By: Dr. John Bagnulo, Director of Nutrition

The last few years have shown more and more clinical evidence as to the benefits of the alkaline-loaded diet. Several years ago, Tufts University research showed that women who ate significant amounts of grain and grain-based foods demonstrated greater bone loss than those women who ate less grain. Now, there are benefits being shown in other areas of health too.

Researchers examining the relationship between a population’s dietary acid load (created largely by protein and phosphorous, and neutralized by foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium) have recently established other relationships. Acid loaded foods are primarily made up of grain, flour-based foods, and animal proteins. These foods require the catabolism of specific nutrients from various tissues and organs to assist with the body’s efforts of maintaining a blood pH of 7.39. It appears, at least initially, that this draw on the body’s organ reserve invites imbalances and pathologies within other systems.

Women who had higher dietary alkaline loads (lower dietary acid loads) had significantly higher skeletal muscle mass and muscle mass-retention. Additionally, other recent studies have shown that a more alkaline-loaded, lower acid-loaded diet is associated with a reduced risk for Type II diabetes and markers of metabolic syndrome. We know that potassium and magnesium are critical for building and maintaining muscle. Dark greens, root vegetables, tomatoes, avocados, and almonds are good sources of both. These are exactly the types of foods that can keep your diet more balanced.

Learn more about this topic and many more in our upcoming webinar focused on traditional and cultural approaches to food-based healing. Stay tuned for details!


Fagherazzi G et al. Dietary acid load and risk of type 2 diabetes: the E3N-EPIC cohort study. Diabetologia. 2014 Feb;57(2):313-20.

Welch AA et al. A higher alkaline dietary load is associated with greater indexes of skeletal muscle mass in women. Osteoporosis Int. 2013 June;24(6):1899-908.

Dr. John Bagnulo is the Director of Nutrition at Functional Formularies and leads nutrition research and development initiatives. Learn more about Dr. Bagnulo here.