T Nation

Protein on Alkaline Diet?

I don’t want this thread to devolve into a debate on whether the alkaline diet is scientifically grounded or not, but does anyone know how they would get enough protein to build muscle on an alkaline diet?

Below is an acid/alkaline food chart;

As you can see, whey is alkaline. But pretty much all milk/eggs/meats are acid.

If attempting to eat a 100% alkaline, or at least vastly alkaline diet, whey powder will probably be the only protein source. And I don’t think chugging about 8-10 whey shakes per day will be healthy. Or even if it doesn’t do any harm, it is hardly a desirable situation where all your protein comes from supplements.

Sure, grains like quinoa and buckwheat and soy beans contain a bit of protein, but they’re not really staple protein sources.

You can also try to rely on things like Spirulina powder and Hemp powder - but asides from being extremely expensive and esoteric, they’re still powders and not whole foods.

Does anyone know how you’d get enough protein to build muscle on a (very heavily) alkaline diet without relying too much on whey shakes?

Will consuming steak and eggs tilt the scales too far into acidic, or can you counterbalance the effect with increased intake of alkaline foods?

[quote]02Thief wrote:
Will consuming steak and eggs tilt the scales too far into acidic, or can you counterbalance the effect with increased intake of alkaline foods?[/quote]

I was under the impression you had to eat several portions of alkaline foods to balance a single acidic portion.

For example, one can of coke would require about 10 liters of ‘lemon water’ (which is supposedly highly alkaline) to neutralize it.

Therefore it’s probably preferable to avoid ‘acidic’ protein sources altogether rather than consume them, then try to balance them out, because the chances are you’ll never be able to consume enough alkaline foods to balance them out…

[quote]alternate wrote:
Hi T-Nation,
I am interested in putting arbitrary restraints on my diet while pursuing hypertrophy/strength goals. Can you recommend a diet that contains no protein yet will develop muscle at the same rate as though it does? Please keep in mind my goals I just read from a book as they are very important to me.

[/quote]
Hi alternate,
Let me just say thank you for another great thread, you always do seem to come up with gems. If you limiting yourself to a Pseudo-Vegetarian diet you may want to read about vegetarian bodybuilding. Since it sounds like you need someone to spoon feed you a diet a book would be the best place to start.

Good luck, and come back next week when your goals change.

Lentils and rice.

I agree with JLone, interesting thread as always.

[quote]alternate wrote:
I don’t want this thread to devolve into a debate on whether the alkaline diet is scientifically grounded or not, but does anyone know how they would get enough protein to build muscle on an alkaline diet?

Below is an acid/alkaline food chart;

As you can see, whey is alkaline. But pretty much all milk/eggs/meats are acid.

If attempting to eat a 100% alkaline, or at least vastly alkaline diet, whey powder will probably be the only protein source. And I don’t think chugging about 8-10 whey shakes per day will be healthy. Or even if it doesn’t do any harm, it is hardly a desirable situation where all your protein comes from supplements.

Sure, grains like quinoa and buckwheat and soy beans contain a bit of protein, but they’re not really staple protein sources.

You can also try to rely on things like Spirulina powder and Hemp powder - but asides from being extremely expensive and esoteric, they’re still powders and not whole foods.

Does anyone know how you’d get enough protein to build muscle on a (very heavily) alkaline diet without relying too much on whey shakes?[/quote]

Not trying to spark a debate, only curious. What are supposed to be the benefits from an alkaline diet?

[quote]Waittz wrote:
Not trying to spark a debate, only curious. What are supposed to be the benefits from an alkaline diet? [/quote]

[quote]
Current hypotheses

More recently, it has been hypothesized that diets high in “acid ash” (acid producing) elements will cause the body to try to buffer (or counteract) any additional acid load in the body by breaking down bone, leading to weaker bones and increased risk for osteoporosis. Conversely, “alkaline ash” (alkaline producing) elements will theoretically decrease the risk of osteoporosis. This theory has been advanced in a Position Statement of the American Dietetic Association, in a publication of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, as well as other scientific publications, which have stated foods high in potassium and magnesium such as fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of osteoporosis through increased alkaline ash production. This acceptance of the acid-ash hypothesis as a major modifiable risk factor of osteoporosis by these publications, however, was largely made without significant critical review by high quality systematic analysis.

Recent systematic reviews have been published which have methodically analyzed the weight of available scientific evidence, and have found no significant evidence to support the acid-ash hypothesis in regards to prevention of osteoporosis. A meta-analysis of studies on the effect of dietary phosphate intake contradicted the expected results under the acid-ash hypothesis with respect to calcium in the urine and bone metabolism. This result suggests use of this diet to prevent calcium loss from bone is not justified. Other meta-analyses which have investigated the effect of total dietary acid intake have also found no evidence that acid intake increases the risk for osteoporosis as would be expected under the acid-ash hypothesis. A review looked at the effects of dairy product intake, which have been hypothesized to increase the acid load of the body through phosphate and protein components. This review found no significant evidence suggesting dairy product intake causes acidosis or increases risk for osteoporosis.

It has also been speculated that this diet may have an effect on muscle wasting, growth hormone metabolism or back pain, though there is no conclusive evidence to confirm these hypotheses.[/quote]

Taken from:

It must be true that people lose bone mass on “acid-forming” diets from having to counter acid pH. This is why teens, for example, despite growing rapidly overall don’t add bone mass on modern diets, and why meat-eating powerlifters have frail bones.

(okay, end of devolving to whether the theory can possibly be true or not.)

With regard to your question on which proteins are considered “acid-forming” and which are not, the chart you posted seems to have the information you want. As to the amount of protein you need, there is no hard and sharp line but if you want to keep intake relatively minimal in bb’ing terms yet still sufficient in most instances, 1 gram per lb of bodyweight is a reasonable rough value to aim for. If you really don’t want to use that much you could try for example 0.7 g per lb of boyweight and see what that does for you, optionally trying a somewhat larger amount at a later time to see if you notice a difference. Differences will not be instantaneous or dramatic. If you’re in a position where reasonable training and diet can add mass fairly rapidly anyway, then it is not as if a lower value such as the 0.7 g/lb is going to stop gains.

That chart you posted is a bunch of b.s.

Acid/alkaline balance is very very misunderstood.

For example, the most acidifying workouts (lactic acid based ones) are 100x more acidifying than the worst diet.

In general though, your most acidifying foods are grains and oats. Yes meats are acidifying (slightly) and as such you should balance them with alkaline foods (veggies in particular).

Even something like lemon or lime juice is actually acidic - but consuming them has a paradoxical effect which alkalinizes your body.

I say you should eat meat, and plenty of it. Balance it out with a high veggie consumption and skip the obvious acidifying stuff (grains, oats, junk food, etc.)

There are two method of calculation for whether foods are “acid-forming” or “alkaline-forming”: PRAL and PHAP, of which PRAL is the more common.

PRAL is a simple calculation based on grams of protein and milligrams of four minerals.

To understand the system, first, protein is bad, mm’kay? Your grams of protein are multiplied by 0.49 and the resulting number is bad (on the acidic end.) So say you consume 200 g of protein per day. The equation starts off by multiplying this by 0.49, which puts you to the bad to tune of 98 points already.

In comes the next acid-forming enemy: phosphorus. However many milligrams of phosphorus you take in gets multiplied by 0.037 and gets further added to the above. So say you take in 1000 mg of phosphorus per day. You’re another 37 points to the “bad,” for a total of 135 so far.

Next come potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Now actually this is really bad science because depending on the counterions present, there will not necessarily be alkalinizing effect correlated to these intakes. No matter! They help your PRAL score. Your K intake gets multiplied by 0.021, your Mg intake by 0.026, and your calcium intake by 0.013, and these are subtracted from the above to get your final result.

There’s nothing else involved with regard to content of vegetables, antioxidants, phytonutrients, or anything else: it’s just the above mineral intakes and the protein intake. That is the definition of “acid-forming” and “alkalnine-forming” under the PRAL system.

So say you get 3500 mg of potassium, which is the DV. This reduces the score by 73.5, leaving 61.5 to the bad. Say you get 1000 mg of calcium. This’ll take off another 13 points. And say you get 400 mg of magnesium. That’s worth 10.4 points.

This leaves you with 38.1 points. Your urine is predicted to be more acidic than pH 6.0! That’s gotta be bad. According to the system.

One simple fix? Well, getting your DV of phosphorus is giving you a big hit. Cut out some grains, say drop your phosphorus intake to 500 mg below the DV (you’ll get by, lots of people don’t get the DV of phosphorus) and this will save you 18.5 points. Take out about another 40 grams of protein, and your urine will be predicted to be a value in accord with the system. As one way to do it.

What the evidence is for how important urinary pH is to overall health, is another matter.

Thanks - that’s helpful.

I’m assuming that in general stuff to the right side of the periodic table is ‘acidic’ in the body, and stuff on the left is ‘alkaline’?

But regardless, can we have a breakdown of ‘acidic’ and ‘alkaline’ minerals, vitamins and nutrients?

Eg;

Acidic = protein, phosphorous…and…?

Alkaline = calcium, magnesium, potassium…and…?

On figuring dietary balance that actually makes the urine more acidic, rather than just being a simplified score, it would be quite complex. It can’t be solved simply from amounts of protein and minerals, as PRAL tries to do.

The score talked about with regards to these diets is based only on protein, phosphorus §, potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) and the form doesn’t matter. For example, potassium chloride and magnesium citrate would count as alkalinizing though they are not.

So this is why, for example, grains are counted as “acid-forming.” They provide P in good amounts but little Mg, Ca, or K.

A good read on the general subject is this: http://images.yoli.com/BritJournalArticle.pdf

Generally they don’t ever wind up finding proof or conclusions on importance of reaching any “acid” or “alkaline” value in the diet, but find importance in the individual nutrients that are consumed.

It’s good to get suitable amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium! Absolutely! Very much recommended.

I would look at it that way, rather than summing everything up into a PRAL score, or other “acid” or “alkaline” summary.

And it’s good to get enough phosphorus, regardless that PRAL counts it as a bad thing. One of the often-overlooked things about dieting is that sometimes P intake falls too low. Just as an aside.

So far as I know, it’s never been shown that when the above intakes are good and are controlled to be essentially the same in either case, that any disadvantage is found with substantial protein intake. There are studies showing lower bone mass in women with protein intake from meat vs from other sources, or total protein intake, which have correlation between the protein intake and reduced bone mass, but these other things are not constant, particularly phosphorus to calcium ratio.

The body is really, really good at keeping blood pH constant at rest, pretty much regardless of diet, unless having disease. What can vary in response to diet is urinary pH, but evidence seems to be lacking that in and of itself that’s much if anything of a predictor of anything for a healthy person.

But increasing greens intake? Getting a good amount of magnesium? Getting a good amount of potassium?

All great ideas, but not necessarily if at all for the reason of the pH of the urine! Or at least that is my view; I haven’t seen where it’s been shown otherwise, though it’s often claimed otherwise.

Try vega sport. all plant based balanced to ensure proper amino acid profiles