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Don't drink the Kool-Aid! Alkalised water does bugger all for your heath

Alkalised water is not going to cleanse your colon, help you lose weight or build your immune system. It will empty your wallet quickly though

22 March 2020 - 00:00 By andrea burgener
Champion of all things silly, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Champion of all things silly, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Image: Supplied

Monetising water is no novelty, but the variety of ways in which humans engage in this crafty pursuit is certainly remarkable. You've probably heard the news that alkalised water is where it's at now. Apparently, "normal" water, with its boring old pH of around 7 (right in the mediocre middle of the acid-alkaline chart) has been less than great all along.

Billions of water drinkers have been robbed of better health ever since the molecule was created. Just imagine. Luckily, kind-hearted businesses and celebrities are making us all aware of nature's negligence and have created improved H20 which sits at a point or two above old-fashioned, neutral 7 (and please Google to find out how you can do this easily at home because the main difference between home-made and bought seems to be the price tag).

Rigorous scientific research shows that if Gwyneth Paltrow is promoting something, it's pretty much a crock; and wouldn't you know it, alkaline water is one of her favourite drinks

Rigorous scientific research shows that if Gwyneth Paltrow is promoting something, it's pretty much a crock; and wouldn't you know it, alkaline water is one of her favourite drinks.

What rigorous or even half-arsed scientific research doesn't show is that drinking water with an altered pH does nothing at all for your physical well-being. Why would it? The theory that alkaline food and drink makes your system more alkaline and is therefore better for you has many followers but is quite unsound and is doing a horribly good job of confusing innocent bystanders.

Blood alkalinity is a big one. Despite promises, a diet containing ingredients with higher acidity (or "causing acidity") does not translate into you having more acidic blood. If that were the case, you'd be hospitalised after just a few breakfasts involving too much orange juice.

A generally healthy body regulates not just blood pH levels but temperature, blood-sugar level and so on. Yes, pH in different parts of the body can go out of whack, but that's either because of a medical condition or a result of the body maintaining overall homeostasis by constant adjustment of the parts. All quite normal.

And why, anyway, aim for a generally more alkaline situation when different parts of our bodies want different pHs? Which part are you trying to alkalise? Your stomach acid is around 1.5 to 3.5 — really bloody acidic — and should stay that way; your blood is just around 7.35 (and if it isn't, you're in some serious trouble), your skin likes to sit at a much lower (more acidic) pH, and urine pH can swing quite wildly, as a balancing mechanism. So what exactly are we alkalising and why?

Alkalised water is not going to cleanse your colon, help you lose weight or build your immune system. It will empty your wallet quickly though. Maybe it's a harmless extravagance, but in a time when most people I know are poorer than they used to be, spending money on substances promising longer or better life but which deliver bugger all, must surely make matters worse. And stress seems to be a bigger killer than salad dressing (so much acid in that vinaigrette!).


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