Your diet and acidosis

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After years of figuring out simple methods that work for busy people, it all comes down to your acidic Western diet affecting your body in a negative way. Changing your diet now help you move past the constant worries about weight gain as you age.

The Western Diet and Acidosis

Our lives have long since moved away from the diets of our hunter/gatherer and industrial era predecessors.

Any diet you decide to implement must acknowledge the reality you live in.

As obvious as it may seem, the turkey-leg-eating cavemen have given way to what is known as the ‘Western’ diet.

But what is the Western diet, and how does it affect you?

To answer that, we can go back to the first famous monument you learned about in elementary school, the food pyramid. Take another look at the building blocks of this pyramid, and you see protein and cereal grains to be the proverbial cornerstones of our digestive metropolis.

The problem is that the streets of this food city are characterized by high-energy consumption and acid producing foods, both of which lead to the risk of losing muscle mass to fatty tissue.

There is an additional danger as well: the development of acidosis, or the increased acidity of bodily fluids — blood plasma — with age. Acid and acidosis may seem like scary words, but are much more so when speaking of the acid levels already present in your body.

What does this mean for the high-energy proteins of our Western diet?

The problem with those food pyramid cornerstones is that they metabolize into acid, unlike fruits and vegetables which metabolize into bicarbonate and produce alkali.

In truth, science has only recently revealed the importance of balancing your body’s pH through an alkaline diet. But studies show that diets high in alkali, in correspondence with a smaller acid load, have been seen to reduce muscle wasting and sustain healthy muscle/fatty tissue ratio in men and women.

Our Western diets and their relation to Acid Base Balance (ABB) are all the more of a strain on our bodies when we take into account its effects over a long period of time. Because aging also changes the overall health and the ability for your kidneys to function properly, we are left with bodies that have less capacity to create a healthy equilibrium of ABB, making metabolic acidosis hard to avoid in our later years.

Our kidneys are also central to maintaining our electrolyte levels, and when exposed to over-acidic foods, these electrolytes are sent out to combat acidity, leading to possible depletion. Cramping, leg pain, muscle weakness and fatigue are the lesser symptoms of low electrolytes; paralysis, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing and confusion are the more serious.

In other words, science is beginning to connect numerous chronic diseases and ailments— diabetes, arthritis and low bone density just to name a few— to our bodies struggling to deal with acidogenic diets later in life.

Lactic Acid

All this, and we’re still not done with the Western diet! Not only does the food you eat contain acid, but it can actually cause your body to become bogged down by a whole other kind of acid: lactic acid.

The longer you base your diet around animal proteins, the higher chance of you becoming inflicted by lactic acidosis, meaning you have an overabundance of lactic acid in your system.

The good news is that lactic acid can be dispelled by simple exhalation, so it could seem at first glance that this problem is only a breath away from being gone. It gets more complicated when you add stress and exercise in the mix. Because you naturally produce lactic acid when stressed and when exercising, that lactic acidosis mentioned earlier could stop your body from fully recovering.

Being stuck between Western meals and stress or exercise can lead to what is unattractively called the ‘lactic acid trap.’

If you don’t make a change in your eating habits, a certain amount of lactate could also be converted into fat. The problem is even bigger than fat though.

Chronic acidosis, or lactic acidosis, increases the possibility of developing degenerative diseases in the long run – even possibly contributing to aging – as diet, acidosis and aging all appear to be correlated, in some degree.

The fact that our diets cause several types of acidosis at the same time explains why I’m created this program in the first place: you lead a busy life, and giving you the simplest solution that does the most good is what all health experts should be focusing on.

The Acid Trap

Diet, acid load, and staying healthy as you age are all related.

Dietary proteins are the biggest contributors to the acid load within your body, particularly in the form of methionine and cysteine. These amino acids are important to understanding why giving up the Western diet is so important.

Methionine and cysteine are some of the few amino acids that contain sulfur. Sulfuric acid is extremely strong, and requires a lot of work for your body to excrete. Amino acids are actually very important to your health, however, in the 1980’s scientists found that organic keto acids are much better alternatives to things like methionine and cysteine.

Additionally, in people who have higher intakes of alkalis, the body produces more organic keto acids. Western diets have been known to indirectly promote weight gain for a long time now, but it’s only become clear recently that keto acid production may be the culprit.

Bringing It All Together

Just how related are diet, acidosis and aging? To answer that, it’s important to first look at the science of weight loss.

Weight loss is largely due to your body responding to changes in your diet, but not everyone is naturally predisposed to be diet-responsive. People who can successfully lose weight do so by what is called ‘proton leak.’ Proton leak accounts for about a quarter of your metabolic rate, which means it’s even slightly more important than exercise. Proton leak is not easy to change however; thyroid hormones are the only means your body has to regulate this process.

Now here we come full circle, and see how the acidosis caused by your diet can lead to weight gain and worse yet, make it more difficult to lose weight.

This is because acidosis decreases your thyroid hormones, leading to a lower metabolism and even affecting your body’s ability to respond positively to a change in diet. If you happen to be overweight and have lived on the Western diet for many years, you are accumulating both calories and acid that–due to inhibited responsiveness to changes in diet–is now that much tougher to work off.

Acidic diets are bad enough to begin with as they increase the chance of muscle wasting and promote unhealthy muscle/fatty tissue ratio. They also strain our kidneys and often leave us with chronic acidosis and reduced electrolytes. Lactic acidosis can decrease your thyroid hormones and end up lowering your metabolism.

To summarize, the biggest steps towards aging well can be made in the least amount of effort with an alkaline diet.

Diet isn’t just about today and tomorrow. It’s about next year. It’s my hope that you can now see the Western diet for what it is; that fewer animal proteins and more alkaline foods won’t just make you lose weight, it makes weight loss easier.

Foods high in alkali are good for you on their own merits, even before taking things like acidosis into account. Simple solutions do the most good for people on a budget of time.

It’s time to put that Western diet to rest, and make an easy choice that your body will love you for, and that will help you love your body too.

Posted on by Mary Clifton, MD

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