At a family picnic last weekend, everyone was buzzing about my cousin who’s lost 60 pounds. When I asked what her secret was, she said (as she bit into a cheeseburger) that she pairs acidic foods with alkaline foods. I need to lose 40 pounds, €•can her trick help me, too?

I’m sure it will. Sixty percent of American women have a body pH that’s too acidic, mostly because of stress. And this acidity affects function of the insulin and thyroid hormones, disrupting blood sugar balance, slowing metabolism and prompting fat storage. Luckily, counteracting fattening “acidic” effects is simple. Opt for less acidic fare like grilled chicken, shrimp or fish. Or pair acidic favorites like fried chicken, cheeseburgers and potato salad with alkaline produce like lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, watermelon and berries. These are all rich sources of potassium and magnesium, two minerals that neutralize excess acidity to speed weight-loss efforts.

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