Acid balance

| 22 March 2022
minute reading time

Another reason why a vegan diet boosts health

The correct acid-alkaline balance in the body is crucial for good health. A high acid load increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, problems with muscles, joints and bones and kidney disease.

Acid-forming foods include meat and meat products, cheese, fish, eggs and processed wheat-based foods like white bread and pasta.

Animal foods, in particular, are abundant in sulphur-containing amino acids which generate acid-forming sulphate. Their content is two- to five-fold higher in meat and eggs than in grains and pulses, which are considered alkalising foods along with fruit and vegetables.

This trial compared the effects of a vegan diet with a meaty diet over four weeks in individuals consuming the same number of calories. Results showed that the vegan group had significantly lower levels of acid both in the diet and the body.

These findings are consistent with other intervention studies looking at the acid-lowering effects of plant-based diets. They conclude that a vegan diet may help reduce the dietary acid load, whereas a meat-rich diet substantially increases the burden.


Müller A, Zimmermann-Klemd AM, Lederer AK et al. 2021. A Vegan Diet Is Associated with a Significant Reduction in Dietary Acid Load. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18 (19) 9998.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

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