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September 30, 1922


JAMA. 1922;79(14):1147-1148. doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640140059021

The impression that foods which have an unmistakable acidity behave as real acids in the organism is still widespread among the laity, and also finds occasional expression on the part of physicians. Modern biochemical investigation has clearly demonstrated, however, that the natural reaction of a food material is no criterion of the part it may play as acid or base in the metabolism. The processes by which energy is liberated are essentially oxidative in character. The ingesta are normally subjected to oxidation in the body, so far as they can be transformed in this way. Consequently, it may readily happen that a food which is acid in reaction may, from the standpoint of metabolism, be potentially basic. The potential reaction depends on the nature of the residual inorganic components when the product is oxidized. The proteins, with their content of sulphur and sometimes phosphorus, yield sulphuric and phosphoric acids, respectively,