November 22, 2019
The Acid/Alkaline Diet & Cancer Scam

The Acid/Alkaline Diet & Cancer Scam

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For years the alkaline diet has been promoted as an alternative “treatment” for conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, despite a lack of quality scientific evidence to support this hypothesis.

Claims from alkaline diet proponents can range anywhere from non-evidence based to downright dangerous, with many claiming that “acidity” is the cause of all diseases.

Proponents of the alkaline diet claim that a high diet acid load contributes to the development of many serious diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis, despite there being no high-quality scientific research to support these theories.

The body has multiple redundant mechanisms for tightly regulating blood PH, regardless of what one’s diet consists of.

If the diet was as susceptible to influencing blood PH as the alkaline diet proponents would like us to believe, then most individuals would literally be suffering from acidosis, due to how “acidic” the modern Western diet is.  Yet acidosis and alkalosis are considered to be relatively rare.

The acid/alkaline diet proponents also fail to take into account many of the beneficial acids that the human body requires to stay healthy, some examples include amino acids(protein), vitamins such as pantothenic acid(B5) or even fatty acids.

The health benefits of eating a diet rich in plant foods such as fruits and vegetables, also has virtually nothing to do with how “alkaline” these foods are, but a myriad of proven factors such as their micro-nutrient content(vitamins/minerals), how rich these foods are in digestive system supportive fiber, the antioxidant content, the potent anti-inflammatory and disease modifying phytonutrient’s these foods contain such as polyphenols, phyto-estrogens, anti-tumor compounds and so on.

Here in this article, we are going to take a look at some of the cutting-edge scientific research and highest quality evidence available to debunk the acid/alkaline diet myth.

Systematic review of the association between dietary acid load, alkaline water and cancer

Acid/Alkaline Diet Scientific ResearchA systematic review from 2016 was conducted to evaluate the evidence for a causal relationship between dietary acid/alkaline and alkaline water for the aetiology and treatment of cancer.

Study Results: 8278 citations were identified, and 252 abstracts were reviewed; 1 study met the inclusion criteria and was included in this systematic review.

No randomised trials were located. No studies were located that examined dietary acid or alkaline or alkaline water for cancer treatment.

The included study was a cohort study with a low risk of bias. This study revealed no association between the diet acid load with bladder cancer (OR=1.15: 95% CI 0.86 to 1.55, p=0.36).  No association was found even among long-term smokers (OR=1.72: 95% CI 0.96 to 3.10, p=0.08).

This systematic review, based on only one relevant observational study, did not find support for the acid–ash hypothesis which suggests that acid from the diet causes or contributes to cancer development

Additionally, a review of the body of evidence regarding the acid–ash/alkaline hypothesis for bone health found that the hypothesis is not supported and there is no evidence that altering the diet acid load improves bone health

The study concluded:

Despite the promotion of the alkaline diet and alkaline water by the media and salespeople, there is almost no actual research to either support or disprove these ideas.

This systematic review of the literature revealed a lack of evidence for or against diet acid load and/or alkaline water for the initiation or treatment of cancer. Promotion of alkaline diet and alkaline water to the public for cancer prevention or treatment is not justified. [1]

Further Evidence of No Association between Dietary Acid Load and Disease

Acid & Alkaline Diet & Bone Health/Osteoporosis StudyAnother cutting edge study published this year(2017) in The Journal Of Nutrition, found further evidence of no association between dietary acid load and disease.

The study claimed that there is no high-quality evidence that meets GRADE criteria for quality that supports the hypothesis that the diet acid load changes the body’s pH or causes disease.

The authors claim that “the composition of the diet affects the acid-base balance of the body” in their paper and cite references that DO NOT support this premise.

Furthermore, the authors stated that systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials are observational studies that were inconclusive.  These systematic reviews were very conclusive that “There is no evidence from superior quality balance studies that increasing diet acid load promotes skeletal bone mineral loss or osteoporosis.”

Changes of urine calcium do not accurately represent calcium balance.  Promotion of the “alkaline diet” to prevent calcium loss is not justified and “This meta-analysis did not find evidence that phosphate intake contributes to demineralization of bone or to bone calcium excretion in urine.”

Dietary advice that dairy products, meats and grains are detrimental to bone health due to “acidic” phosphate content needs reassessment.

There is no evidence that higher phosphate intake is detrimental to bone health. [2]


[1] Systematic review of the association between dietary acid load, alkaline water and cancer

[2] Further Evidence of No Association between Dietary Acid Load and Disease

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

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