Doctor's Note

Now I have a low-flow toilet, so there’s very little water in the bowl to start with. The effect might not be as dramatic if diluted in a larger quantity of water. More bathroom chemistry can be found in Pretty in Pee-nk and Asparagus Pee.

What does acid have to do with bones? You might have missed the prequel to this video, Alkaline Diets, Animal Protein, & Calcium Loss.

How else can we protect our muscles? We can eat healthy enough to avoid statin drugs (see Statin Muscle Toxicity) and the neurotoxins that can cause movement disorders (Muscle Tremors & Diet).

Superfood Bargains is the video in which purple cabbage takes the gold, though it was unseated in Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck.

Why do I always go on and on about dark green leafy vegetables? Check out my 58 videos on greens and find out!

For more context, check out my associated blog post: Test to See If Your Diet is Alkaline or Acid Forming.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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  • marysaunders

    Thanks very much for posting this. We are entering a season where it is of great importance. I understand sweets can also increase acidity in the body. It’s great to have a simple way to test.

  • cathi

    is it me or is there a problem with the sound on this video? I’ve tried it on two devices and can get no sound.

    • Stephen Lucker Kelly

      It’s you. Not sure why you’re having problems. Try head phones.

  • cathi

    sorry – figured it out :)

    • Mike Logan

      How did you get the sound

    • Bev

      I get no sound either…what’s the secret to getting sound ?

      • Thea

        Bev: I too am not getting sound – and I have not had this problem before. Hopefully Dr. Greger’s technical people (should such exist) will read this and see if they can fix it.

        Thanks for reporting in.

      • Thea

        Oooh! I just figured it out! Somehow, the YouTube thingy got changed to a default of “mute”. Perhaps a YouTube upgrade? (read: bug)

        For the fix: On my screen, there is a speaker symbol just to the right of the play button. I was able to click it and adjust the sliding bar thing that showed up so that it went from zero sound to plenty of sounds. I hope this helps other people.

  • Blanster

    OMG, this is hilarious. So much more fun than the PH test strips. ;)

    • nosaelg

      Oh, so funny! I had to laugh at the end of this video too.

  • HappyPBD

    Oh, fun! Can’t wait to try it. I’m curious is it possible to be too alkaline? For example, number 11 in the test tube?

    • Eva

      If it’s 11 you should be dead :) In fact too much alkalinity can be deadly. Quite literally! But I guess in our world with loads of stress (which is acid producing) we can never be too alkaline.

  • AC

    Do results depend on the volume of either pee or cabbage?

    • jmikeg

      I agree. see my comment regarding this. thanks!

  • Gayle Delaney

    From WEB MD this week: “Tips to keep your joints healthy”

    “Drink Milk to Keep Bones Strong

    Calcium and vitamin D help keep bones strong. Strong bones can keep you on your feet, and prevent falls that can damage joints. Dairy products are the best sources of calcium, but other options are green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, ask your doctor about supplements.”

    Why do they teach this? Do they not know of the research Dr. G describes? Do they not want to know? Are they paid to ignore it? How can we expect people eating SAD to trust other sources over the docs at Web MD etc.?

    • Thea

      Gayle: Good find and good points. I do so share your frustration. Shame on Web MD.

      • Biscuit

        Monsanto sponsors Web MD.

    • roger the builder

      yep shame on Web MD,

    • jim

      People in the US and Norway consume huge amounts of dairy
      and have mucho osteoperosis. Asians are mostly lactose intolerant
      and have little or no osteoperosis?

      • AmbienWalrus

        “The belief that osteoporosis is prevalent in the West and rare in the East is a myth. There is consistent evidence that epidemics of hip fracture occur with ur­banization throughout Asia.”

    • Max_White

      Because the amount of calcium pulled from your bones to neutralize the acid is about 1/10 of the amount you gain back after the acid is neutralized.

      • Toxins
        • Max_White

          So basically, consumption of meat and milk has no impact on bone loss.

          Nobel prize material, right there.


          Simple fact known to anyone with half a brain.

          • Toxins

            I am unsure why the hostility is necessary, Dr. Greger does an excellent job of gathering the evidence and data FOR bone loss through an acidic diet and in turn, shows how the mechanism is misunderstood. Did you view first link?

          • Mark R. Mach

            Did you even take the time to watch the videos? Perhaps you should before you get hostile…

          • Max_White

            Gregger is a hack and a quack, and I would sooner trust my neighbour/fortune teller than this piece of shit asshole.

        • Angela

          How about this: I was diagnosed with osteopenia (quite progressive!) when I was only 21. “Healthy” omnivore diet all my life, grew up on home grown food and meats (we killed our own calf, pigs and chicken), lots of dairy (min 1/2 litre/day) milk and yogurts and cheese (homemade), plus every day fresh fruit and vegetables and bread with everything. In my family I was the only one ever to develop bone problem (my siblings not, sister could not digest it, so she ate only very little when our parents made her), I was the one who ate it at large amounts, at teenage years started even more, and when working as a trainer I added whey shakes with milk (for weight lifting, bodybuilding at the time). So by now I consumed 1-2.5 ltr of diary / day. Even weightlifting did not prevent osteopenia. My sis (2 years older) does not do any activities, no diary for years when she moved away, no health issues (occasional anemia). Me? Osteopenia was not the only thing I got on the way.
          In short-I’m now completely healthy! After 11 years of health battle, and doc told me that osteoporosis was inevitable (my bones at the time he said were like 70yo) I had it enough, went vegetarian, no improvement, then vegan, stopped progression, then raw reversed it all! Now since I’m raw for over 3 years, I had everything gone! (even family eczema problem)
          Foreign diary is toxic to our adult bodies, I just consumed it in larger quantities then average, to prove this.
          And “control subject” was my sis (and the rest of the family). Good news, my sis turned vegan when she saw what happened to me, her anemia (as it started to get worse) gone! In weeks!!! And she is even a smoker!

          • TuxSax

            Now your sister only needs to get rid of the cigarettes and she’ll be the healthiest ever!

          • Vege-tater

            I guess our genetics can make us more or less affected by animal products, but I am certainly one of the more, even though I was never a big fan…and I think the reason for that was the subtle feedback of ingesting something that had negative effects, even if not overt enough at the time to be specific. It sure took it’s toll over time though and if it wasn’t for the few REAL doctors, who aren’t deterred or intimidated by industry and mass media, getting the word out there, I’d still be worse than dead by now! Yeah, there is a worse than dead, and I was there. Thanks Dr G for all you do!

  • Jordan Hale

    Greetings long lifers!!! Hey I’m 100% vegan (for almost a year) and I eat more kale and spinach than Poopeye and Mr. Ed combined,… I’m on no meds except for combivent for asthma. (about one puff per day) but my Pee remained purple after this test. Needless to say I’m not happy about that. I WANT BLUE PEE!!! What else can I do to move towards alkalinity?

    • nc54

      Are you sedentary? That increases acid in the body. I would recommend weightlifting where you do a hard set then rest for a few minutes. Or you could sprint for, say, 40 yards, then rest for 3-4 minutes and repeat. Train to increase your power and speed.

      • Jordan Hale

        I walk for 45-60 minutes 6 times per week.

        • Eva

          I think just walking is not enough. I may be still young and need more active exercising, but you could gradually increase your exercising. Add some more active and sweat-producing training. Walking only increases the happy hormones :) But active sport can be a real booster!

    • Darryl

      In the cited study, vegans still had an acidic urinary pH of 6.15 ± 0.40, which would still be in the purple range for cyanidin (the pH indicator in red cabbage). The methyl red + bromothymol blue pH test strips aren’t expensive, and offer better resolution in the critical 6-7 range.

      A standard formula for estimating the potential renal acid load of foods is presented in Remer & Manz, 1995. It can be calculated from food composition data with the formula

      PRAL= 0.49 × g protein + 0.037 × mg phosphorus – 0.021 × mg potassium – 0.026 × mg magnesium – 0.013 × mg calcium

      and will yield positive values for acidic foods and negative ones for alkaline foods. I’ve added it as a column in this spreadsheet of plant food nutrition data. The most alkaline (non-dried) foods (per 100 g) appear to be palm hearts (-31.9) and yams (-15.12), but spinach (-11.84) and kale (-10.74) aren’t far behind. Nuts, grains, baked goods, and legumes are all somewhat acidic by the PRAL measure.

      • Toxins

        Here are additional items using these same calculations.

        Cereals, oats, regular cooked with water, w/o salt/ 2.18

        Bananas, raw/ -6.93

        Blueberries, raw/ -1.04

        Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked/ 2.18

        Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, w/o salt/ -3.57

        Cauliflower, cooked, boiled, drained, w/o salt / -1.33

        Carrots, cooked, boiled, drained, w/o salt/ -4.10

        Peaches, raw/ -3.11

        Beans, kidney, cooked, boiled, w/o salt/ -0.69

        Kale, raw/ -8.34

        Animal Foods

        Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, roasted/ 17.30

        Egg, whole, raw, fresh/ 9.43

        Fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked, dry heat/ 7.57

        Beef, bottom sirloin, tri-tip, separable lean only, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, cooked, roasted/ 12.79

        Cheese, cheddar/ 19.00

        • George

          Are there any grains that are in the negative range? if not, perhaps we should limit our consumption of grains and eat starchy foods like yams instead

          • Toxins

            I have not found any grains in the negative range, but overall, I do not think its a major concern as long as one balances it with other plant foods which tend to be highly alkaline.

          • Joe

            Many of the alkalizing diet people eat only millet and amaranth – as they say they have an alkalizing effect on the body. Although not true grains, they might be worth checking out. I also agree with Toxins on this one – in that a diet full of leafy greens and vegetables will probably balance out the addition of a few grains easily.

          • Toxins

            Millet is actually slightly acidic as well registering at 3.175 and I am assuming amaranth is about the same.

      • Darryl

        One interesting thing about that PRAL measure is the acidic contribution of phosphorus.

        The estimated average phosphorous requirement for adults is 580 mg, its so ubiquitous in foods that essentially no one is deficient, and the median intake is about 3 times the requirement. Yet food processors add more phosphorous compounds as preservatives, acidifying agents, pH buffers and emulsifiers. Excess phosphorous doesn’t just increase potential renal acid load, it impedes calcium absorption, increases kidney disease risk and mortality, and is a predictor of cardiovascular events and mortality (source).

        There’s 69 mg phosphorous (mostly as tartifying phosphoric acid) in every 12 oz can of Coke, and 55 mg in the diet version. Its not just eating away your teeth enamel.

      • roger the builder

        i think my lovely you are missing the point, ” know it all iteus”
        is a crippling disease

        • Thea

          roger: Daryl’s knowledge, contributions and time have been a huge benefit to the NutritionFacts community, greatly appreciated by everyone else. Your comment, on the other hand, is about tearing down, not “building” anything. Something to think about.

        • tedster

          roger: The time and effort that Darryl puts into his sound scientific responses and comments are greatly appreciated. If you can’t appreciate his contributions, then simply ignore them.

        • Vege-tater

          As is jealousosis and picayunitis. Seriously, dude? Wow.

    • Eva

      Sometimes excessive eating is also acid producing. Bad thoughts, sadness, negative emotions, stress, anger, etc… It’s not just the food that is alkalizing or acidifying.

    • saveourskills

      i wouldn’t worry about it. If your blood was actually acidic you would die. So just ignore this.

  • Karen

    How much purple solution is needed for each testing? Tablespoon, quarter cup, half cup, or even more?

    • sf_jeff

      In theory the shades should match regardless of density but in practice it will be hard to tell. The answer is basically “Enough so you can get a reading.” Don’t worry about a wrong reading – dilute blue looks like dilute blue. It doesn’t look like red.

  • Catherine J Frompovich

    Perfect! Could not have said better. This–correct pH, i.e., alkaline base–is KEY in utilizing nutrition and diet for treatment and management of any type of cancer. Thank you for your ‘kitchen science 101 course’ in how to determine pH.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Thank god Dr. G is not a rock-star – he would run away with all the ladies !!!!

    • Veganrunner

      Are you sure he isn’t? I went to one of his lectures. The women were kinda swarming. Me included. I felt like a groupie.

      • Plantstrongdoc M.D.


  • Amy

    So if the protein in omnivore diets aren’t leaching our bone calcium, as explained in your previous video, is alkaline diet and the prevention of age related muscle loss promoting a decrease in osteoporosis that might be seen in societies that follow traditional plant based diets and don’t have osteoprosis? Has that relationship be specifically looked at?

  • wendy

    What kind of volume of purple cabbage solution here are we talking, a cup, 2 cups. Do we blend up an entire cabbage and how much water do we add to the blender? I need an SOP STAT

  • jmikeg

    Good video, but as a chemist, I was needing more specifics about the cabbage prep: How much water? Boiled for how long? etc etc. I was surprised that wasn’t included, given all the statistical and analytical chemistry details that most people reading this site wouldn’t appreciate.
    Thanks for doing this work! I read/listen to almost every one in my effort to decide what’s true and what’s just opinion, or speculation (even by fellow MDs! online)

  • isentr0pic

    I broke out the pHydrion 5.5 to 8.0 tape. Apparently my peanuts and pistachios addiction is overpowering my green tea, broccoli sprouts, 99% vegan, 90% whole foods regimen. Results pH=6.2 on the acid side. (Whole
    Food Reference: I consider Restaurant spaghetti and my extra virgin olive oil to be junk foods.) Raisins look good so I may indulge in my whole food vegan candy: stuff mouth with raisins and peanuts and chew. And maybe up the ante on the powdered kale I make into a tea or as my wife calls it a dark green veggie liquor that she won’t touch but I love.

  • Richard Pendarvis

    Thanks for posting this. Before becoming a vegan, I let my health go for over 30 years and my weight went out of control. As a result I became a type 2 diabetic and my arteries all clogged giving me high blood pressure. I was put on crestor (40 mg per day), metformin, and high bp medication (quinapril/hydrochlorothiazide). Now my weight and overall cholesterol levels are pretty good but my high bp is only controlled and my A1C was still 6.1. My physician lowered my crestor dose to 5 mg and I would like to get rid of it. He says that it is necessary to keep my LDL down and has some effect in preventing Alzheimers. I am wondering what I should do.

    • Toxins

      What constitutes your vegan diet?
      Perhaps you should consider reducing your sodium intake to no more than 1500 mg a day, avoid ALL oils, all white flours and processed foods, and consume a diet primarily consisting of complex carbohydrates, such as beans, potatoes, brown rice, oats etc with veggies. Also consuming cruciferous greens each day will prove helpful.

      • I would agree with Toxins post. The oils will contribute to your insulin resistance and interfere with any plans to lose fat. You may be one of the patients who can benefit on taking a statin. I think it is best to avoid statins as much as possible. To help make a decision you can ask your clinician what the NTT (i.e. Numbers to Treat) is for your LDL level. You might find several of Dr. McDougall’s newsletters of interest see 9/02 on Cholesterol, 6/03 on cleaning out arteries and 5/07 on statins. Congratulations on the improvement and good luck going forward.

        • Gayle Delaney

          I really appreciate this sort of cross-referencing, Dr. Forrester. Your join-forces attitude is very welcome.

          My thought is that the more banding together, rather than competing among people such as Drs. Fuhrman, Esselstyn, Ornish, Mc Dougall, and Greger, the stronger will be the voice for personal and governmental diet reform. I know little about Dr. Neal Barnard, and you, but you know what I mean. Competitive spirits have done much to cripple the advance of my own field (the psychological study of dreams) since the petty, but fanatic (true-believer-syndrome) battles of Freud and Jung and most who followed.

          BTW, who are the women researchers or publicly-oriented female authors, doctors, etc. in this Plant-based world of education and practice?

  • Lawrence

    So, doctor, does eating animal protein contribute to osteoporosis or not? Your previous video placed some doubt on this and this video has not clarified the issue.

  • Karen

    The sound doesn’t work for me either

  • Darryl

    Shouldn’t the chromophore cyanidin (0.21% by weight of red cabbage) do its trick regardless of extraction method? The 6 diacylated triglucosides of cyanidin found in red cabbage doubtless vary in solubility and stability, but according to the first link, the glucose substituents don’t change chromophore electron confinement or color absorption, much.

    This kitchen chemistry demonstration is evidently regularly done in California schools. They use the blender method.

    • Veganrunner

      Darryl what would we do without you!

      I started adding the fenugreek to my morning smoothy. I stopped one week later. I don’t like smelling like maple syrup. Actually I think it made me smell sour. But it was amazing to experience the smelly armpits. Now on to the pee!!!

      • Darryl

        I tried it but once, and discovered I didn’t particularly care for the fenugreek aftertaste in my regular strawberry/banana/flax smoothie. Back to lentil dals with double and treble the recipe spices.

  • Susan Sakwa

    It seems that this whole thing goes in a circle for isn’t it the muscle pull on the bones that causes the bones to strengthen (please disregard my untech wording) so if the muscles are weakened the bones are not strengthened as well with exercise.

    • Veganrunner

      Hi Susan,
      Bones are one of the most dynamic tissue in the body. Best way to prevent bone loss is to hit the ground. Walk, run, jump, skip rope. And yes lift weights. But that doesn’t compare to the feet hitting the ground.

  • Paul

    I love your videos. Should I be concerned about being too alkaline? I eat an organic, unprocessed plant base diet. My pH strips go up 8.0. About half the time my morning urine pH is in the 7’s, but the other half it is 8+.

  • Gayle Delaney

    Yesterday I posted Web MD’s advice in their huge circulation weekly emailing:” Drink Milk to Keep Bones Strong.”

    Today I received Univ. of California’s Berkeley Wellness Letter email on “8 Facts About Milk.”


    The Berkeley Wellness Letter includes a warning not to believe anti-milk groups that dairy harms bones, states that there is no research showing that connects milk to mucous production, and so on. Here is the article. Is there anyone on the TEAM who could write letters and leave comments on WebMD and BWL?

    8 Key Facts About Milk

    At one time, milk was promoted as “the perfect food.” Of course, no one food is sufficient in itself, but milk and other dairy products are very nutritious (they remain the chief source of calcium in the American diet) and can be part of a heart-healthy diet. Still, legitimate questions, plus a number of myths, have multiplied. The arguments are highly politicized, with the dairy industry on one side and milk opponents on the other. Fortunately, there is plenty of well-designed research to help answer the questions you may have about milk.


    Is there a cancer connection?

    Does cow’s milk cause cancer or protect against it? There’s no clear link between milk and cancer, one way or the other. Dairy opponents say milk increases breast, prostate and ovarian cancer risks. But only a few studies support this, and many studies have found no increased risk. In addition, milk may reduce colon cancer risks, because of its calcium and vitamin D. For example, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2006 found that people who drank very little milk had a somewhat higher risk of colon cancer than those who drank at least a glass a day.


    Is milk good or bad for bones?

    Don’t believe claims by anti-milk groups that dairy harms bones. Though osteoporosis rates are lower in Asia, where dairy is rarely consumed, other factors other than diet affect bones, and most studies show that calcium from dairy is protective. Dairy is protein-rich, and very high protein intake slightly increases calcium excretion. But some protein is needed for strong bones, and dairy’s high calcium may more than offset any small adverse effect of its high protein. Plus, in addition to calcium, milk provides vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and other key bone nutrients.


    What about milk and heart disease?

    If you consume a lot of whole milk, whole-milk yogurt and cheese, you may see your blood cholesterol levels rise, especially if these foods contribute to weight gain. But you can get dairy products in nonfat or low-fat versions, which are lower in calories. There is evidence that increased intake of milk is linked with a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack. Certain substances in milk may even help lower cholesterol. In addition, nonfat or low-fat dairy products are an important part of the DASH diet, designed to control blood pressure.


    Does milk cause acne in teens?

    For many years, teens and their parents have blamed diet for acne outbreaks—with chocolate the prime suspect. Most experts don’t think specific foods play a role. Still, some dermatologists disagree, and some blame milk. The theory is that hormones in milk interact with human hormones and cause pimples. In the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2008, researchers presented preliminary evidence that skim milk was associated with acne in young boys. There was no explanation for why only skim (not whole) milk would have this effect.


    Can milk help you lose weight?

    Some studies have suggested that milk (or its calcium) can help people lose weight or at least prevent weight gain. A few years ago the dairy industry trumpeted this possibility in ads, but the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) told it to stop doing so. Even the positive studies, which were mostly funded by the dairy industry, showed only very small benefits over long periods.


    Is it important to drink organic milk?

    Studies have consistently found no major nutrition or safety differences between conventional and organic milk. Batches of milk tested may vary—organic milk may have higher (or lower) levels of nutrients than conventional—because the composition of milk depends on the cows’ diets, the season and other factors. If you feel you are voting for better agricultural and humane practices, and can afford the high price of organic milk, that’s a reason to buy it. Whatever you do, always buy pasteurized dairy products, since raw milk is dangerous.


    Does milk increase mucus production?

    Thus far, studies have found no connection between milk and mucus formation. This idea persists because whole milk tends to coat the mouth briefly. If you don’t like this quality of whole milk, that’s yet another reason to switch to low-fat or nonfat milk. If you find milk unpleasant when you have a cold or cough, you can simply stop drinking it until you feel better.


    What if you are lactose intolerant?

    People who have difficulty digesting lactose (the natural sugar in dairy) can consume lactose-reduced products or take pills that contain lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose) before consuming dairy. Yogurt tends to be less of a problem, since bacteria in it break down some of the lactose. Still, if you don’t like dairy products, or they don’t like you, you need not eat them. You can get calcium from other foods, including leafy greens such as collards and broccoli, canned salmon with bones, soybeans and calcium-fortified foods.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    You’re talking Old School now bro!

    This is what my first college Chemistry teacher used in 1984 for us to use as an indicator to determine the acidity or alkalinity of chemical solutions. Quite cool stuff!
    I never thought of having my kids have fun with this in the toilet bowl.
    Guess what kids? Tonight we’re going to have a pee party!

    • Thea

      HemoDynamic: You just made me laugh out loud!

  • healthyquest

    Watched the video, did have purple cabbage in the fridge but chose to use the test strips I also had. My urine test strip showed 7.6 pH so my husband did his. We eat the same things all day every day so should be close, right? Wrong, his showed 5.4 pH. So decided to do a saliva test to see what that showed, my saliva test was 5.6 pH & his saliva test was 7.6 pH. Now, I am really confused, how can our pH be so different between urine & saliva???

  • Mike Logan

    How do you get the sound on this video

  • FruitandStrength

    I took the test and the results are here:

  • Max_White

    Instruction weren’t clear.

    Ended up with my dick stapled to a cactus.

    On a more serious note, I eat meat(The red and juicy kind) and fat(the buttery kind. none of that plant matter. yuck), with about a fruit a day.
    Veggies are blech.

    Urine turned sky blue.

    Where’s your vegan god now?!

  • Lisa21012

    My husband and I both did the test with pH strips that we already had. I took the test about an hour after my morning glass of lemon water. My urine was very alkaline. We each continue to test throughout the day. I’m an avid green tea drinker and that seemed to have an acidic effect when tested. My husband tested before and after lemon water showed the lemon water having the same acidic effect that I saw. This is a pretty small sample but logically makes sense. Do you think regular consumption of lemon water should be encouraged?

    • Toxins

      I dont see any problem with consuming lemon water. I must say though, that’s alot of purple cabbage down the toilet!

  • cathi

    Sorry for the delay in response Mike and Bev. I hope you have been able to figure it out. My problem was my own stupidity – wrong ear buds.

  • berlanda


  • tribalus

    Interesting… but how they are sure that the amino acids comes from the skeletal muscles, they could comes in the blood stream from the diet too. It is a bit frustrating – the acidosis is caused by the (dietary) muscle mass and is neutralized by amino acids comes …. also by animal muscle mass (your own).

    I don`t doubt that the plant-based diet support the muscle mass prevention, I could see on myself. I start a plant diet as experiment … to see how I will feel and I was curious of consequences about 4 months ago. One on the effects is my fitness improvement, without to change anything of my exercises – they are quite low intensive – 20 min jogging, 3-4 series pullups, 50 pushups (3-4 series) once weekly. This is quite little, so I had not any effect until I switch to plant diet. May be is visual effect of some fat loss (I have never been overweight), but I looks more muscular now. Increase the maximum pullups in series with about 30 % for a month also. Except of fat loss, other possible explanation could be in improvement of protein gain/loss ratio in the muscles. Of course this is only one of the many good effects I feel after I avoid meat and most of the animal product (except yogurt) completely.

  • Stephen Lucker Kelly

    How much water should you add to it, I juiced it and have not added water, so when I peed in it… it didn’t change colour at all… I added some acid and it went red… What does that mean?

  • Art

    when substances are mixed it is as purple as the purple cabbage… confused here. any heads up or how to interpret it?

    • HappyPBD

      I believe the video (4:15) and the transcript address your question:

      “If it stays purple your urine is acidic and you should eat more dark green leafy vegetables.”

  • Ronald Chavin

    Dr. Greger is making a big mistake by getting us to become obsessed about acid versus alkaline. The most recent studies have shown that acid versus alkaline does not directly affect our bone health. However, the combination of more than 100 phytonutrients in plants will improve our long-term bone health (and our long-term muscle health, kidney health, etc.). Studies indicate that people who eat garlic, onions, green tea, and soybean foods tend to have good bone health. However, the Japanese fermented soybean food called, natto, appears to very easily be the grand champion for bone health. The map of where natto is most heavily consumed in Japan and the map of where hip fractures are least likely to occur in Japan are almost exactly identical. Despite studies in China proving that overall consumption of soybean foods definitely improves Chinese bone health and despite double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies proving that swallowing genistein pills will substantially improve bone density, there was no visible correlation between bone fractures and the consumption of any soybean food other than natto in Japan:

    Having an alkaline urine may have disadvantages. Although it has been shown that the good bacteria thrive extremely well in the presence of non-tannin phytonutrients and that vegans almost always have much better intestinal microflora than omnivores, a large percentage of the good bacteria are acid-loving lactic acid bacteria (lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) and may thrive better in the presence of the LEAST alkaline non-tannin phytonutrients rather than in the presence of the most alkaline non-tannin phytonutrients. [Tannins have been shown to inhibit both the good bacteria and the bad bacteria, although one of the good bacteria, namely, Bacillus subtilis natto, can survive triphala, pomegranate, cranberry, and other strong tannins]. For example, adding citric acid to phytonutrients in test tube experiments will greatly increased the number of lactobacilli. However, adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) will not increase the number of lactobacilli in test tube experiments, possibly because ascorbic acid isn’t as strong of an acid as citric acid:

  • matt

    I will try this when I get home thanks

  • Vegan Minstrel

    City water is already alkaline, so it’s best not to do this test in a toilet bowl which will give a false positive result. The purple cabbage water will turn blue before urine is even added.

  • Thierry Vienna

    This video is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks Doctor!

  • Is there any basis for the claim that alkalizing diets fight cancer?

  • katCA

    Your side shows that soy and lentils are highly acidic. For those with IC, snd vegan, what can we eat for protein and reduce the acid in urine and in our bodies…and as we age?

    • Toxins

      Lentils and tofu are not highly acidic, but mildly acidic. Vegan sources of protein include everything you eat, as all these foods have adequate protein. There is no need to seek out protein rich foods.

    • Yes they’re not so acidic that eating green vegetables and fruits can’t balance it out.

      I’ll have to sort of disagree with toxins on not seeking out protein rich foods like legumes however. I’m not saying you need loads. Providing you’re eating sufficient calories, and your diet isn’t too fruit based, it is pretty easy to get enough protein without legumes, nuts and seeds, but getting most of your protein from grains might leave you a little short on lysine so it’s best to eat a cup or so most days.

  • Joe Mitchell

    peeing on cabbage may be fun and good therapy for R.Kelly but I’d rather eat it!

  • Whoopie I’m dark blue

  • Cookalkaline

    Thanks I think your info is invaluable. I post alkaline recipes on my blog at
    Living an alkaline lifestyle is not difficult and we would all be healthier if we adopted this way of eating.

  • Ruby

    Awesome video Dr G! :) And I DO have a purple cabbage, right in my kitchen, fermenting as I type, with wonderful juicy purple liquid all ready. Can’t wait to test my morning pee daily and judge it based on my daily diet. Really awesome!! :))

  • Frankie O’reilly

    Why does my urine turn red when I drink beet juice???

    • Toxins

      Thats totally normal, it happens when you eat whole beats as well.

      • Frankie O’reilly

        Wow I must full of them cause it always does in my stool as well .Will this improve over time? I became Vegan a few months ago. Thanks

        • Toxins

          Yes it happens in the stools too. Ive experienced that myself. No it wont stop if you keep eating beats, but it not a bad thing. No harm will come from this.

  • Louis

    I did the test yesterday and my pee stayed pink. Ate lots of veges etc the rest of the day and this morning. Now it stays purple, getting better. But then I had a fruit smoothie, apple, banana, raisins and amla powder. 30min later my pee went pink again. All these fruits are alkaline so this should not have happened. Is it because of the sugars in the fruit that urine goes acidic again?

  • Louis

    I have tested this again with the same result. Is there some truth in the Acid/alkaline foods list on the website? Here foods like “raisins” and “apples” for example are on the acidic foods list due to the sugars in the foods becoming acidic. Your comment on this would be appreciated.

  • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

    Can your urine become too alkaline? I tested it today with a ph strip and it seems that it’s closer to 8 than to 7. It’s the 4th week of my diet change towards a plant-based one…

  • tina stamatakis

    dr greger does it again!!!
    your videos are always informative and fun!
    thank you for your never ending dedication to making us all
    healthier (and keeping us entertained)!

  • Teresa

    Out of curiosity – how much “liquid” do you need to pour for this experiment? Just till the water changes color?

    • Rawdaddy

      I was thinking the same thing. If u put to much purple in, u’d never be able to change the color.

  • JSB3

    mine stayed purple :-(

  • Liz

    Interesting! I just had to do a medical, and my urine pH was 5. I was very surprised, as I am vegetarian since 25 years, eat mostly organic and unprocessed, and eat only plant-based since more than a year. No alcohol, no smoking, no medicine, no drugs. And I do exercise a lot. How can my pH be so low?

  • Sherrie

    My urine pH was 7.4 but my blood pH is too acidic at 6.9. I only eat fruits, veggies, and small amount of nuts. I do not eat animal products or processed foods. Why is my blood pH too acidic?

  • Jeanne

    I have a couple of questions….

    1) can your urine be too basic?

    2) What are some possible health risks from too high a pH. (In the video about the cabbage, nothing was mentioned).

    3) can someone eating a WFPB diet get kidney stones?

    4) If so, wouldn’t there other evidence to indicate this is happening (blood work?)

    5) If so, are there foods to avoid on WFPB diet that would help stop the formation of kidney stones?

    6) What else can I do to help stop UTI?

  • tbatts666

    I have ADHD, and I occasionally take amphetamines to get things done.

    I have never liked taking them, and have been breaking my pills into smaller pieces to get smaller doses.I recently went to the doctor and she seemed surprised at the tiny doses of amphetamines I take.

    I also recently learned that the treatment for amphetamine overdose is to acidify the urine. Lower pH draws amphetamines out of the body and into the pee.

    Might vegans with ADHD be slower secretors of amphetamines? Might vegans at be higher risk for amphetamine overdose due to alkalanized urine?

    Any other vegans taking amphetamines out there?

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      HOLY SHIT!!!!
      A clearance rate difference of 7500% from between lowest and highest urinary PH.
      So when I was slowly eating less and less meat in favor of a WFPBD, I was slowly poisoning myself because I was taking my dex-amfetamine?
      Happily I have a similar attitude as tbatts666 when taking my pills, typically I only take them lifting down’s up, so being non-compliant might have been a brain saver this time.

      Choline might help you go down, make the world a little less harsh, it has a similar mellowing effect as a cigarette but it lasts longer.
      I sup my WFPBD now with 500- 1000 mg. My brain went pressure cooker critical for a long time (half a year),
      first day 750 mg choline later pressure was off, it was amazing relief.

  • Teresa

    Quorn contains chicken eggs.

  • alexih

    At 3:07, is there a typo on the slide? It says “Yofu soy,” and I think that should be “tofu soy.”

  • Greenstar

    For the past three years I havae been a vegetrian and almost a vegan for the past two years. I have been watching your videos for these three years and am covinced because of the evidence you present, that plant based eating is the way to go. I appreciate all the research and work that you do to educate us. I grow my own vegetables but during the winter often have to resort to store bought vegetables.

    Even with my good diet, I was recently diagnosed with cancer of the anus and will be going in a few days to have chemo and radiation treatments. I will be staying at a lodge connected with the oncology section of the hospital, for seven weeks. My meals will be provided for me-hospital cafeteria meals which I do not consider adequate for my way of eating or for my health, especially at the moment. I will be taking my own fruits and vegetables and baking with me to supplement the meals there.

    As food is such an important part of being healthy and helping to recover from illnesses, I cannot understand why more attention isn’t paid to nutrition in hospitals.

    My question is: do you have a recommendation for what vegetables would be best for my condition? I do eat a lot of pumpkin and squash too, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, etc.


  • Wade Patton

    I did the test and was mid-scale. Then I drank a quart of alkalized water (sodium bicarbonate per another video here) and moved to the blue side. Now is good time to re-check, been vegan all week!

  • TuxSax

    You didn’t mention what does it mean if your pee remains yellow, as in number 11 probe. Can we be in a TOO MUCH alkaline diet?

  • Kelly H

    I was wondering just as other people that have posted what the amount of water vs urine should be. How much water do we add to the blender. When is the best time to measure? Does it matter?

  • Claudia

    Wouldn’t other additives in the water, like chlorine or fluorine, affect the color? I just poured some purple cabbage juice into the sink water and it turned a beautiful light blue.

  • saveourskills

    If you want to build muscle a real way and not waste a bunch of your time testing pee and wishing on a star then you need all 3 items off this list:

    1 – A caloric surplus
    2 – enough protein – bonus points for protein w/ a high leucine content. .6 to 1.2 grams per # of body weight. If you are really obese then use your goal weight. If you are trying to lose weight then the best you can do is eat enough protein to preserve your existing muscles while you cut.
    3 – Pick up heavy things and put them down.

    Nobody ever got swole eating cabbage and testing their pee.

  • dogulas

    So why is it that osteoporosis is worst in the most affluent countries? This seems to be saying that meat and dairy consumption doesn’t do anything to cause weaker bones. Why is there less osteoporosis in populations that consume less meat and dairy?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      I read that differently, that the richer the country the poorer the health and the more meat and dairy consumed the more osteoporosis and hip fractures observed. We know milk is not necessarily healthy for the bones. All if our videos on osteoporosis may help explain further. And this fact sheet by the Physicians Committee explains more. This study hits on rates from different countries.

      • dogulas

        Thanks for the reply! According to the video above, the fact sheet by the Physicians Comittee is not correct:

        “Animal protein tends to leach calcium from the bones, leading to its excretion in the urine. Animal proteins are high in sulfur-containing amino acids, especially cystine and methionine. Sulfur is converted to sulfate, which tends to acidify the blood. During the process of neutralizing this acid, bone dissolves into the bloodstream and filters through the kidneys into the urine.”

        According to Dr. Greger, bone does not dissolve into the bloodstream as a result of sulfur-containing amino acid consumption from meat. Assuming that is true, meat consumption has no affect in bone health in that particular regard.

        My question is what phenomenon from meat consumption causes osteoporosis, if not through the acid-buffering issue (refuted above)? “Is Milk Good For Our Bones” suggests galactose might be a culprit, but it’s still not known. But that’s just for milk. Is it likely only the milk that is the culprit? There seems to be no more evidence for meat affecting bone health.

        Full disclosure, I do not promote meat or milk consumption at all, I just want to know my facts.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          There are likely numerous factors. Check out Dr. Forrester’s comment and his book recommendation. I published a paper with the author, Dr. Lanou, and she really knows the science on bone health and diet. I think that may be your best resource. Also, check out some papers on ecological data. As I mentioned, the wealthiest populations have higher rates of hip fracture.

          • D.R.

            Joseph – Going back to the source cited

            L.M. Ausman, L. M. Oliver, B. R. Goldin, M. N. Woods, S. L. Gorbach, J.
            T. Dwyer. Estimated net acid excretion inversely correlates with urine
            pH in vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians, and omnivores. J Ren Nutr 2008
            18(5):456 – 465.

            The vegans have higher pH urine but have a lower net acid excretion. I though the NEA would be higher if such diet are more effective at removing uric acid. What am I misunderstanding?
            Thanks D R

  • Yvonne

    Alkaline foods, water, massage and prayer. Love the sour cherries for healing the gout. It works!

  • David Johnson

    How do you interpret the EPIC study in which vegans and meat eaters had the highest uric acid levels, higher than vegetarians, and fish eaters?

  • Carol

    Does the amount of cabbage water matter? It seems the result will be different if we add 3 cups of it vs. one cup.

  • Vege-tater

    Okay, don’t play with your food is an old adage, but playing with your pee….hmmm. Sounds like great fun to get the grandkids to eat more “alkaline”! (Sounds so much better than ‘eat your veggies’ when you’re a kid.) Hey, anyone, what about the PH of the water in the bowl…our water system is made alkaline on purpose, wouldn’t that alter the result of just pouring the cabbage juice into the bowl? A lot easier than the alternative, but wouldn’t that skew the result?

  • The DIY Hacks

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