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Please ELI5; I've never studied chemistry. I read about alkalinity v. basicity here and on Sciencing.com.

Lemons and limes are doubtless acidic.

  • Lime: The pH range of lime is 2.00 to 2.35.
  • Lemon: The pH range of lemon is 2.00 to 2.60. This makes lemon slightly less acidic than lime.

'The pH levels of citrus fruits can cause damage to tooth enamel. Typically, the lower the pH, the more damage is done to the teeth. Oranges have a higher pH level, at 4.35, and are less damaging to teeth than lemons at 2.75, limes at 2.88.'

So isn't it wrong for Yuri Elkaim BPHE, CK, RHN

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and this unidentified author to allege lemons and limes to be alkaline?

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  • $\begingroup$ chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/105503/… $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Oct 20 '19 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, I've seen such claims too and they always leave me puzzled. I heard also that it's good for the humors to eat a balance of wet and dry foods. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Oct 20 '19 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ Whole lotta pseudoscience stuff from people who never took a chemistry course, and great marketing to the crowd who believes that they can "alkalize" their body with the snake oil being sold to them. $\endgroup$ – Todd Minehardt Oct 20 '19 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ You're right to be confused. Limes and lemons are indeed acidic, not alkaline. $\endgroup$ – 124c41 Oct 22 '19 at 2:21
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Grouping of food items into various classes is a very old idea of Ancient Greek, Alchemists & Ancient Indian School of Medicine (Aryuveda). These ideas are perhaps thousands of years old. From a scientific perspective these classifications don't mean anything today. For example, in those schools of thought, fish has a very "hot" effect on the body but yogurt is "cold". Similarly, citrus fruits are "cold" but dried dates are "hot". Now nobody can define what hot or cold means and what is the criterion?

Similarly, the chart shown in the original posts are all wrong. It is just a modern version of these ancient schools of medicine. I think the major source of confusion in calling limes and lemons is that citrates (salt of citric acid) are indeed alkaline. Many antacid concoctions use solid sodium bicarbonate and citric acid. The moment you add a spoon to water, it starts to fizz vigorously. The pH of such solutions are slightly alkaline. Perhaps whoever made those charts had these ideas in mind.

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There might be some confusion between lime as in limestone and lime as in lime tree. Even though the current spelling is the same, the former has indo-european roots while the latter has Arabic roots. One is alkaline and the other acidic.

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    $\begingroup$ Very interesting, I did not know that the word lime (fruit) was derived from Arabic. In Urdu/ Hindi/ lemon is lee-moo, very close to Arabic (< Arabic līma). The calcium hydroxide (lime) is from Latin *lîmo- = Latin līmus mud as per the OED. $\endgroup$ – M. Farooq Oct 21 '19 at 1:18

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