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Diet soda may help with kidney stones

April 26, 2009 |  9:00 am

Rarely do health experts admit that drinking soda may be good for you. Here's an exception: People who are prone to kidney stones may develop fewer stones by drinking diet soda.

Dietsoda The body needs to maintain a proper alkaline pH balance for healthy functioning. Increased alkalinity is known to be a factor in the development of kidney stones. A study presented today at the annual meeting of the American Urology Assn. meeting in Linthicum, Md., examined 15 popular diet sodas for their citrate and malate content, substances in soda that may help dissolve kidney stones. They found the sodas probably have enough of these substances to inhibit the formation of calcium stones. The researchers, from UC San Francisco, said Diet Sunkist Orange contained the greatest amount of total alkali and Diet 7-Up had the greatest amount of citrate alkali.

Of course, this doesn't give kidney stone sufferers a license to drink up. Kidney stones may be caused, in part, by dehydration, and people with recurring stones are advised to drink a lot of water.

"This study by no means suggests that patients with recurrent kidney stones should trade in their water bottles for soda cans," said Dr. Anthony Y. Smith, a spokesman for the American Urological Assn., in a news release. "However, this study suggests instead that patients with stone disease who do not drink soda may benefit from moderate consumption."

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Eric Boyd  /  Los Angeles Times