A fad diet is trickling down to the youngest members of society -- babies.
The alkaline diet, a popular fad followed by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle McPherson, and Jennifer Aniston, is based on the theory that since our blood is slightly alkaline, alkaline-rich foods should be eaten to maintain normal blood pH levels between 7.35 and 7.45. The diet states that eating too many acid-producing foods, like dairy, meat, poultry, pasta, and rice, disrupts the body’s balance and leads to too much acidity in the blood.
The Dr. Oz Show reported that eating too many acid-promoting foods could “potentially damage your kidney and your liver and might even raise diabetes risk.” Doing so may also lead to weight gain and illness.
The alkaline diet claims to be the solution, even though there is no scientific evidence to the fact. The Daily Mail reports that studies have actually proven food does not alter blood pH at all.
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Regardless, parents are promoting the use of the alkaline diet in babies.
India, who is not yet two years old, is on the strict alkaline diet. She drinks a green smoothie, consisting of apple, kale, watercress, and broccoli with coconut water every morning.
How did India become a baby on the alkaline diet? Her godmother is alkaline guru Natasha Corrett, 30, owner of food delivery service Honestly Healthy and author of several alkaline recipe books.
Corrett is a strong supporter of starting children on the alkaline diet as young as possible.
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“The earlier you start children on healthy foods, the greater the benefits to their overall wellbeing, and the less likely they are to push foods away and refuse to eat them when they’re older,” Corrett said. “India’s mother also follows the alkaline way of eating, so before India was one she was drinking green smoothies.”
Corrett has included a chapter in her new book, “Honestly Healthy For Life,” on party food recipes for youngsters.
“An alkaline diet is incredibly nutritious for little ones because it contains a huge number of vegetables and fruit and everything is either home-cooked or raw,” Corrett said. “Refined sugars are replaced with natural sweeteners such as star anise or coconut palm sugar, and dairy fats with creamed cashew nuts, coconut or almond milk. Kids can still have pizzas and brownies – just made without refined or processed ingredients.”
There are those who disagree with Corrett, like Vincent Marks, emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Surrey.
“Diets such as the alkaline are not based on any factual or scientific foundation and there is no evidence to suggest they might be beneficial,” Marks said. “Unfortunately we live in a constant cult of nonsense diets. High-protein fish, poultry and dairy are important components of everyone’s diet, let alone a baby’s. All of us need to eat a wide variety of foods from all the food groups.”
On the alkaline diet, 80 percent of included food should be alkaline. These include nuts, pulses, seeds, certain fruits, and vegetables—such as broccoli, watermelon, apples, zucchini, cherries, potatoes, carrots, spinach, hazelnuts, and green beans. The remaining 20 percent of food is made up of acid foods.
Rick Miller, a spokesman for the British Dietetic Association, sees the pros and cons of the alkaline diet for children.
“Weaning infants between the ages of six months and a year is a very delicate period when a child needs to be introduced to lots of different tastes and textures,” Miller said. “Excluding meat, fish and poultry from a child’s diet could set them up for allergic responses in the future.
“The fact that an alkaline diet includes lots of home-cooked food, fresh fruit and vegetables with minimal salt and sugar is fantastic. But the alkaline diet is typically low in fat and calories, which infants need in order to grow and develop.”
Without scientific evidence that the alkaline diet is a healthy or un-healthy route to follow for children and adults, it is the parents who must make the best decision for their child.
Photo Source: The Daily Mail / WikiCommons