Dipstick Measurements of Urinary pH have Potential for Monitoring Individual and Population Dietary Behaviors

A.A. Welch*
Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

© 2008 A.A. Welch

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK;


The health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption are well recognized and a recent cancer prevention report suggested modifications to diet that included reductions in red meat and increases in plant foods. However, populations in the US and UK still do not meet the 5-A-Day target for a number of reasons, including motivational issues. A readily accessible measure or biomarker of dietary change would be useful for individual and population monitoring. One potential biomarker is urine pH, which reflects the acid-base load of the diet. Dipstick measures of pH are simple and rapid and could provide a feedback mechanism during dietary change. Dietary acid-base load results from the balance between the alkaline salts prevailing in fruits and vegetables and H+ ions generated mainly from animal and cereal foods. This mini-review covers studies relating dietary acid-base load to urine pH and provides suggestions for further research.