Alkalising isn’t another fad diet – The discovery of alkalinity

Every week we see celebrities and health ‘gurus’ preaching diets they claim are the ‘holy grail’ of diets….only to be replaced the following week by other new diets. It seems Fad Diets have become a part of modern culture; with promises of weight loss, luminescent skin, energy boosts and secrets to curb cravings. And while the Alkaline Diet seems to be the ‘diet of the moment’, this ‘new phenomenon’ is actually not that ‘new’ after all.


Unlike the South Beach Diet, the Hollywood Diet or other so called Fad Diets, an alkaline diet and the science behind it has been around since the early 1900s. The concept of a pH in general terms was first discovered by S.P.L Sorensen in 1909. The link between pH and issues within our body however, wasn’t made until 23 years later when D.C Jarvis first attributed respiratory and other bodily symptoms to an imbalanced pH. At the time, another man name W.H Hay developed what was known as the Hay Diet – a diet based on similar principals as what we today call ‘an alkaline diet’.

After years of study and research, Hay backed up his claims in 1933 by publishing a book called A Healthy New Era. In the book, Hay declares acid waste to be the cause of dysfunction.

Interestingly enough, it was also around this time that scientists, biologists, chemists and the likes started to make leaps and bounds with alkalinity. The concept was recognised so much so, that in 1931 German Biochemist Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for what is known as the Warburg Effect; the discovery of oxygen deprivation and cancer.

In the mid 1950s, further significant advances were made when studies moved from animals to humans. The team of J.M Burnell, M.F Villamil, B.T Uyeno, and B.H Scribner carried out human trials in 1956 and confirmed earlier in vivo findings a change in serum potassium concentration attributed to change in extracellular pH.

A significant study, unrelated at the time, was carried out in 1968 by A Wachman, D Bernstein and J Hopkins. The trio carried out an experimental diet on osteoporosis patients and published the findings in The Lancet. Of significant note, was that calcium leaches from our bones moving our bodies towards osteoporosis. The possible link to pH was not noted at the time.

Further studies and articles were published in the 1970s, however it wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that alkalising started being practiced and health retreats around the world adopted this approach.

Contributing to this growth was a book written by Dr. Theodore A. Baroody in 1991 entitled Alkalise or Die. He states in the book that acid waste is the cause of dysfunction. Five years later, L Frassetto discovered that as we age, starting at about 45, we lose the alkaline buffer bicarbonates in our blood.

Momentum continued into the 2000s, with Robert O. Young’s fundamental claim that the human body is alkaline by design and acidic by function. He further claims that there is only one disease (acidosis) and one treatment (an alkaline diet).

Whilst not commonly recognised in mainstream modern medicine, the Alkalising Diet has certainly earned its ‘stripes’ so to speak and is a far cry from the Fad Diets of today’s modern society.

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