Urinary Potassium Associated With Patients' Diet Quality

Increased excretion linked to higher consumption of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables

WEDNESDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Measurement of urinary potassium may be a simple way to detect a good or poor-quality diet, according to study findings published ahead of print Feb. 11 in the Journal of Nutrition.

Andrew Mente, of the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues measured urinary potassium and assessed diet with a food frequency questionnaire in 220 patients aged 18 to 50 with kidney stones who received treatment at a lithotripsy unit.

The researchers found that increased potassium excretion was associated with a higher intake of healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish and poultry, low-fat dairy products and wine, and that decreased excretion was associated with unhealthy foods such as red meat, fast food and high-energy drinks.

"A urinary K+ excretion value less than 60 mmol/d in men and 41 mmol/d in women indicated the consumption of a poor-quality diet," the authors conclude. "We suggest that a single 24-h urinary K+ measure is a clinically valid, simple and inexpensive ($10.00 in Canada) test of overall diet quality, which may aid physicians in providing effective dietary counseling to patients at greatest risk because of poor food choices and in monitoring the response to dietary interventions."

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