Can You Spot An Acid Food From An Alkaline Food?

by Ross Bridgeford

Is it Alkaline? The Easy Foolproof Test!

Big Alkaline SaladHow would you love to be able to tell if a food is acid or alkaline forming just by looking at it.

In the supermarket, grocery store, restaurants or when you’re digging around in the fridge or pantry…

—-> In this short, but exciting guide I am going to show you how you can accurately decide if a food is alkaline-forming or acid-forming, with a quick test and a few simple questions.

Acid & Alkaline Foods – How Do You Know Which is Which?

In general there are two methodologies out there for determining the alkalinity or acidity of a foods and this is what the alkaline food charts (like mine here) are based upon.

There is one KEY difference between these methods and to me it determines whether it is correct or not, and also explains the inconsistencies between lists.

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Method One: PRAL

The Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) method is very accurate for many uses, but not the alkaline diet. This is the method used by 90% of alkaline food charts out there, but it is sadly misleading and can lead to errors being made by beginners (see my Biggest Alkaline Diet Mistakes post here).

The PRAL method measures the alkalinity or acidity of a food by burning it down to an ash residue and then measuring the pH of that ash.

This is all well and good….BUT….the burning burns away two of the biggest determinants of whether a food is alkaline-forming or acid-forming: yeast and (most importantly) sugar.

Ahh – did you see the distinction there?

The KEY here is not whether a food is acid or alkaline. The key is whether the food is acid-forming or alkaline-forming to the body once consumed.

Understanding this key distinction will unlock everything I am about to teach you.

It also explains why lots of charts show fruit as alkaline forming (the PRAL method burns off all the sugar, the principle reason why fruit is acid forming) and other inconsistencies.

Method Two: The Effect on the Body

Principally, this approach (which my alkaline food chart is based on) comes from the founding work of the major researcher of the alkaline diet Dr. Robert Young. He has amassed a list of foods as acid-forming or alkaline-forming based upon the results from his blood work (and samples of over 150,000 live blood analysis tests).

This approach is then supplemented by common sense and the rules I’m about to teach you.

How To Instantly Tell if a Food is Acid or Alkaline Forming

This is really simple, but darn effective.

There are two types of foods, broadly speaking:

  1. Fresh
  2. Packaged

So you need to use your common sense and all the clues you have at your disposal to apply this test. But it’s easier than it sounds.

Factors that Make a Food Alkaline


  • Is it Fresh: fresh foods are always more alkaline forming – they have all nutrients still in tact and have not been made acidic through processing. This is especially true of foods containing oils, which become toxic with exposure to heat, light and air.
  • What is the Mineral Content: alkaline foods are alkaline predominantly (almost entirely) because they contain a lot of alkaline minerals. The most alkaline minerals to look out for are calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium bicarbonate, manganese, iron.
  • Is It Low in Sugar: sugar is sugar and all sugar, no matter whether it’s glucose, fructose, dextrose etc. is highly acid-forming to the body. Fruits contain high levels of fructose and so are acid forming and should be eaten in moderation.
  • Is it a Vegetable: almost all vegetables are mildy-to-very alkaline forming.
  • Does it Have a High Water Content: high water content foods are generally more alkaline forming.
  • Is it Green: Green foods contain chlorophyll which is very alkaline forming

Factors That Make a Food Acidic

Acid Foods

  • Does it Contain Sugar: sugar is the biggest contributor to whether a food is acidic or alkaline. Avoid sugar as much as possible!
  • Does it Contain Yeast: similar to sugar, yeast is next on the ‘avoid’ list – yeast based foods are always acidic.
  • Is it Fermented: fermentation makes foods acidic. End of. Miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar, kombucha etc. are all acid forming
  • Does it Contain Dairy: dairy is next on the list! Avoid – acidic and mucous forming.
  • Is it Refined: the more ‘prepared’ and ‘refined’ a food is, the more likely it is to be acid forming. Aim for fresh wherever possible.

What This Means: Alkaline & Acid Foods Made Easy

With this methodology, you should now be able to self-select whenever you’re on the go without your copy of my alkaline food chart handy, at a restaurant, eating out with friends and so on!

This should make your life a lot easier!

I hope it helps!


p.s. please share, spread the word, pin, tweet and everything else if you liked this guide!

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Can You Spot An Acid Food From An Alkaline Food? by

About Ross Bridgeford

Ross Bridgeford is known as THE Alkaline Diet Expert...especially when it comes to implementation and making the alkaline diet REAL in your life. He has been living, learning, teaching, coaching and loving the alkaline lifestyle since 2004 and has written over 650 articles, alkaline recipes, videos and guides on how to live alkaline and stay alkaline for life.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer October 29, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I regularly use sugar free cough drops that are menthol and sucralose. Will these make my system acid?


Sara H October 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Hi Ross: You’ve said that the only vinegar that is alkaline forming in the body is apple cider vinegar. I was assuming that was the reason your recipes only use this type of vinegar. From what I’m reading here, you are saying it’s acidic. Can you please clarify? Thank you!


veronica July 10, 2014 at 11:24 am

I always heard apple cidar vinegar,turned acidic in the body


veronica July 10, 2014 at 11:25 am

Oops, I meant alkaline once it was consumed.


katherine September 10, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Through all of my research I have found that apple cider vinegar is supposed to cause an alkaline effect on the body . . . Did this question get answered??


Patrick July 30, 2013 at 3:38 am

Hi Ross,

How do I know whether a fruit is acidic forming or not. Depends on how sweet they are? Then, is lemon alkaline forming???

Thanks a lot!


Chris May 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Everyone seems to have the same questions / concerns on sauerkraut, miso, temphe, kombucha, etc. These are fabulous foods and should be consumed daily.
To make those cut and dry comments about these foods is incorrect. I believe no one knows it all, including Ross!


Ross Bridgeford May 28, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hi Chris

I always say it’s an 80/20 thing and if you want to include those foods as part of your 20% acid then all the power in the world to you. Nothing, as you say, should ever be cut and dry, including comments :)


p.s. all jokes aside I absolutely don’t know it all and am always open to having my opinion changed. An open mind is always going to be the most enlightened. Thanks for providing your counter-argument.


Ardis May 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Hi Ross,
I’m very interested in the alkaline diet and the good health that comes with it. My concern is that most of the comments have reference to weight loss that accompanies the other positive benefits. I am at a comfortable weight for my size(5’3″ 137 pounds) I do not want to lose any more weight. Is it possible to use this diet and not lose weight?


Ross Bridgeford May 28, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hi Ardis

Absolutely, if you do not need to lose weight you will not. It’s a long explanation to truly answer why this is the case, but if you begin to lose more weight than you should or want to then you’re not doing it right!

I’m going to be posting more detail on this in the next few days – keep an eye out!


yoshiko May 24, 2013 at 5:57 am

hi Ross.
I understand alkaline diet is fabulous. but fermented foods like miso, temphe, kombucha are fabulous natural probiotic. Do you against these fermented food?


Ross Bridgeford May 28, 2013 at 7:45 am

Hi Yoshiko

I personally don’t eat a lot of them because they are indeed acid forming, BUT you can include as part of your 80/20 alkaline/acid.



Marc May 24, 2013 at 2:22 am

Hello Ross, could you tell me if natural yoghurt without sugar is alkaline?


Ross Bridgeford May 28, 2013 at 7:45 am

Hi Marc

No, dairy generally is acidic – it’s just the sugar added stuff is even MORE acidic.



Sara H October 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I’ve read on your website that plain yogurt is a neutral and all other dairy is acid forming. Is this not the case?


Starr May 24, 2013 at 2:08 am

My husband and I raise bees. Then I learned about the alkaline diet. Honey is acidic. Makes me sad.


Dan G May 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Thanks for helping spread the information of an Alkaline diet! I have been moving towards the low fat, RAW diet over the last few years and no longer suffer from heartburn and constipation. My only issue with your information above is where you say, “sugar is sugar”. Most fruits are more alkaline forming than vegetables when eaten fresh and ripe. Not to mention the easiest to digest loaded with water, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating enough calories from Organic fruits, leafy green vegetables and getting enough water and sleep, is the key to sucess! It is that simple. Our bodies run on natures sweet juices, not man-made high fructose corn(vegetable), syrup. Consuming too much, (over 10%) fat, especially from animals, may cause your blood sugar to spike due to excess fat in the blood stream, coating the cells and blocking the uptake of fructose. Take a look at what Dr. Douglas Graham is doing to help others, including professional athletes, reach their full potiential. He truly practices what he preaches! High carb, low fat, raw vegan is what your body has been craving all along. I hope this helps people to make sense of all the confusing, man made sugar funded studies on the internet today. Just try and find a diet out there that doesn’t try to sell you some kind of supplment that your not getting from that diet. I have tried most all of them and although Dr. Graham’s is by far the hardest to follow, it also brings with it the benefit of true radient health which your friends and family will be sure to notice. I speak from experience and am not trying to sell you anything. Money has a way of distorting the real truth. Don’t just take it from me, let your body make the choice, not your mind.



Barbara May 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Thanks for this info. I have always found the differences in ph food charts very confusing. This is a big help!


Georges May 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

Hi Ross,
You say: “apple cider vinegar, ….. are all acid forming”.
I was under the impression that it IS acid but alcaline forming, once in the body…..??
How about lemon-water every day?
Thanks for comments and best regards, Georges


tina tobin May 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm

can acidic food cause me to have female children.


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