Flat carbonated drinks not an effective alternative to oral rehydration solution

May 27, 2008

‘Flat’ carbonated drinks should not be used as an alternative for oral rehydration solution to prevent dehydration in children with acute vomiting and diarrhoea, according to advice published in the May issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Oral rehydration solution is a liquid containing the ideal balance of salts and sugars for avoiding dehydration in people with gastroenteritis who are losing fluids, salts and sugars through diarrhoea and vomiting.

It is commonly believed that ‘flat’ carbonated drinks are an effective alternative to these solutions, particularly for children who don’t like their taste. However, researchers at the children’s emergency department at Watford General Hospital were unable to find any published trials to back this up, so they looked for information about the contents of different types of liquids and compared them.

Carbonated drinks were found to contain too much sugar and not enough salts.

Current World Health Organisation recommendations are for oral rehydration solution to contain 75mmol/l of sodium and the same amount of glucose. Published biochemical analyses show carbonated drinks have much lower levels of sodium (1.0–9.9 mmol/l) and potassium (0–0.3 mmol/l), but much higher levels of glucose, with branded cola having 550mol/l of glucose (more than seven times the recommended amount).

The authors concluded there was little information available from clinical studies on the effectiveness of using carbonated drinks compared with oral rehydration solution for the prevention of dehydration in children with gastroenteritis, but that there were many scientific analyses demonstrating their inappropriateness.

“Carbonated drinks, ‘flat’ or otherwise, including cola, provide inadequate fluid and electrolyte replacement and cannot be recommended,” they conclude.

Source: British Medical Journal

Explore further: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus detected in the air of a Saudi Arabian camel barn

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Firefighters battle wild blazes in Spain

2 hours ago

Spanish firefighters on Saturday battled forest blazes that have destroyed hundreds of hectares of parched land and forced scores of people from their homes, authorities said.

Kingston, Jamaica hybrid project to harness sun and wind

12 hours ago

A hybrid energy project in Kingston, Jamaica, aims to satisfy the need for money-saving renewable energy. U.S.-based WindStream Technologies recently announced the wind solar hybrid installation commissioned ...

Archaeologists excavate NY Colonial battleground

12 hours ago

Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground in upstate New York that was the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops, the flashpoint of an infamous massacre and the location of the era's largest ...

Google eyes Chrome on Windows laptop battery drain

20 hours ago

Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows has been said to have a problem for some time but this week comes news that Google will give it the attention others think the problem quite deserves. Namely, Google is to ...

Security contest techies say they hacked Tesla Model S

22 hours ago

The good news: Tomorrow's cars are computers on wheels. The bad news: Tomorrow's cars are computers on wheels. Ma Jie, writing in Bloomberg News, reported this week that the Tesla Model S sedan was the target ...

Recommended for you

Asthma drug may help those with chronic hives

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A drug already used to treat moderate-to-severe allergic asthma appears to offer relief to people with chronic hives who haven't been helped by standard medications, new research suggests.

Study compares deep vein thrombosis therapies (Update)

11 hours ago

Patients who have a clot in their legs and are considering whether to be treated with traditional blood-thinning medication or undergo a minimally-invasive catheter-based clot removal procedure should feel comfortable that ...

Automated models can identify acute back pain in EMRs

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Administrative data models can discriminate acute low back pain (LBP) from nonacute cases in electronic medical records (EMRs), according to a study published in the June 15 issue of Spine.

Potential new flu drugs target immune response, not virus

16 hours ago

The seriousness of disease often results from the strength of immune response, rather than with the virus, itself. Turning down that response, rather than attacking the virus, might be a better way to reduce that severity, ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nilbud
not rated yet May 27, 2008
Cretins, flat cola is useful only for cleaning blood off roads. Flat 7up is the one to use. These "researchers" didn't manage to suggest an alternative which means they wasted their time.
drel
not rated yet May 27, 2008
"for children who dont like (the) taste."
So the kids don't like the taste? TOUGH! Parents need to get a backbone. Or at least someone needs to make a better tasting oral rehydration solution.
Is anyone surprised at the results of this study?