Which is more sour vegetables or meat

Lots of vegetables, little meat: what are the benefits of an alkaline diet?

  • Sour doesn't always make fun: If the body becomes acidic due to our eating habits, this can lead to pain or fatigue.
  • However, countermeasures are very easy: The body can be effectively helped with an alkaline diet.

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Again and again we put our diet to the test: We often focus on sugar and fat or on the question of how many animal products should be on the menu.

The influence of our diet on the acid-base balance in the body usually does not play such a major role. But the topic of alkaline nutrition could gain in importance. Because, according to the assumption: Our usual diet leads to acidification of the body - and this can cause discomfort.

Causes of Acidification

Nutritionist Jürgen Vormann describes this condition as latent acidosis - this means an over-acidification that cannot be directly detected. The cause lies in our protein-rich diet, according to Vormann, because particularly protein-rich foods are acidically metabolized by the body.

In his opinion, we counteract this with insufficiently alkaline foods such as vegetables, salad and fruit. The result: the excess acid has to be excreted through the kidneys.

"Kidney capacity decreases from around the age of 30," says Vormann, explaining the problem. Every year they lose about one percent of their ability to excrete acid. According to Vormann, the problem does not exist the other way around: If there is an excess of bases, these are easily excreted by the body.

Food with different effects

Meat, fish and dairy products are metabolized acidic, as are pasta and cereal products. Cheese, in particular, including old hard cheeses such as cheddar or parmesan and processed cheese, have it all when it comes to acidity. Fats and oils are neutral foods.

Vegetables and fruits are among the foods with an alkaline effect. Fennel and spinach, for example, have quite high values ​​here. In the case of fruit, on the other hand, this effect is greatest with dried figs and raisins as well as bananas, black currants and kiwis, explains Antje Gahl from the German Nutrition Society (DGE).

"We do not specifically recommend an alkaline diet, as the acid-base balance is regulated automatically and healthy people do not have to worry about serious disturbances from certain foods," explains Gahl. Because with a few exceptions such as old age, high-performance sport or a very one-sided diet, the body is constantly able to compensate for an imbalance. "Nonetheless, we recommend a plant-based diet and that helps reduce acids," says Gahl.

In its ten rules for healthy eating, the DGE advises, among other things, to consume five servings of vegetables and fruit a day and to eat a maximum of 300 to 600 grams of meat and meat products per week. If you want to change your diet accordingly, Gahl advises you to do it slowly. Raw food in particular can lead to bloating and gas if the body is not used to it.

The problem with measurability

Latent acidification is hardly measurable. Although the pH value of the blood can be determined, according to Vormann this is not meaningful. He says: "The body does everything to keep the pH of the blood constant at around 7.4. Everything else requires treatment or even a medical emergency."

For this constant value, the body breaks down bases in the bones and connective tissue, for example, and increases the acid concentration in the connective tissue in order to regulate the excess acid. In the long term, a slightly acidic environment prevails in these areas. But this is difficult to measure in medical practice, according to Vormann.

The pH value of the urine, on the other hand, is more of a snapshot - it fluctuates over the course of the day and depends on what you have consumed. "A one-off measurement says practically nothing," explains Vormann. "The value becomes a little more meaningful if, for example, you measure every morning for a week or two." Still, it doesn't really make you any smarter than that.

So this is the crux of the matter: in principle, apart from medical studies with complex measurements, it cannot be determined whether a person is slightly over-acidic. The symptoms are also non-specific: These include tiredness, pain for no apparent reason or changes in the skin and nails.

Trying out what is good for you

Because it is difficult to measure acidity, the only thing that helps in the end is to try out whether it improves your well-being if you eat more vegetables, salad and fruit instead of meat, dairy products and pasta. For most people that would mean fundamentally changing their diet.

"If you eat 100 grams of steak, the body needs 400 grams of vegetables to balance out the acid load," explains Vormann. It makes no difference whether the vegetables are steamed or eaten raw - as long as they are not "cooked to death". "We need proteins, no question about it," he emphasizes. "But we should also eat a lot of basic foods to compensate for that." (nis)

Sources used:

  • Material from the dpa
  • Acid-Basen-Forum.de: Food table
  • German Nutrition Society e.V .: 10 rules of the DGE
  • Jürgen Vormann (January 22nd, 2021): Base food, miracle weapon. How the latent hyperacidity makes us sick from the age of 40 and lets us age prematurely
Rice, potatoes and noodles are eliminated from the menu, especially on low-carb diets. A low-carbohydrate diet may result in shedding pounds, but completely avoiding these important sources of energy can even damage the body.