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The Alkaline Diet or the 5:2 Diet…Which one is Best for You?

If working out is not your thing, maybe the Alkaline diet is. However, after hearing how strict your potential new diet will be, you might decide that simple, healthy eating and exercise is your best bet. The alkaline diet has been reportedly followed by celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer Aniston. If you don’t aspire to achieve any of those women’s frames, don’t worry: the diet may still help you.

What is the alkaline diet and what’s so different about it versus other diet plans? The entire concept is to eat in a way that maximizes pH balance, by avoiding practically every good food there is: meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol, artificial and processed foods. (Okay, I can agree with cutting processed and artificial foods). Eating more fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and seeds while forgoing almost everything else is the goal of the diet. Sounds easy, right? Well…as with anything else, there are pros and cons to the alkaline diet.

Some of the pros include helping you look younger (always a plus) and assisting you in preserving muscle. This diet is a modern take on the vegan diet. The downside is that while you might be cutting out all refined sugar, meat, diary and processed foods, you still may not lose weight. If your body is accustomed to receiving a certain amount of calories per day, drastically cutting them by following this diet will send you into starvation mode. Instead of shedding fat, your body will hold on to calories and losing weight will be harder than ever.

While studies are inconclusive on this diet because of how relatively new it is, research has been done on the body’s ability to maintain a healthy pH (which is the basis of the alkaline diet). In fact, the British Dietetic Association spokesperson, Rick Miller says “the theory of the alkaline diet is that eating certain foods can help maintain the body’s ideal pH balance to improve overall health. But the body maintains its pH balance regardless of diet.” So, essentially, no matter what you eat, your body will adjust to the right pH balance. And to properly follow the diet one would have to test their pH balance by providing urine sample to be examined on a routine basis.

And you thought counting calories was a nuisance.

Suddenly you’re not so sure about the alkaline diet, huh?

If you’re already a committed vegetarian thinking of going vegan, this diet may work for you. However, jumping in head-first to this strict eating plan when you haven’t made any significant changes to your diet beforehand might do more harm than good. An alternative to the alkaline diet is the 5:2 diet. This diet is easier to follow for sure. For five (5) days out of the week, you eat like you normally would. However for the other two (2) days, you restrict yourself to just 600 calories (men would restrict themselves to 500) per day.

That certainly sounds like a little bit of food per day, but think of it like this. One three hundred calorie meal looks like this: scrambled eggs (no cheese), a slice of ham and black coffee. For dinner, 300 calories is grilled meat (fish is a great low calorie option) with veggies. Drinking lots of water on those extra low calorie days is crucial to staying hydrated, avoiding constipation and maintaining the diet.

About the 5:2 diet, doctors say, “The reality is that the 5:2 diet is how a lot of people manage their weight naturally. You eat all you want on the weekend, then have a day or two when you cut right down – and it does work for people. Also, there’s something to be said for giving our systems a rest, particularly if we eat a lot of sugar and carbohydrates. So I don’t think it’s a fad and I’m certainly not dismissive, although I think we need to do more research.”

Honestly, these tricks sound all well and good, but overall the key to being healthy is not to restrict yourself from eating everything or binging on certain days and purging on others. Being healthy takes good ole moderation. If you have any health concerns like diabetes or thyroid disease, these diets could send your system for a tailspin. If you’re truly ready to lose weight, make an appointment with your physician, ask what programs and diets have worked for others with similar conditions and begin making changes slowly. Losing weight shouldn’t be a race to the bottom, but it should be a consistent, steady process of lifestyle changes that you can sustain for the long haul.

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