The History of the Alkaline Diet
Posted by Jordan in Alkaline Diet
The alkaline diet has become increasingly popular in recent years. Although the basic concept behind the alkaline diet has been around at least since the 1920's, it burst into the mainstream with the publication of The pH Miracle in 2003.

In this article, I will explore the history of the alkaline diet, and provide an overview of the facts and theories that support this nutritional approach.

While the alkaline diet is a relatively recent invention, acids and alkalis were around long before humans devised names for these qualities, or began to speculate about their effect on human health.

The word acid derives from the Latin verb acere, "to be sour." Acid began to be used in the early seventeenth century to describe substances that tasted sour.

A few centuries earlier, alkali was already used in English. This word derived from the Arabic al-kali, meaning a salty substance found in the ashes of various plants, including the glasswort.

The Invention of the pH Scale

Over the centuries, scientists developed competing theories of acidity and alkalinity. It was eventually discovered that acidity or alkalinity is determined by the concentration of hydrogen ions (positively charged hydrogen molecules).

An acid is a substance that is saturated with hydrogen ions, while an alkali (or base) is a substance that is capable of absorbing many hydrogen ions.

The pH scale was invented in 1909 by the Danish chemist Søren Peder Lauritz Sørensen. The term pH stands for "potential for hydrogen," because it measures the number of hydrogen ions in a standard volume of liquid.

The pH scale spans from 0 (extremely acidic) to 14 (extremely alkaline). If a food or other substance has a pH of exactly seven, it is considered neutral. If it falls anywhere else on the pH scale, it is either acidic or alkaline.

The First Alkaline Diet: The Hay Diet

The first person to talk about the benefits of an alkaline diet was the New York physician William Howard Hay, who discussed his theories in the books Health Via Food and Weight Control.

Following Hay, other authors who wrote about the benefits of the alkaline diet included Edgar Cayce, D. C. Jarvis, Herman Aihara, and Victor A. Marcial-Vega.

The Resurgence of the Alkaline Diet

With the publication of The pH Miracle in 2003, the alkaline diet began to receive publicity from the mainstream media. In consequence, it came to be adopted by many people who had never been exposed to it before.

Increased interest paved the way for the publication of many other books on the alkaline diet. In fact, between 2000 and 2010, at least 29 alkaline diet books found their way to the market.

The Future of the Alkaline Diet

Today, interest in the alkaline diet continues unabated. What will the future bring for this diet? We can expect science to continue to advance, revealing more details about the benefits of the alkaline diet. Perhaps equally important, however, is the practical work of making this diet more user-friendly by providing useful food charts, recipes, and other information.