During a weight loss period, your body's acid level is probably not one of the vitals you track on the way to the gym. Enter the pee-strip diet. A new diet has emerged that requires peeing on a strip of paper, which is available at most pharmacies, to test pH levels. Does it work? Well, this diet has been around for a few years but has gained more buzz recently. Celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Kelly Ripa and Gwyneth Paltrow have embarked down this road. Some dieters are even having pee-strip contests to see who achieves their more neutral pH level. Crazy right?
This somewhat crazy alkaline diet that is tracking and keeping your body's level of acidity at a seven on a scale of zero (extremely acidic) to 14 turns you into a fat burning machine. Alkaline-obsessed dieters claim that eating acidic food throws off your body’s pH level, which causes your metabolism to slow and the weight to pack on.
The theory behind the diet is certainly intriguing, the reason many people are touting its weight loss powers because it rolls every popular elimination diet into one. The diet bans dairy, meat, eggs, grains, refined carbs, processed foods, alcohol, coffee and soda. The diet lays out that all of these elements throw off the body's pH levels. The diet allows for fruit, nuts, legumes, and vegetables. These food items have high alkaline and acid-neutralizing levels.
What also helps those on this diet, is cutting calories and decreasing sugar spikes caused by eating refined carbs and sugary foods. The diet is so low in animal protein, most followers will also lose muscle as well as fat. This is not quite ideal for your health, metabolism or shape. The alkaline diet can result in B-12 deficiences and anemia. Learn about the effects vitamin B12 deficiency here.
The Alkaline diet claims the organs are meant to function in a neutral environment, reducing the amount of acid in your diet can make you healthier overall. But it turns out, your body maintains the perfect pH level all on its own. The body is designed to keep pH levels or acidity levels between 7.35 and 7.45 as long as you aren't suffering from lung or kidney disease.
Your lungs, kidneys, blood, and bones can all detect changes in your blood’s pH levels and adjust accordingly. If the body gets too alkaline—meaning your pH level is somewhere between 7.46 and 14—your lungs automatically slow your breathing rate, which drops your levels of carbon dioxide to make your body more acidic. If your body starts to become too acidic, your kidneys instantly secrete an alkaline substance that brings the acid levels in your blood back down to about 7.45 or lower.
So What’s with the Pee Strips?
If your body keeps your blood pH levels perfectly balanced, then how are alkaline dieters are claiming to get their pH levels even less acidic? Pee strip tests are based on the pH level of your urine, not the pH level of your blood. These are two different things. Pee is a waste product, and the pH levels can vary according to what you eat or drink.
Bottom line, you may lose weight on the diet by cutting out processed foods and refined carbs, but it has nothing to do with your body’s actual pH levels. After all, they haven’t changed—only your pee has.
So go ahead and eat more produce and fewer refined foods to lose weight and live healthier. But for the sake of your body and your sanity, you shouldn’t use the alkaline diet as your guidelines to get fit.