Claimed for generations as the secret elixir to “cure” basically anything that besets the human, lemon juice has been hailed by successive cultures, like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. We’ve all been indoctrinated from an early age about the high Vitamin C in lemons.
We’ve been told a daily gulp of lemon water gives us healthier skin, less weight.. and in modern times, it’s touted as an ideal way to detox.
Poke a pH meter into a lemon and you’ll find it is acidic.
pH 2 in fact, which is a million times more acidic than neutral pH7.
So why do people tell us that it’s an alkalizer?
Lemon water – diluted lemon juice isn’t alkaline. But.. it has an alkalizing effect when we drink it.
Food has an acidic or alkaline effect on the body. But the hard-to-understand bit is the fact that the effect may not relate to the cause. Put simply, you can ingest something acid which creates an alkaline effect. But again we ask… Why?
For at least decade now, a calculation has been used to measure just how much acid reaches your kidneys after the food is broken down. It’s called the PRAL score (Potential Renal Acid Load) and it measures the result right where it matters – where the kidneys do what they do best – removing excess acidic or alkaline substances via your urine.
A positive PRAL score is saying that at the kidneys, the effect is acid-forming. while a negative score means at the kidneys, alkaline forming.
Note the word here: –forming. It means whatever the food we eat – acid or alkaline – it’s the effect – or the ‘forming ‘ that matters.
In other words, it’s determined not by the food’s acidity or alkalinity level, but by how our kidney processes it. acid-forming,
What about lemon? It has a negative PRAL rating because it produces alkaline byproducts after conversion by metalbolism..
There are some surprises in a list of negative (alkalizing) PRAL scores .
– … and more
Now at this point.. before you go dashing off to the supermarket to buy everything on this list.. a warning.
There’s a totally different play going on in some of these foods. It’s called oxalates. Oxalates are tiny crystals that form as a result of oxalic acid content in food. These oxalates don’t relate to the PRAL rules, and they are so little known that I would guess most people have oxalate damage without even knowing it. At their worst you’ll find them as kidney stones. In lesser concentrations, they will appear as all sorts of symptoms.
Here’s an article..
showing the enormous range of symptoms you may experience from oxalate damage. What you might notice.. if you’ve been up to date on symptoms of excess acidity.. is that they are basically identical to claimed symptoms of high acidity!
So are they the same? Good question! Let me know when you find out!
For you fast readers I’ll paraphrase this article’s findings on symptoms of acidic oxalate damage.
- Feeling unstable, weak, easily injured, slow to heal.
- Joint problems like gout, rheumatoid arthritis-like joint pains, stiffness, soreness, swelling, instability, or tendonitis.
- Osteoporosis, weak or broken bones, cracked teeth, stenosis.
- Unrestful sleep, neuropathic pain, poor concentration, mental and emotional fatigue, mood problems, other brain function issues.
- Dropping things.
- Light, noise, tooth, or skin sensitivity? Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Cognitive or mood issues.
- Inflammation, autoimmune issues.
- Thyroid problems, fatigue.
- Rashes and skin problems.
- Digestive problems.
- Urinary urgency; high urinary frequency; bladder or urethral pain; occasional incontinence; kidney pain; kidney stones; pelvic floor pain; or prostatitis.
- Private parts pain.
- Mineral deficiencies.
To give just one example of HOW oxalates affect us from the list above..
”In addition to calcium, oxalic acid in your body can combine with iron, magnesium, and other metallic nutrients your body needs, chemically locking them away into insoluble oxalate crystals. (It can also bind with lead, mercury, cadmium, and other toxic metals.) “
And here’s one glaring example of a so-called mega-alkalizer that is loaded with oxalates; SPINACH. Smoothie anyone?
- Can you see why…
I am theorizing that the acidity or alkalinity of any food is important..but isn’t the complete answer? Oxalates are incredibly nasty in so many ways.. and virtually all symptoms above have, as a result, inflammation, which, as you know, causes acidity!
You’ll see many articles making out that becoming more alkaline is all about eating from a list of specific foods. This list has not really changed for at least the twenty years I’ve been studying it.. which tells me that there’s not much research done on it. In may instances, it not only ignores the more up-to-date PRAL scoring system.. it completely ignores the oxalic acid effect!
If ever there was an internet derived health strategy.. this is it!
So whether lemon juice ends up with an alkalinizing effect and gets a ‘pass’ as a negative PRAL food, becomes rather irrelevant. The picture is MUCH bigger!
Here’s another final point.
You can tell if an oxalate diet is working in a very observable way. Oxalic crystals will begin appearing on your skin.
Just to get you started, check out the big oxalate loaded foods and see if they are on your healthy foods list:
Silver beet (swiss chard),
Textured vegetable protein,
..and that’s just a sample! There’s an equally long and loaded list of fruits.
So is there an alternative to lemon water that isn’t acidic? Yes.
- Drink alkaline water. Filtered alkaline water.
- Or use an alkaline supplement to supplement the amount of alkaline minerals you’ll get from an electric ionizer* if you have bought one.
Drink the real, naturally alkaline water that actually has dissolved alkaline minerals in it.
*Not the electrically induced stuff the MLM’s sell.
You’ll see water ionizer vendors saying you should have pH 9.5 as ideal.
Yes, it’s true, but water from an electric ionizer is, IMHO, ‘fake news’. The process of passing electricity through water does change the pH of the water but does not add to the amount of alkaline minerals in the final output.
You get no more than the alkalis that were in your water from your tap.
You can’t ‘make’ alkaline minerals by passing a current through water.
It may read 9.5 on a meter more a reagent but it’s what we call ‘unbuffered’ alkalinity, meaning it has no staying power in the body.
It is almost instantaneously neutralised by the smallest amount of body acid.
After all, aren’t we trying to alkalize by increasing the alkalis in our body, so we can stem and neutralise the acids we ingest before they rust us out?
The Alkaline Diet: Broken Open and deconstructed.
Chlorine in your Drinking Water: Is a Squeeze of Lemon the Answer?
Sally K Norton expands on Oxalate Damage here
The only Acid-Alkaline Food Chart in a book that we recommend.
IAN: I hope this helped untangle the alkaline diet mythology.
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