Many people around the world turn to ginger ale when feeling ill, but the bubbly drink may not be an effective treatment method, according to medical and nutrition experts.
Ginger-flavored soda has long been rumored to be a cure for nausea, upset stomach, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal ailments, though why people believe the soda has healing properties is unclear.
A 2019 survey commissioned by Reed’s, Inc., a soft drink company, found that the ginger ale myth has been passed down from parent to child.
The survey, which did not reveal the size of the sample, stated that 86% of mothers said they learned about the idea of ginger ale from their parents or grandparents.
According to reports, almost nine in 10 (88%) mothers admitted to serving ginger ale to children and other family members to soothe upset stomachs.
Doctors and dietitians are speaking out to debunk the myth and explain what scientists know about ginger.
Doctor reveals the truth about ginger ale
Liudmila Schafer, a gastrointestinal oncologist from Kansas City, Missouri, and founder of “The Doctor Connect” health program, told Fox News Digital that ginger beers on the market use artificial flavors instead of real ginger.
“Ginger beer is sugary-flavored water, which doesn’t help with nausea,” Schafer said.
He continued: “Ginger beer is high in carbohydrates, sugar and calories, which is not recommended for diabetes or [those] predisposed to diabetes mellitus, which is a large population”.
Medical experts have found that servings of ginger “speed up stomach emptying” and “stimulate the so-called motility contractions” (how food moves through the stomach and digestive tract), which could make it seem like the stomach is moving. Ginger ale is helping a sick patient if there is real ginger in the drink, according to Schafer.
Gingerol, the phenolic phytochemical found in fresh ginger, is the compound that makes ginger such a nausea aid.
“Gingerol stimulates saliva, bile, and gastric secretions, which compete at serotonin 5-HT3 receptors, and this is why natural ginger helps with nausea, but it is very poorly understood. [regarding] upset stomach,” Schafer said.
He also cautioned that ginger supplements can increase a person’s risk of bleeding, posing a danger to people taking blood thinners.
What you need to know about ginger root
Most brands of ginger ale sold in stores are made with ginger flavorings or extracts, Michelle Rauch, a registered dietitian at The Actors Fund Home, an assisted living facility in Englewood, New Jersey, told Fox News Digital.
Ginger beer, on the other hand, tends to be made with ginger root, the spice plant that has been used in herbal medicines and supplements for centuries.
“Ginger root has long been associated with the treatment of nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms,” Rauch said.
“Most commercial ginger beers contain little or no actual ginger,” he added.
Gingerol, found in ginger root, has been shown to relieve nausea, as the compound improves digestion by reducing the time food spends in the stomach and intestine, Rauch said.
If drink consumers want a drink with real ginger, Rauch said he recommends checking a bottle or can of ginger ale to see if its nutrition panel sheds any light on whether ginger root is listed as an ingredient.
“Diet versions of ginger ale may contain sugar alcohols, such as mannitol and sorbitol, which can cause stomach upset and loose stools when taken in excess,” Rauch said.
The truth about ginger ale vs. ginger
Most commercially available brands of ginger ale are made with “carbonated water, sugar, coloring and very little, if any, ginger extract,” said Jesse Feder, a registered dietitian, personal trainer and contributor to My Crohn’s and Colitis. Team based in Florida. cluster.
“In general, ginger ale will not help ease an upset stomach,” Feder also told Fox News Digital.
“However, the relief of expelling the carbonation from the ginger ale can feel good and feel like you’re reducing bloat. It’s more of a placebo effect.”
Nicholas Dragolea, a junior doctor from London, England, and founder of UK healthcare marketing network Noble Medical, told Fox News Digital that the carbonation in ginger ale can exacerbate gas and bloating.
“To get the most benefits from ginger, you might consider ginger beers with higher concentrations of ginger, or try alternative forms like ginger tea or smoothies,” said Dragolea, who has a BS in medicine and a BS in Surgery (MBBS) from Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
He continued: “From various studies, it is well established that ginger has anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties.”