Here we go folks with the big diet debate…
Alkaline Diet vs. Low Carb Diet – Which is Better?
Each side has its own supporters which reverently believe that their plan is best. Studies abound for both of these diet plans and the pros and cons for each.
We all want to be healthier. And, many of us also want to lose weight.
I think the one main thing we can all agree upon is that obesity is the number 1 health risk facing American today.
The second main point to take away that I believe both sides of the diet debate will agree on is that many of the “FAD” diets;
- Don’t work, and
- Are very unhealthy
So, we are going to give an overview of the 2 most popular diets which include:
- Alkaline Diet
- Low Carb Diet
Each of these diets favors different food groups. And, this is where it becomes quite confusing. How do you know which is healthier?
Let’s start with the alkaline diet.
Overview of the Alkaline Diet
I think it’s pretty obvious from the articles you see here on Living Phit that we are big proponents of the Alkaline diet.
The reason for this is because we feel that the main focus of the alkaline diet isn’t specifically about weight loss.
It’s more about the health benefits that occur when focusing on food that is more alkaline and less acidic.
It’s possible that many readers don’t know that some foods that we eat are very acidic and that others are more alkaline.
Why should you care?
The reason is because the human body – especially the blood – can only exist if it has a pH level of just around 7.365.
If you’ve forgotten your basic chemistry, pH is the way we measure whether something is either alkaline or acidic.
The rating goes from 1 – 14. The number 7 is considered neutral.
Anything below 7 is acidic and anything which measures above 7 is considered alkaline. So, as you can see the body favors a slightly alkaline pH level.
Our bodies evolved this pH levels based upon the diets our ancestors ate for thousands of years. (1)
The problem is that our modern diets have changed drastically. Most of the foods we eat today are very acidic.
Although the body has many ways to adjust and expel acidic food waste – it can only do so much before it becomes overwhelmed.
The result is that this overflow of acidic toxicity begins to build up in the cells. Simply put, if it can’t expel the acidic build-up – the body has to store it.
Another main issue is the sodium – potassium conundrum.
The Paleo diets of our ancestors had a focus on foods which contained a high amount of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
The diet our ancestors consumed was also low in salt and sodium.
Now, our modern day diets our have completely reversed.
Modern fast foods and almost all processed foods have heavy concentrates of sodium, salt, processed sugar and flour and are high in calories.(2)
The result is that not only has obesity become a major health issue, many people have developed other health issues which are making them even sicker.
- High cholesterol levels (the bad kind)
- High Blood Pressure
- Cardiac issues
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Joint pain
Most of these people also experience lack of energy, and suffer from headaches and fatigue.
These health issues compound themselves even more because of lack of sleep and exercise.
I should also point out that the alkaline diet doesn’t completely eliminate carbohydrates or fat. No diet should because that in itself would also be very unhealthy.
The body needs small amounts of both fat and carbohydrates to maintain health.
Most alkaline diet experts recommend a mixture of a diet that consists of:
- 80% alkaline foods
- 20% Carbohydrates
I should also point out that other dieticians say that a 60/40 ration would also suffice.
Purpose of the Alkaline Diet
As I said previously, the focus of the alkaline diet is not on weight loss.
It’s about eating more alkaline foods to help your body detoxify. It’s about re-establishing the biochemistry of your body and eliminate the build up of acidity in your body.
Weight loss and the re-building of your muscle mass occur as a natural process of an alkaline diet. Your health and energy levels improve.(3)
The alkaline diet obviously favors alkaline foods.
Knowing the difference between which foods are acidic and which ones are alkaline is what the alkaline diet stresses.
Overview of the Low Carb Diet
I should note that there are many different low carb diets out there.
Some of these include:
- Ketogenic Diet – low carb – high fat diet
- LCHF Diet – also low carb – high fat diet
- Low Carb Paleo Diet
- The Atkins Diet
- The Mediterranean Diet
And, there are several other prominent forms of the low carb diet.(4)
The low carb diet is largely about significantly reducing carbohydrates in the food you eat.
The proponents of the low carb diet tout both weight loss and positive health effects that can occur by eliminating carbs from your diet.
So, what’ the big deal about carbohydrates?
What are carbohydrates?
In a nutshell, carbohydrates are a “calorie providing macronutrient found in many foods and beverages.”
There are different types of carbohydrates – both simple and complex. They are essentially further classified as:
- Simple Refined – such as that which you might find in white sugar
- Simple Natural – such as what you might find occurring in the fructose found in many fruits or lactose
- Complex Refined – such as what you would find in refined white flour used for baking
- Complex Natural – such as the carbohydrates found in many beans or grains
Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for the body.
Unfortunately, many food processors today add far too much extra refined carbohydrates to almost all of the processed foods we consume. This is mostly in the form of refined sugar and flour.
This is particularly true of the snacks we consume such as:
- White breads
- Cookies and cakes
- Sugar sweetened sodas and drinks
The body uses naturally occurring carbohydrates – specifically complex carbohydrates which it metabolizes into simple sugars during the digestive process. (5)
These simple sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream and are known as glucose. The important thing to remember is that complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly. This is good because they have much less effect on your blood sugar.
An increase in blood sugar stimulates the release of insulin. Insulin aids in helping your body to allow the glucose to enter the cells of your body.
Glucose is also stored in the liver and muscles. It is the main source of energy which fuels the energy you need for your daily and bodily function activities.
If too much is consumed, and it is not burned off – it then becomes converted to fat!
Purpose of the Low Carb Diet
The general idea of a low carb diet is that eating less carbs will lower insulin production. This will cause the body to burn the fat you have stored in your cells for energy. This in turn leads to weight loss.
Recommended Alkaline Foods Versus Low Carb Foods
Let’s talk about which foods you eat on both an alkaline and a low carb diet, and which ones they recommend you avoid.
What Do You Eat On a Low Carb Diet?
This is a bit tricky because there are many variations of the low carb diet.
Here, the best we can do is to be very general. But, I think you will get the gist of which food groups they favor.(6)
Low carb diets tend to eliminate most food which are high in carbohydrates and focus on(7)
- Meat such as beef, pork or lamb
- Fish such as Salmon, trout, haddock and many others
- Eggs – preferably those rich in Omega -3
- Nonstarchy vegetables such as Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and others which grow above the ground
- Fruits – such as apples, oranges, pears, blueberries, strawberries
The specific types of foods that would be eliminated or severely restricted under most low carb diets include:
- Most grain foods such as cereals
- Legumes (beans, lentils and peas)
- Starchy vegetables – especially those which are tubers or below the ground vegetables
- Some nuts and seeds
Most low carb diets will restrict the amount of carbohydrates that you can consume from none to around 0.7 to 2 ounces per day. This works out to roughly between 80 – 240 calories per day.(8)
However, the Mayo Clinic points out that:
In contrast, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calorie intake. So if you consume 2,000 calories a day, you would need to eat between 900 and 1,300 calories a day from carbohydrates.
Alkaline Foods to Eat And Which Ones to Avoid
The one thing we would like to point out here at Living Phit is that is that the focus of the alkaline diet in not on weight loss – it’s about body pH and healthier eating.(8)
The other main thing we believe about the alkaline diet is that you have a better range of food choices than in a low carb diet.
The list of foods we have which focus on alkaline based foods is quite vast. I’ll provide you with a brief summary on which alkaline foods to eat.(9)
We do include some foods which may be high in some carbs, but also avoid many of the proteins such as any type of acidic red meat.
However, we also allow cheat days so you don’t have to always avoid some of your favorite foods altogether.(10)
The best approach to learn more about alkaline foods is to read our comprehensive article – “High Alkaline Foods List – 105 Foods to Alkalize Your Body Fast!”
Here is our summary of foods which are very alkaline:
- Vegetables – we include both tubers and above ground vegetables. We especially focus on leafy green veggies
- Fruits – Includes all berries, apples, and many other fruits (although some fruits like oranges and grapefruits are acidic in their natural state – they metabolize as an alkaline food)
- Protein – We include eggs (avoid fried eggs), lean chicken, some fish, whey powder, and cottage cheese
- Nuts and Seeds – Be careful because some are very acidic. However, we include nuts and seeds such as almonds, chestnuts and flax seeds
- Sweeteners such as Stevia and Ki Sweet – avoid processed white sugar like the plague
- Spices and Seasonings such as basil, cayenne, curry, and all herbs along with others
Acidic Foods to Avoid
- Most oils
- Grains such as oats, wheat corn etc.
- Most dairy products
- Nuts such as cashews, peanuts, pecans, walnut and others
- White pastas
- Beans and legumes
Even though the alkaline diet focuses on alkaline foods and not weight loss, most people who follow this plan do lose weight in the process.
We highly recommend that you check out our Testimonials Page. Here you will learn about the many health improvements people experienced.
This included those who beat hypertension, eczema and psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and high cholesterol.
The proof and testimonials speak for themselves through the experience of actual people.
… and especially read our article on “People Who Lost Over 50 Pounds – The Better Body System”
Our featured alkaline plan is “Yoli – The Better Body System”.
We think this system is awesome!