The claim: Drinking flat soda can ease an upset stomach.
The facts: It is not often that a soft drink is seen as medicinal. But when it comes to stomach distress, many people view a cup of flat soda as just what the doctor ordered.
The quick and popular remedy – ususally in the form of cola, ginger ale or clear sodas – is said to help settle the stomach with its slight fizz and replenish fluids and glucose lost by vomiting and diarrhoea. Parents also find that children who are verging on dehydration but reluctant to consume any liquids are more amenable to soda.
But research shows it may not be a great idea. In a recent study, British researchers conducted a review of the medical literature going back to the 1950s in search of scientific evidence supporting the claim. They found none.
Then, after a biochemical analysis, they compared the contents of colas and other sodas with over-the-counter oral-rehydration solutions containing electrolytes and small amounts of sugar.
The soft drinks, the authors found, not only contained very low amounts of potassium, sodium and other electrolytes but also in some cases as much as seven times the glucose recommended by the World Helath Organisation for rehydration. “Carbonated drinks, flat or otherwise, including cola, provide inadequate fluid and electrolyte replacement and cannot be recommended.” They said.
The bottom line: Flat soda, a popular remedy for upset stomach, may do more harm than good.
- The New York Times