ZocdocAnswersCan eating acidic food alter the body's pH balance?

Question

Can eating acidic food alter the body's pH balance?

Can eating acidic food truly alter the whole body's pH balance? I've heard this from a health food guru who argued that an alkaline body is healthy and that an acidic body would be unhealthy and even deadly in the long term, and that this can result from eating too much citrus. Is there any truth to that?

Answer

There is no truth to this statement. I'll explain below. No matter what types of food you eat, your whole body's pH balance over time will not change. This is because your body requires a pH exactly 7.4 and has mechanisms which keep it there. For example if your blood pH changes (from an infection, diabetes, or another problem), your breathing rate will increase or decrease to immediately alter your blood pH. Your kidneys also modify the blood pH by secreting acid or base depending on what is needed by your body. With that said, vomiting or profuse diarrhea can mess up your body's pH because your are losing acid and alkaline material that the body must replace. If you are looking for something to cut out of your diet, consider cutting out carbonated beverages. These beverages are very acidic and while they will not alter your body's pH, they may contribute to the development of diabetes because they have so much sugar. As far as getting sound dietary advice, I suggest you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Health food specialist do not always have the education and don't know the science behind nutrition and therefore occasionally can give you unsound advice (as in this case). Good luck, and don't worry about drinking your orange juice!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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