruits and vegetables to their diet, the alkaline diet will certainly help them do just that. All in all, it can be a good diet to get a wide variety of daily vitamins and nutrients. The bonus of not using processed, prepackaged food is also a great selling point, not to mention that there are no meetings to attend or special proprietary shakes or drink mixes that your patients must buy.
Cons: Perhaps the biggest drawback to the alkaline diet is that, while it may help your patients lose weight, it has nothing to do with the pH balance in their bodies. Rather, it is the shift to increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, one of the foods in the acidic column, meat, is vital for good health by preventing anemia. Finally, while eating those foods considered alkaline may change the level in your urine, it will not change the levels in your blood, which would be more indicative of your overall health.
If your patients are already on an alkaline diet, there is no serious risk to them following it. However, review the vitamins and minerals they are taking—particularly B vitamins—to ensure that they are getting the proper nutrients they need.