Saturday, August 29, 2009

Busting Cancer Myths: Acidic Foods and Cancer Risks

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The Claim:  Acidic foods can alter the body’s pH balance and promote cancer.

The Facts:  That unsubstantiated theory is based upon lab studies suggesting that cancer cells thrive in an acidic (low pH) environment, but cannot survive the alkaline (high pH) surroundings.  While these findings are accurate, they apply only to cells in an isolated lab setting.  Altering the cell environment of the human body to create a less-acidic environment is virtually impossible.

While proponents of this myth argue that avoiding certain foods and others can change the body’s pH level, these claims stand in stark contrast to everything we know about the chemistry of the human body.  Acid/base balance is tightly regulated by several mechanisms, among them kidney and respiratory functions.  Even slight changes to the body’s pH are life-threatening.  Patients with kidney disease and pulmonary dysfunction, for example, often rely on dialysis machines and mechanical ventilators to avoid even the smallest disruption of the acid/base balance.

In addition, home test kits that measure the pH of urine do not relay information about the body’s pH level.  It’s true that foods, drinks, and supplements will affect the acidity or alkalinity of urine, but only the urine is affected.  In fact, excess acid or base is excreted in the urine to help maintain  proper pH balance in the body.

What is consumed can and often does have a profound effect on cancer risk, but the acidity or alkalinity of foods is not important.  Instead, focus on healthy nutrition and making healthy dietary choices, that can ultimately affect our risk.  Eat wide varieties of vegetable, fruits, whole grains, and beans;limit consumption of read meat, processes meats; and consume alcoholic beverages, in moderation, if at all.

With the ease and availability of the Internet, superhighway, or whatever you wish to name it, many myths regarding cancer are easily spread to consumers and it can be difficult to expose fact from fiction.  A brochure by the American Institute for Cancer Research title “Everything Doesn’t Cause Cancer,” is a great way to dispel some myths or concerns about our own risk of cancer.

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. Thanks for this post because I have had people ALMOST convince me about the whole adic/base thing...even after 6 years of nutrition education! They can be so convincing, and sometimes it really makes sense. You made some excellent point though, and I would obviously never tell anyone to try to keep their acid/base levels in check...it really is ridiculous!

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