There has been a glut of diet books in recent years that have tried to tap into the robust US market for weight loss and increasingly, healthy eating. Between the 190,000 books that come up when I search for the word ‘diet’ on Amazon to the 164 million hits that come up on Google for the search of the same word, both the business and the need for diet information seem virtually inexhaustible. In this cluttered market comes Felicia Drury Kliment’s Acid Alkaline Balance Diet: An Innovative Program for Ridding Your Body of Acidic Wastes
The premise of this book is that a good balance between acidic and alkaline substances is crucial to avoiding a variety of chronic problems. And if acidic wastes, primarily stemming from food processing, are allowed to accumulate in the body over time, they will lead to a spate of problems. Kliment argues that while the body has evolved to handle naturally occurring toxic by-products of foodsâ€”such as the acids produced from the digestion of grains, the body is not capable of efficiently clearing artificial chemicals such as flavor enhancers, chemical preservatives, and pesticides.
The diet plan this book recommends is that people go back to consuming the ‘ancestral diet’. Kliment strongly recommends that people eat natural, preferably organic, unprocessed food. This book takes to task the companies that market processed, phyto-chemicals and fiber lacking, calorie and sodium rich food sprinkled with a variety of vitamins as ‘healthy’ food. Kliment persuasively argues that these ‘healthy’ foods’ are not only unhealthy, but also they can have an adverse impact on your health and waist.
Kliment believes that enzymes are important for disease prevention and encourages people to eat raw foods with each meal that contain their own enzymes. Except, Vivian Crisman, a nutritionist at Stanford University, argues that body has all the enzymes it needs to digest food and that enzymes eaten by people will most likely be neutralized by stomach acid. Crisman further adds that cooking a food can sometimes increase the bioavailability of certain vitamins, for example tomatoes are much better cooked than raw for cooking increase the presence of lycopene and anti-oxidants.
Often times it seems that Kliment treats anecdotal evidence as indisputable facts. Kliment argues that her diet can help combat obesity, digestive ailments, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular disease, and even alcoholism, and ‘female reproductive disorders’. It seems unlikely that these miraculous effects exist. One may argue that she relies on anecdotal evidence because insufficient clinical studies have been carried out with these treatments in mind but then again why not wait to corroborate the claims before writing.
There is very little doubt in my mind that eating predominantly plant based, organic, unprocessed food would alleviate a lot of problems that afflict Americans today. And, while consistent overstatement of claims undermines the overall message of the book, I still believe that this book would prove to be useful to people struggling to find a simple effective diet plan.
Monika Kowalczykowski contributed reporting to this review.