What is an alkaline diet? Simply, the theory behind the alkaline diet is to eat in a way that optimizes pH balance, by avoiding meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol, artificial and processed foods, and consuming more fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and seeds.

1. One rule may help you preserve muscle. Fruits and veggies are the foundation of an alkaline diet, and all that produce may help you hang onto calorie-burning muscle mass. We lose muscle as we age, but one recent study found that older adults who consumed more foods that are metabolized into alkaline residues (mainly fruits and vegetables), and fewer foods that are metabolized into acidic residues (mainly proteins and refined grains), hung onto more muscle mass. The effect was nearly enough to offset the 4.4 pounds of lean tissue that older adults typically lose per decade (imagine four pounds of lean sirloin), which could have a significant impact on strength, injury risk, and metabolism.

2. One rule may help you may look younger. One of major tenets of an alkaline diet is to avoid refined sugar, and following just this rule alone may help your skin remain more youthful. This may be because of the connection between sugar and the formation of a substance called AGEs(Advanced Glycation End Products), which have been shown to reduce skin elasticity (think sagging). Not a bad reason to ditch a sugary breakfast muffin and whip up a smoothie instead.

3. You may lose weight! If you don’t overdo it on portions, this style of eating may offer a weight loss advantage. Eating a vegan or mostly vegan diet is associated with being leaner. One Oxford University study in nearly 38,000 adults found that meat-eaters had the highest BMIs for their ages and vegans the lowest, with vegetarians and semi-vegetarians in between. Also, some fascinating research has found that even at the same calorie level, people who consume more plant-based foods and have higher antioxidant intakes had lower BMIs, smaller waistlines, and lower body fat percentages than those with lower intakes.

An alkaline diet philosophy may become as mainstream as gluten free, or fizzle out entirely. Regardless, I hope that its emphasis on eating more fresh, plant-based foods, and getting rid of the junk, is here to stay.