Some Diet Sodas May Ward Off Kidney Stones

For the millions of Americans who turn to diet sodas for their caffeine kick, sweet rush, and that heart-warming bubbly embrace; the taste so many love is often times accompanied by the sour tang of guilt that these drinks are less than healthful. Soda lovers have long dreamed for a glimmer of hope -- if only there were some proof that something good could actually come from sipping an ice cold glass of carbonated cola. If only we could defend our habit, and counter the accusations of anti-soda parties everywhere with scientifically sound logic instead of the usual whine-stricken retort of “But I like it.”

Well, my fellow fizzy-drink-loving-friends, our hopes may not have been in vain. New research presented last month at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting suggests that drinking certain citrus-flavored diet sodas may help ward off the development of painful kidney stones. Amanda Gardner (writing for HealthDay News and healthfinder.gov) reports that the latest study is authored by Dr. Brian Eisner, who is both a clinical fellow in urology at UCSF and an instructor in urology at Massachusetts General hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Dr. Eisner was investigating the role of citrate in inhibiting the growth of calcium deposits in the kidneys. 10 percent of the American population suffers from these painful deposits known as kidney stones, and many kidney stone patients are instructed to drink a potassium citrate-rich drink to dilute and dissolve the mineral. This study explores how much citrate is found in fifteen commonly enjoyed diet sodas. Gardner notes that regular sodas were avoided because of their high sugar content. But what about the results, you may ask?

Drum roll please: Dr. Eisner found that eight of the soda types investigated contain the same amount or more of the citrate as in the original doctor-prescribed lemonade drink. Diet Sunkist Orange, Diet 7-Up, and Diet Canada Dry scored the highest, while Diet Coke with Lime has no citrate.

These encouraging findings do not come without a healthy dose of criticism, however. Dr. Michael Palese, the director of minimally invasive surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, noted that other ingredients in diet soda like caffeine offset any potential for health benefits. Ultimately, he says, drinking water is best.

For the whole scoop on this carbonated quandary, read Gardner’s full story here.

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