Kelly Ripa glowed at a GLAAD event on May 9th, 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kelly Ripa recently revealed that she suffers from some “strange injuries” but says she’s found a cure — an alkaline diet.
“I’ve been working with this guy. His name is Dr. Darryl Gioffre, and he is a chiropractor, but also a nutritionist, and he put me on this cleanse. It’s an antacid, like high-alkaline cleanse, and it has changed my life,” Ripa said on Live With Kelly and Michael. “And I swear, I think it’s responsible for me not being in pain.”
Ripa says it’s a “very manageable” cleanse, adding “I actually eat much more on this cleanse than I do in my actual life, but it’s what you eat and how you eat it".
The alkaline diet has a growing legion of celebrity fans: Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer Aniston reportedly follow it.
But… what is it? And does it actually work?
Alkaline foods include kale, beets, and many fresh vegetables. (Photo: Getty Images)
The alkaline diet is based around the idea that the foods you eat can alter the acidity or alkalinity (i.e. the pH level) of your body, explains registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It promotes eating a variety of alkaline foods, and skipping foods that cause the body to produce acid,” she tells Yahoo Health.
While alkaline diets can vary, they typically encourage followers to eliminate or reduce acidic or acid-forming foods such as coffee, sugar, dairy, alcohol, animal products, and high gluten grains, says registered dietitian and nutritionist Kelly Pritchett, PhD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Related: Is Alkaline Water Worth It?
The diet also encourages people to eat alkaline-rich foods such as fruits (bananas, watermelon, mango), vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach, beets, sweet potatoes), new and ancient grains (amaranth, buckwheat, rye, quinoa), fresh herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary), and certain nuts, oils, and seeds.
How is it supposed to work? Different parts of our bodies have a different pH, explains registered dietitian Beth Warren, author of Living a Real Life With Real Food. “Your blood is more alkaline and your stomach is more acidic, which is necessary in order to break down foods,” she tells Yahoo Health.
The goal of the alkaline diet is to regulate your body’s pH to keep it in a healthy range. For example, your blood pH should be in the small range of 7.35-7.45, says Rumsey.
But experts say that your body already has many effective ways to keep your pH in balance. “Your body has its own natural buffers, ensuring that the levels stay where they need to be. It’s not proven that the foods you eat can significantly impact that,” Warren tells Yahoo Health.
The diet’s fans say it can decrease your body’s inflammation, increase your energy, and decrease the risk of cancer and diabetes, but Pritchett points out that those claims have little scientific evidence to back them up.
A review of 53 academic papers published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2012 concurs, concluding that while there may be some value in an alkaline diet in reducing your odds of dying from chronic diseases, more research is needed.
While some of the claims aren’t proven, Rumsey says there are definitely benefits to following an alkaline diet. “Unlike many fad diets, the foods the alkaline diet promotes are very good for you,” she says. “This is something I would recommend for every American, but not because it is going to alkalinize their blood.”