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Alkaline water: why it’s not worth it

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Alkaline water is trending, but please don’t believe everything you hear! Here’s why it’s a waste of money (not to mention the plastic bottles).

What is alkaline water?

It has a higher pH level than regular drinking water, typically 8 or 9, with the addition of minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. The pH scale measures acidity – from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline). Regular water is around 7.

The claims are based on an old theory (the acid-ash hypothesis) that consuming more alkaline food or drink could make your body less acidic, and therefore help everything from digestion to cancer….

It rose to fame when a naturopath published books about the alkaline diet (before he was actually jailed for practising medicine without a license and sued for selling unfounded herbal products…).

While some small low-quality studies have been done (many in test tubes or mice), the claims simply haven’t been backed up by reliable human studies and the evidence for drinking alkaline water to help any health condition just isn’t there.

Here’s the science.

  • pH levels throughout your body vary – and they need to. Your stomach is acidic (pH 2-3.5) to break down food, while your blood is always slightly alkaline (pH ~7.3-7.4).

  • No food or drink is going to change that blood pH, as it’s so closely controlled. Falling out of this normal range can be very dangerous and only happens with certain diseases.

  • You don’t need alkaline water to ‘detox’ – your kidneys, liver and other organs do that for you for free.

  • Your pee’s pH isn’t a good indicator of your body’s pH – excreting through your pee is one way your body regulates its pH level.

  • Drinking too much alkaline water may very well disrupt your stomach acid, which could lead to an upset stomach and indigestion.