15 Acidic Foods to Avoid + Healthier Alternatives

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Posted on: September 27, 2015

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Acidic foods - Dr. Axe

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

The alkaline diet has been in the limelight recently, with everyone from celebrities to health gurus touting the benefits of cutting acidic foods out of your diet.

Studies show that limiting your intake of acidic foods may help improve bone density, reduce the risk of kidney stones, lower chronic pain, improve hormone levels and alleviate acid reflux.

Following a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich, unprocessed foods and reducing your intake of acid-forming foods can be a great way to help you make strides toward achieving optimal health. So what are acidic foods, and how can you limit your consumption of them? Let’s find out!


What Are Acidic Foods?

Your body maintains a tightly regulated pH level. This is a measure of acidity and alkalinity in the fluids and tissues of the body, ranging from 0 to 14. A lower pH level is more acidic, and higher pH levels are considered more alkaline. While a pH of 7 is neutral, a slightly alkaline pH of 7.35–7.45 is considered optimal for human health.

Even minute changes in your body’s pH levels can cause a major impact on health. Alkalosis, which is caused by a high pH level, can cause symptoms like confusion, muscle twitching and nausea, while acidosis can result in fatigue, shallow breathing and headaches.

Luckily, your kidneys do most of the work in controlling your body’s pH by maintaining electrolyte levels and excreting/reabsorbing acidic and alkaline ions through the urine. However, eating a diet high in alkaline foods may come with some benefits to health.

Limiting your intake of acidic foods could help preserve bone density, prevent kidney stones and even decrease acid reflux symptoms.


15 Acidic Foods You Should Limit or Avoid

Here’s a quick list of acidic foods that you may want to limit. These foods are considered acid-forming, and their intake should be moderated on a healthy diet:

  1. Ultra-processed foods, such as frozen dinners, store-bought cakes and sodas
  2. Alcohol
  3. Milk
  4. Caffeinated drinks
  5. Processed cereals
  6. Eggs
  7. Artificial sweeteners
  8. Peanuts
  9. Walnuts
  10. Pasta
  11. Rice
  12. Bread
  13. Wheat products
  14. Oats
  15. Cold cuts

 

Acidic foods - Dr. Axe

 


Acidic Foods vs. Alkaline Foods

So how exactly is the list of acidic and alkaline food groups determined?

When you eat, the calories and nutrients are extracted from foods, and they are metabolized, leaving behind an ash residue. This ash residue is what determines the pH of your food, separating it into either an acid-forming or alkalinizing food.

Acid-forming foods typically include animal proteins like meats, eggs, poultry, fish and milk products, as well as grains and alcohol. Meanwhile, fruits, vegetables and plant-based protein foods are generally considered alkalinizing foods.


Side Effects and Dangers of Acidic Foods

1. Lower Bone Density

Some research has found that a diet rich in acid-forming foods could increase the amount of calcium lost through the urine, leading to a decline in bone density and even conditions like osteoporosis.

One study...


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