Transcript: Testing Your Diet with Pee & Purple Cabbage
If our body isn't buffering the acid formed from our diet with our bones, how is it neutralizing the acid? Maybe with our muscles! Our blood gets more acidic as we age, as our kidney function declines, and this may be a reason we lose muscle mass as we get older. The modern Western diet based on animal products generates an acid load that may cause a lifespan state of unnoticed and growing metabolic acidosis," and this chronic low-level diet-dependent metabolic acidosis might contribute to the progressive shrinking of our muscle mass as we age.
See muscle wasting appears to be an adaptive response to acidosis. When our muscles break down, amino acids are released into the bloodstream. Our liver can then take these amino acids and make something called glutamine, which our kidneys can use to get rid of excess acid. And indeed, in this three year study, those over age 65 eating alkaline diets were better able to preserve their muscle mass, which they think may be because the alkaline-producing fruits and vegetables helped relieve the mild acidosis that occurs with the ingestion of the standard American diet. But show me a study in which fruits and vegetables aren't associated with health benefits.
So when the latest review asks does an alkaline diet benefit health? If you're asking does a diet low in meat, eggs, and dairy—all acid producing, and high in fruits and vegetables with lots of dark green leafies, well then of course the answer is yes, an alkaline diet benefits health, but if you're asking does it matter what the pH of your pee is (whether your urine is acid or alkaline) regardless of what actually goes into your mouth? Then the answer is... still yes, it does matter, but the accepted benefits of having alkaline urine appear limited to two areas, lower risk of kidney stones and better uric acid clearance... We knew about kidney stones, but the uric acid data is new. researchers found that alkalization of the urine is effective for removing uric acid from the body... And if you remember uric acid is bad stuff, potentially increasing one's risk of fatal stroke, heart disease, and death.
So, those eating plant-based diets are at an advantage. The average vegetarian diet is alkaline producing, and the average meat-eating diet is acid producing. Even though there are some acid-forming meat-substitutes, like some of the Quorn products, they're not as bad as something like, tuna, and they're typically consumed in smaller quantities than meat consumers consume meat. As the protein in plants is usually accompanied by much more potassium, which is alkalinizing, there is good reason to meet protein needs preferably from plant sources. And, if you actually measure urine pH, those eating strictly plant-based diets have the greatest advantage, significantly more alkaline urine than omnivores.
How can you tell what your urine pH is? Well you can be all boring and order some pH paper strips to pee on—or, you can use what you should have right now in your crisper , a purple cabbage. Everyone should have a red or purple cabbage in their fridge since it one of the single best nutrition bangs for our buck, but you can also do science with it!
You can either boil some until the water turns deep purple, or a quicker safer way (since then you're not dealing with hot liquids) is to just blend some raw in your blender with some water for that gorgeous purple and just strain out the solids. Then what do you do with that royal purple liquid is you pour it in the toilet bowl after you pee. (You can imagine how much fun kids have with this).
If it stays purple your urine is acidic and you should eat more dark green leafy vegetables. If the toilet bowl turns pink your urine is really acidic and you should, eat more dark green leafy vegetables. You're looking for blue. If it turns blue that means your urine is neutral or even basic if it's sky blue, and that means you should… continue, to eat more dark green leafy vegetables.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ariel Levitsky.
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