How Acids and Alkalies Affect the Health-part 5


Today we are going to study what “acid-forming” means, In addition, lets look at some acid-forming foods and alkaline foods. After going through the lesson, be sure to take the self-evaluated quiz at the end! Let us know how you did, in the comments below!


Harmless Acids

The presence of some kind of acid in food does not make it an acid-forming food. The citric acids in grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and most other acid fruits; the malic acid in apples; and the tartaric acid in grapes, are all oxidized in the cells of the body to the respirable carbonic acid which is exhaled by the lungs so that these sour fruits leave behind in the body an ash that is alkaline. These acids by oxidation become sources of energy.

Harmful Acids

On the other hand, acetic acid in vinegar hinders digestion, and has the same effect on the liver as does gin. It cannot be used in the body and must be excreted by the kidneys. In fact, inspiration gives us light on the harm of vinegar in the body.

“The salads are prepared with oil and vinegar, fermentation takes place in the stomach, and the food does not digest, but decays or putrefies; as a consequence, the blood is not nourished, but becomes filled with impurities, and liver and kidney difficulties appear.” {CDF 345}

If someone is struggling with vinegar in the diet, be of good cheer! Here’s a personal message for you; found in the Spirit of Prophecy:

“There was a time when I was in a situation similar in some respects to yours. I had indulged the desire for vinegar. But I resolved with the help of God to overcome this appetite. I fought the temptation, determined not to be mastered by this habit… I continued to resist the desire for vinegar, and at last I conquered. Now I have no inclination to taste anything of the kind. This experience has been of great value to me in many ways. I obtained a complete victory. I relate this experience to you for your help and encouragement. I have faith…that you can come through this trial, and reveal that God is the helper of His children in every time of need. If you determine to conquer this habit, and will fight it perseveringly, you can obtain an experience of the highest value. When you set your will resolutely to break off this indulgence, you will have the help you need from God. Try it…As long as you acknowledge this habit by indulging it, Satan will retain his hold on your will, and bring it into obedience to himself. But if you will determine to overcome, the Lord will heal you, and will give you strength to resist every temptation. Ever remember that Christ is your Saviour and Keeper.” {CDF 485}

What wonderful words of hope and counsel given for our admonition. May God help us to take this approach with every bad habit. By His grace, we can obtain complete victory!

Harmful Acids Continued

Oxalic acid in rhubarb is still more harmful and must be excreted. It can easily contribute to stone in the kidneys or bladder and to a group of distressing nervous symptoms. It should be excluded from the diet. Used as greens, rhubarb leaves have in several cases caused death from oxalic acid poisoning. There is a small amount of this acid in spinach, but this may be removed by parboiling it before cooking. The small amounts which occur in other foods are excreted by the kidneys.

Tannic acid is found in large amounts in tea and coffee, and a smaller amount in cocoa. It is an astringent drug and should be not be used. Benzoic acid is an antiseptic and used as a food preservative and should be avoided when processed as far as possible.. As it cannot be oxidized in the body, it must be exerted by the kidneys. It is found in small amounts in cranberries, cherries, prunes, and plums. Persons with a tendency toward acidosis or stone in bladder or kidney may do well to avoid these fruits. Some authorities say they do not increase the acidity of the body but only of the urine, while others class them as acid-forming foods. They appear to be handled by the kidneys without harm except in cases where all acids not readily oxidized in the body have to be excluded.

Uric acid is one of the waste products of the cells, and is the acid under consideration when we were discussing the work of the kidneys. The foregoing “harmful acid,” together with the four mineral acids; phosphorus, sulphur, silicon, and iodine are the sources, make up the acids which we have to deal with when considering the acid conditions in the body. Some of them are necessary, others are injurious, still others are developed in the body by its normal processes. With this information before us, we are ready to discuss foods more intelligently.

Acid-Forming Foods

Meats, fish and fowl head the list. They are acid-forming from two standpoints. They contain their own cell wastes so they already contain uric acid before they become human food. They also contain considerable amounts of phosphorus and Sulphur which are acid-forming.

Eggs, lentils, peanuts, and all cereals contain elements which become acid-forming when used in the body. All foods contain base-forming elements, sodium and potassium, and nearly all foods contain acid-forming elements, and the class that predominates in a given food determines in which list that food will be placed.

The list of acid-forming foods stands as follows as compiled from all available sources:

Alkaline or Base-forming Foods: Compiled from all available sources

Brussels sprouts are classed as acid-forming by one authority. Although rhubarb contains the harmful oxalic acid, as previously stated, it also contains base-forming elements in excess of the amount of oxalic acid present and therefore must be classed among the base-forming foods. This does not  lessen the harmfulness of the oxalic acid any more than the danger of a pound of dynamite would be less when surrounded by four pounds of beans. Milk is only slightly alkaline. Milk made from the soy bean is highly alkaline. The most highly alkaline food known is the soybean. Dried lima beans come next to the soy bean. Foods which are very potent to reduce the acidity of the urine quickly are: soy beans, lima beans, all other dried beans, apples, bananas, muskmelon, oranges, potatoes.


  1. Why aren’t oranges and lemons acid-forming foods?
  2. What is the acid in vinegar that hinders digestion?
  3. What is the organ used to excrete small increments of oxalic acid in foods?
  4. Where is tannic acid found in large amounts?
  5. Recall three foods that can quickly reduce the acidity of the urine.
  6. How can we break off bad indulgences?


*Study adapted from Abundant Health, by Julius G. White