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Comparative List of Acid and Alkaline Forming Foods

Overview

The chart below is based in part from the information in my collection of nutrition and alternative health books and in part on personal experience. Almost every chart on the subject of how to classify foods by pH is different depending on what book or study you read. The list below is my best guess of what is correct but most likely may still contain some errors, so please use it with that caveat in mind. The books I own that seem to that seem to have the most accurate acid-alkaline charts are: The Paleo Diet 1 , Mayo Clinic Diet Manual, Seventh Edition 2, and The Acid Alkaline Food Guide: A Quick Reference to Foods & Their Effect on pH Levels 3.

Please note that the chart below lists whether a food is acid, neutral or alkaline forming in the body after being ingested, not the pH of the food itself. Citrus fruits have an acid pH but leave an alkaline ash after being metabolized.

Vegetables

   
Acid Forming
 
Neutral
 
Alkaline
Forming
             
Broccoli          
X
             
Carrots          
X
             
Cauliflower          
X
             
Celery          
X
             
Chicory          
X
             
Cucumber          
X
             
Eggplant          
X
             
Green peppers          
X
             
Lettuce          
X
             
Leeks          
X
             
Mushrooms          
X
             
Onions          
X
             
Potatoes          
X
             
Radish          
X
             
Spinach          
X
             
Tomatoes          
X
             
Zucchini          
X

Meat, Fish and Eggs

   
Acid Forming
 
Neutral
 
Alkaline
Forming
             
Beef  
X
       
             
Chicken  
X
       
             
Cod  
X
       
             
Eggs  
X
       
             
Herring  
X
       
             
Pork  
X
       
             
Trout  
X
       
             
Turkey  
X
       
             

Dairy Foods

   
Acid Forming
 
Neutral
 
Alkaline
Forming
             
Butter      
X
   
             
Buttermilk  
X
       
             
Cheese  
X
       
             
Cottage Cheese  
X
       
             
Processed Cheese  
X
       
             
Sour Cream  
X
       
             
Whole Milk          
X
             
Yogurt  
X
       
             

Grains

   
Acid Forming
 
Neutral
 
Alkaline
Forming
             
Brown Rice  
X
       
             
Cake  
X
       
             
Cookies  
X
       
             
Corn  
X
       
             
Cornflakes  
X
       
             
Egg noodles  
X
       
             
Mixed wheat bread  
X
       
             
Rolled Oats  
X
       
             
Rye Bread  
X
       
             
Spaghetti  
X
       
             
White bread  
X
       
             
White rice  
X
       

Fruit

   
Acid Forming
 
Neutral
 
Alkaline
Forming
             
Apples          
X
             
Apricots          
X
             
Bananas          
X
             
Black Currents
X
Cherries
X
Coconut
X
Cranberries
X
             
Kiwi          
X
             
Peaches          
X
             
Pineapple          
X
             
Plums  
X
       
             
Prunes  
X
     
X
             
Raisins          
X
             
Watermelon          
X

 

Legumes, Beans and Nuts

   
Acid Forming
 
Neutral
 
Alkaline
Forming
             
Beans  
X
       
             
Lentils  
X
       
             
Peas  
X
       
             
Peanuts  
X
       
             
Peanut Butter  
X
       
             
Soy milk          
X
             
Tofu          
X
             

Beverages and Miscellaneous Foods

   
Acid Forming
 
Neutral
 
Alkaline
Forming
Baking soda          
X
             
Chocolate          
X
             
Coffee  
X
       
             
Distilled Water  
X
       
             
Mineral Water          
X
             
Oils      
X
   
             
Tea  
X
       

Controversial & Noteworthy Foods

Oranges, Grapefruit and Other Citrus Fruits - start out as acid but usually make the urine alkaline after being metabolized by the body. If you are just looking at a chart of the pH of various uneaten foods in their natural state, citrus fruits are usually shown as being acidic. If you are looking at a chart of whether they leave an acid ash or an alkaline ash in the body, they are usually shown as being alkaline forming.

Sugar - I'm not sure about sugar. I've never wanted to eat a whole bunch of sugar as a test so for me the pH forming ability of sugar remains a mystery. The Mayo Clinic Diet Manual, Seventh Edition lists it as a neutral food. In the book The Acid Alkaline Food Guide, it is listed as a highly acid forming food. Most of the alternative health books I own claim it is acid forming. One thing I do know is that I rarely get any kind of cold, sore throat or sinus infection unless I eat a lot of sugary foods. (I can eat honey with no problems.) So my best advice would be to simply avoid refined sugar if you can help it.

Cabbage - Cabbage juice is a traditional remedy for ulcers and acid indigestion. Based on my experience I would say there indeed is something unique in cabbage that has acid lowering qualities above and beyond other alkaline vegetables. I think one of the reasons many people get gas from cabbage is because it can lower stomach acid in some people too much, making it easier for harmful bacteria and other pathogenic microbes to thrive.

Distilled Water - Theoretically distilled water is supposed to be a neutral pH food. But every type of bottled distilled water I have tested from the store to date has tested acidic, and seems to leave an acid ash in the body. You can read more on why this occurs here.

Dairy Products - In my experience, dairy products with active cultures can be very acid forming. Foods that may have active cultures include sour cream, acidophilus milk, buttermilk, yogurt and buttermilk pancakes. In the U.S. yogurt that has active cultures is usually labeled as such. As far as whole milk, I have seen it listed as a neutral, acid and alkaline forming food. In some Ayurvedic textbooks it is listed as an alkaline forming food good for ulcers. One of my children thinks it helps whenever he has an over-acid stomach, so between that tidbit and the Ayurvedic classification I have it listed as alkaline forming on my chart.

 

  

 

 



References

1. Cordain, Loren. The Paleo Diet. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2002. 213.

2. Deyoung, Laura, ed. Mayo Clinic Diet Manual: A Handbook of Nutrition Practices. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Mosby--Year Book, Inc, 1994. 347.

3. Brown, Md., Susan E., and Larry Trivieri, Jr. The Acid Alkaline Food Guide: a Quick Reference to Foods & Their Effect on pH Levels. New York: Square One, 2006. 79-164.

 

Related sections of interest:

Acid - Alkaline Balance for Optimal Health

Acidic and Alkaline Food Lists

Acid, Alkaline and Neutral Food Chart

What causes an ammonia smell in the urine?

Dry Mouth - Xerostomia

Sweaty Heads, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes

 

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