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: West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

7 minutes ago

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

7 minutes ago

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

1 hour ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

1 hour ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

16 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

16 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

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?

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.