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Alkaline Diet

Searching for diets that work is practically the national pastime, and the latest craze among weight loss fanatics is the alkaline diet – a plan that promises to curb cravings, reduce inflammatory conditions and fight disease while it whittles your waistline. A growing number of A-list celebrities are praising the regimen that purportedly balances pH levels from within, but is the alkaline diet all that it claims?

Created by American health guru, Robert O. Young, the plan (also known as the pH diet) is based on the theory that eating too many acid-forming foods – things like meat, dairy and refined sugars – puts added stress on the body, which in turn worsens inflammation and leads to weight gain. The idea is that we can alkalize our systems through a plant-based diet, thereby optimizing our bodies to fight illness from within. In reality, the alkaline diet is focused more on systemic health than dropping weight, but proponents love the energy they get from consuming a largely vegetarian diet.

Here’s a sure-fire weight loss tip: diets that work in the long-term are those which take a multi-faceted approach to addressing the root of our eating behaviors. Medical experts agree that one of the best ways to lose weight fast and keep it off for good is by following a doctor-supervised plan that is accompanied with dietary counseling, such as those offered at The Center for Medical Weight Loss – the nation’s largest network of weight loss physicians. Founded by Dr. Michael Kaplan, the Center boasts thousands of stories of weight loss success.

Alkaline vs. acid foods

It just so happens that most alkaline foods are inherently healthy and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Whereas foods that have an acidic effect are – you guessed it – the ones we really crave. Think anything processed or made with refined sugar, and you have an “acid-forming” food. Here’s a sampling of each to give you a better idea.

Alkaline foods:
Nuts, seeds, legumes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, peas, spinach, zucchini, carrot, potatoes, avocado, tofu and olive oil.

Acid-forming foods:
Beef, chicken, pork, veal, eggs, hard cheeses, milk, butter, white breads, pasta, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, white sugar, beer, coffee, wine and liquor.

Benefits of the alkaline diet

Naturopaths have long promoted an eating plan that is heavy in fresh produce and light in meat and sugars, and doctors agree that any diet that recommends an increase in vegetables, fruits and heart-healthy nuts is a positive thing.

On the flip side, detractors say there is no scientific evidence backing up the alkaline diet, and that by restricting animal proteins and dairy, people may miss out on vital nutrients such as calcium, iron and zinc. In truth, there are no studies proving the diet can significantly alter blood pH, and devotees may develop a leaner physique simply because they’re trading out processed carbs and alcohol for low-calorie veggies and green smoothies.

Diets that work are ones that strike a balance

In the end, it all boils down to balance and positive changes in eating patterns, which is where medical weight loss can help. So what is “medical weight loss,” and how does it work? Unlike fad diets it doesn’t involve pills or highly restrictive eating plans. It’s a comprehensive program developed by weight loss physicians who use your metabolism and body composition to determine the best plan of action for your individual needs. Their plans integrate nutritious, low-calorie diets, regular physical activity and counseling to help you break the cycle of food addiction.

The Center for Medical Weight Loss operates more than 450 locations nationwide. To find a Center near you, just enter your zip code in the space provided. Special introductory offers are available for first-time clients in most areas.