Kelly Ripa’s High-Alkaline Cleanse: What’s Behind the Latest Diet Trend

06/01/2015 at 03:53 PM ET

Kelly Ripa Brad Barket/Getty

Kelly Ripa says a high-alkaline cleanse has changed her life — but what is it? And does it work?

While there’s no medical proof that supports the method’s claims, weight loss physician Dr. Caroline Cederquist tells PEOPLE that consuming healthy foods high in alkaline can’t be a bad thing.

“I think all nutritional experts are in real agreement that almost everyone needs more fruits and vegetables in their diet,” says the Florida-based doctor specializing in nutrition.

And Ripa, 44, isn’t the only celebrity who is on top of the trend: Elle Macpherson recently told PEOPLE she monitors her body’s pH level with alkalising supplements as well.

What It Means 

Put simply, high alkaline refers to a pH level higher than 7.0.

“This whole alkaline cleanse is coming from the theory that certain foods make the body more acidic and others make the body more alkaline, on the opposite spectrum,” explains Cederquist. “Typically, protein-containing foods and starches and grains are supposed to add acid to the body, and maybe so do caffeine, alcohol and processed foods in general.”

“Whereas alkaline, which is just another form of the acid base, is supposed to be primarily in vegetable-based foods,” she says. “So there’s some thought that being acidic is bad, being alkaline is better. But to be honest, it’s not something that is really considered accepted within the medical literature.”

CEO of alkaline Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic water Ryan Emmons says those on an alkaline cleanse should eat beets, broccoli, apples, bananas, almonds, chestnuts, tofu, cinnamon, ginger, cucumber, kale, spinach, artichokes, sea salt, kiwi, olive oil, lettuce and bell pepper. They should steer clear of processed foods, yogurt, fish, processed juices, sugar, beer, white bread, coffee, cheese, soda and most nuts.

Does It Work?

Although Cederquist does not believe high-alkaline cleanses have restorative powers, she says eliminating certain foods from your diet can help determine causes to which your body may react negatively.

“She did this for a reason,” Cederquist says of Ripa. “People don’t do a cleanse because they feel awesome. Nobody does that. They do a cleanse because something’s not right, they’re fatigued or exhausted or have joint pain or the bowels don’t work, there’s gas or bloating.

“Apparently she followed this and said, ‘I feel really, really great.’ And it may not have anything to do with the fact that she’s replaced acidic food with alkaline. What is probably more likely is that she has some sort of hidden food sensitivity.”

The most common such sensitivities Cederquist sees in her patients’ blood tests results are dairy, wheat, soy, citrus, egg, yeast and corn.

The problem with high-alkaline cleanses, she says, is that eating too much of some foods could end up doing more harm than good.

“I find that if there are 100 books on the alkaline diet, they all have different foods in them. So it’s very, very hard to get some kind of agreement as to what’s alkaline and what’s not,” she explains. “One of the things that is recommended is soy beans, but a lot of people have a hidden food sensitivity to soy.”

Is it Safe?
“The harm of straightforwardly following an alkaline cleanse for who knows how long is that most people who come see me … are having issues with weight,” Cederquist says. “And if they switch to a diet which has a lot of fruit, they’re not getting any protein because they cut out all meat and dairy.”
But she does not doubt Ripa, who learned about high-alkaline cleanses through her chiropractor after suffering from unspecified injuries, feels healthier now.

“When people have hidden food sensitivities, they can indeed have join pain and muscular pain. We see this often.” she explains. “I’ve had patients say, ‘I’m 50 percent better because I took those foods out.’ … I mean, it’s amazing.”

What Doctors Recommend 

The key to finding the right diet, Cederquist says, is rejecting a one-size-fits-all notion.

“No one has a problem with less caffeine, less alcohol, less sugar, less processed foods. I think we’re all on board with that, even with the wheat and gluten,” she says. “But dairy isn’t an issue for all people. For some women, it’s a great source of lean protein and has all the good amino acids. To just say ‘Dairy is bad for all of us’ isn’t necessarily great.”

As for cleanses and juicing in general, she isn’t a fan.

“If somebody juices, just naturally they end up not eating eating enough protein to support their lean tissue, and then they’re having vegetables or fruit in an already partially metabolized state,” she says. By turning veggies and fruits into smoothies or juices, you remove key fiber, she adds.

High-Alkaline Water

Emmons says his product, which has been on the market for three years, has real health benefits — although he acknowledges more research is needed.

Alkaline “boosts your immune system to help prevent colds, flus and other viruses,” Emmons tells PEOPLE. “It can also help prevent chronic diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer.”

“We hope to do a more advanced studies soon because of the feedback we have gotten from cancer patients, weight loss customers, and those with acid reflux, amongst others to prove the timeframe for these health benefits,” he adds.

Emmons says going on a high-alkaline cleanse is “not harmful” as long as it lasts for the recommended three to 10 days. Furthermore, he says his water has no negative side effects and encourages even people who aren’t on a cleanse to drink it.

“In order to be healthy, the body must have a balanced pH — it must be equally acidic and alkaline. High stress levels, environmental toxins, and especially the overconsumption of processed foods, have resulted in most of our bodies being overly acidic,” he says. “When we are overly acidic, our bodies are compromised and struggle to effectively assimilate vitamins or minerals from our food, decreasing the cell’s production of energy, and ability to detoxify or repair damaged cells.”

—Michele Corriston


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Showing 25 comments

Kiana on

Dairy is bad for everybody, unless you’re a baby cow. There is no truth that humans should have or need dairy.

Amy on

Whole foods that aren’t procecced are proven to be healthy. That said – my friend with stage 1 medically treatable breast cancer just passed a long painful death because some creep holistic guy told her that she could cure her cancer with this diet. It is not a substitute for medical treatments and should be viewed as healthy lifestyle to prevent illness. IMHO

Bem on

I think cleanses are silly. Just eat right!

Smithy on

4 words — shut up Kelly Ripa.

314really on

Your kidneys regulate your body’s pH. Did no one take Biology at all??? This is such hogwash. And the health claims by the water seller — these things HURT people. Read Amy’s comment, below. Not responsible to promote this kind of junk science.

Ugh on

NO ONE should be taking diet fad advice from her! She’s clearly been anorexic for YEARS!!!!

Guest on

Kelly Ripa just grates. I find her unwatchable especially when they first come out on stage at the beginning of the show.

Katie on

The best thing anyone can do is find a healthy diet you know you can stick to combined with a good exercise regime.

I’m on the paleo diet myself and love it. I have lost a lot of weight and I feel much better with much more energy and positivity.

The beauty about the paleo diet is that whilst there is a focus on good foods, there are so many resources to help you make these into delicious recipes. I have written about one of my favourite cookbooks here: http://cookbook-reviews.net/review-the-paleo-grubs-book/

Lynn on

Ok, so I am not the only person that thinks Kelly Ripa needs to shut up. I can’t stand the sight of her….I would never buy anything she advertises, as a matter of fact I change the channel the second I see her.

3WeekFatBurner on

As a health and weight loss specialist, I’ve helped hundreds of people lose weight, and it can be done… fast. As long as you are committed, with the right expertise and guidance… anything is possible. I have created a unique program that maps out everything you need in order to successfully lose 23 pounds in just 3 weeks! (a step by step guide, if you will).

If you are serious about losing weight you can check it out at http://www.3weekfatburner.com

Also if you have any questions or need any advice, just let me know. You can send me a message or find me on social media.

Mary Mertz on

Kelly has always looked anorexic…or at least as being someone with an eating disorder. I hope she finds the help she needs to live life without food being such the central obsessive motivation that deprives her of normalcy.

Jim on

More and more people are being suckered into this alkaline diet garbage. Yes, you will lose weight. It is a low calorie, low sugar/carbohydrate diet. Someone eating 3,000 calories a day switching to 900 calories a day will lose weight. However this diet will not make your body more alkaline. Your body naturally adjusts its pH level. In fact if your blood pH level rises or falls beyoind the narrow range that your body regulates it, you could die. It is simple science. Your stomach is acidic. No mater what you eat your stomach will always be acidic. You could swallow a whole bottle of ant-acids and it would only make your stomach alkaline for a very short period before the acid took over again. People believe disease can not live in an alkaline state, speciffically cancer. If that is the case, why do people get pancreatic cancer? the pancreaes is constantly alkaline. It sucretes alkaline acids to nueturalize stomach acids as digested food enters the intestines. This is just another fad that will be proven to be not that good for you after all.

Jim on

Amy, by chance was this Holistic Creep Robert O. Young?

fuskiegirl21 on

Why not just add lemon juice to your water instead of buying expensive alkaline water?

carol on

Kelly Ripa is so thin already, I can’t imagine her losing any more weight and staying healthy or alive!!! I’ll stick with eating healthier and exercising- no fads or tricks for me.

www.TheHealthDiet.com on

As a health and weight loss specialist, I’ve helped hundreds of people lose weight, and it can be done… fast. As long as you are committed, with the right expertise and guidance… anything is possible. I have created a unique program that maps out everything you need in order to successfully lose 23 pounds in just 3 weeks! (a step by step guide, if you will).

If you are serious about losing weight you can check it out at: http://www.3weekdiet.thehealthdeck.com

Also if you have any questions or need any advice, just let me know. You can send me a message or find me on social media.

Laura on

Easy way to boost your body’s alkalinity: goo.gl/Ax2wAk Loving the supplements!

Kyle on

I must tell you that Alkaline diet helped me a lot. Simply, I feel better now and I don’t have some health problems. This is my expierrience.

The first step I learnt was to eat the right food and not mixing the wrong food together. I have tried it myself and this is the diet that not only you still can eat most of the food, but you will feel much more healthy.

If you need good Alkaline diet program I highly recommend you to visit http://helpish.net/alkdiet You will get very helpful info. Good luck.

paidge on

i have spent quite a long time for searching something worthy and finally found the Dr Max Powers 15 Day Cleanse to be the most effective for weight loss and i did not found any side effects yet. I would recommend this product to anyone who wants to have a weight loss but at the same time i would advice to take a doctor’s advice depending on your health conditions.

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