How Sugar Makes Your Body’s pH More Acidic
How Sugar Makes your Body's pH more Acidic
We all know that processed sugar is bad for our health, but how does this impact your body’s pH?
The best way to monitor your pH is to measure urine, as your blood tightly regulates pH. Leaving the detox systems of the body to deal with toxic acidic waste.
Sugar has a pH of 7, so you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s neutral. In point of fact, sugar ruins your pH, in turn damaging overall health and wellbeing, increasing disease risk and overloading the body with oxidative stress.
In this article, we’ll explore what sugar does to your body, what pH has to do with anything, how acidic environments stress you out, and what you can do to balance your body’s pH.
What Exactly is pH in the Body?
The pH of your body measures how acidic or alkaline your body is. pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. The more acidic, the lower the pH.
Your blood should always remain slightly alkaline (pH 7.35 to 7.45).
The pH of your urine tells us a lot. It’s always changing due to stress, exercise, and diet. Therefore, urine is a great measure of the acidity of your body.
Acid-forming foods like processed meat, dairy, refined grains, and sugars can tip the acid/alkaline balance of your body. While alkaline-forming foods, like fruits and vegetables, will tip your body in the opposite direction, setting the scene for health and wellbeing.
PRO TIP: The best way to measure the acidity of your body is by using a pH strip and measuring the pH of your urine, first thing in the morning.
How Does Sugar Impact Your Body’s pH?
Sugar can create an imbalance in both sodium and potassium (your body’s electrolytes), which can in turn affect your ability to absorb water.
Excess sugar intake also encourages your body to excrete calcium, to neutralise the acidic waste.
Furthermore, the decreased levels of sodium bicarbonate create an ever more acidic environment.
Sodium bicarbonate breaks down to sodium and bicarbonate, neutralising acidity in your body. For this reason, sodium bicarbonate is the main compound that buffers the blood, making it less acidic.
A reduction in sodium bicarbonate due to increased intake of sugar creates a double whammy of acid-building compounds.
Processed food is notoriously high in sugar, and crowds out alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables. Simply because nature’s food is more subtle and won’t give you the instant high that processed carbohydrates and sugars will.
Research has shown that people who eat a lot of refined sugar tend to eat less health-promoting fruits and vegetables.
According to the NHS, adults should have no more than 30g of sugar per day, children aged 2-10 should have no more than 24g and those aged 4-6 should have no more than 19g of sugar per day.
The magic number for vegetables and fruits, meanwhile, is ten. According to Imperial College London, 10 portions a day could prevent as many as 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide every year.
Acidic Environments Stress You Out
When you consume a lot of sugar and processed foods, you get stressed out. Why? It’s because the acidic environment created by eating excess sugar triggers the release of cortisol (your body’s stress hormone). Leading to anxiety and chronic inflammation. Not a nice mix.
However, your body is clever. It’s made up of trillions of microbes that work in systems that are designed to maintain a balanced pH. They use systems like cell membrane integrity (increased with omega-3s), metabolic regulation (enhanced with exercise and vitamin D), and macromolecule repair (enhanced with nutrition and detoxification).
The key to helping the microbes do their work is to ensure that you feed these microbes with prebiotics (like fruits and vegetables).
You guessed it, eating a balanced diet filled with nutrients like Omega-3s, and antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione counteract the effects of sugar. But the problem is, you won’t feel like taking steps toward a healthy lifestyle if your body is suffering, due to high sugar intake.
The number of waste products produced when you eat too much sugar contributes to high levels of free radicals and in turn oxidative stress.
Ancient Anaerobic Fermentation Pathways
In the past, we’ve looked to genes as the cause of chronic disease.
Now we’re more than aware that it’s poor lifestyle choices that are the root cause for the majority of chronic illnesses out there, from heart disease to cancer and obesity.
The underlying mechanisms for which are up-regulated by a lack of oxygen, and the fermentation of sugar.
Free radicals are formed when there’s damage to our mitochondria, as a metabolic by-product, or when we consume something toxic.
If cells are not fixable they begin to use fermentation as a source of energy, instead of using oxygen. This fermentation is fuelled by, you guessed it – sugar!
“NO disease, including cancer, can exist in an alkaline environment.”
– Dr. Otto Warburg (1931 Nobel Prize winner)
Sugar Causes Inflammation – Especially Sugary Drinks
Believe it or not, foods, including sugars and foods that are highly processed, can actually cause chronic inflammation.
A revealing study of 29 healthy people exposed that drinking just 40 grams of added sugar from one 375ml can of fizzy juice increased inflammatory markers such insulin resistance and LDL cholesterol.
Consuming excess sugar can increase levels of uric acid, in turn, leading to inflammation and insulin resistance. While those who consumed milk, water or diet juice had no increase in uric acid levels.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) form when protein or fats combine with sugar. Consuming excess sugar produces too many AGEs, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation.
Another byproduct of consuming too much sugar, as I’m sure you will know, is increased weight gain.
How to Balance pH Levels Naturally
One way to balance your pH levels is to exercise.
Exercise generates energy in your muscles and allows oxygen to enter the deep tissues of your body.
Another approach to naturally reduce the sugar in your cells is to do a water fast or take up intermittent fasting protocols.
This reduces the amount of glucose in your cells via apoptosis or autophagy. Diet is the best-known way to balance your pH levels naturally.
A major route to balancing your pH naturally is by consuming high alkaline-forming foods such as:
- Melons – cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon
The Bottom Line
Your body’s pH must be kept alkaline – this is achieved almost seamlessly by your blood. However, other systems like the lymphatic detoxification system and the fascia provide a more reliable way to check your pH levels, you can do this via your urine. Especially first thing in the morning.
Mounting evidence points to sugar as a contributing factor in many chronic illnesses, and the damage is compounded when other healthy lifestyle practices (like exercising) are not daily habits.
To ensure a healthy pH, and thus enhance overall health and wellbeing, make sure you consume a diet bursting with alkaline-forming foods.
Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.