Thursday, June 14, 2012

Does Milk Have Too Much Acid?

I keep hearing that we shouldn't drink milk because it can make your body too acid. I like milk and I've always thought I was doing my body good, getting a concentrated source of calcium for my bones. And I drink skim milk so it's a good protein source without fat. Am I wrong? Is it really not good for me?
Staci R.

Hi Staci,

I've heard these rumors as well, and let me put your mind at ease--there is absolutely NO truth to this at all. 
In fact, the pH balance in your body (usually this refers to your blood pH) is controlled by your lungs and your kidneys. These organs tightly regulate the blood pH to between 7.35 and 7.45 at all times. They can adjust by retaining or excreting certain compounds in the body, such as CO2.

Stomach acid is more acidic than anything you can ever eat, even the much maligned coca-cola. (Coca-cola has a pH of about 2.8 and stomach acid between 1.0 and 2.0). 
After leaving the stomach, contents are neutralized on their way into the first section of the small intestine by release of bicarbonate (a strong basic compound contained in pancreatic juices). 

There is no way you can eat so much acidic food or so much basic food (the opposite of acid, these foods have a high pH) that it throws your body pH out of whack. The only times we see people have acid-base imbalance is (1) severe advanced lung illness, (2) severe advanced kidney disease (or acute kidney injury), or (3) diabetic ketoacidosis (a life-threatening condition caused by extremely high ketone levels in untreated diabetes). Even the ketosis-promoting carb-free diets cannot affect the pH of your system because the healthy kidneys and lungs correct for this.

Some people have to limit their intake of highly acidic foods because of indigestion called GERD, and others have to limit foods that make their stomach cells secrete more acid, like chocolate, caffeine and peppermint. These conditions are limited to the stomach and esophagus.

Bottom line: There really isn't any way acid foods make their way into the blood to affect the pH of your system.

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