Flat Cola Inadequate for Pediatric Viral Gastroenteritis

May 29, 2008

In children with acute viral gastroenteritis, flat fizzy drinks such as cola contain too few electrolytes, too little water and possibly too much glucose to provide adequate rehydration, according to an article published online May 27 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

THURSDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- In children with acute viral gastroenteritis, flat fizzy drinks such as cola contain too few electrolytes, too little water and possibly too much glucose to provide adequate rehydration, according to an article published online May 27 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Michelle Jacobs, of Watford General Hospital in Watford, U.K., and a colleague conducted a database search from 1950 to 2007 and identified a small number of relevant citations, which mostly included letters or opinion but also the abstract of a single randomized trial. The most useful data was contained in several biochemical analyses-based papers and recommendations, according to the authors.

The researchers reported that carbonated drinks -- flat or otherwise -- contain low levels of sodium (1.0-9.9 mmol/L) and potassium (0-0.3 mmol/L) and also have a high osmolality (388-790 mOsm/kg of water). They noted that the World Health Organization recommends that oral rehydration solutions contain 90 mmol/L of sodium, 20 mmol/L of potassium and have an osmolality of 333 mOsm/kg of water. They also observed that cola contains about five times as much glucose as recommended for oral rehydration solutions.

"Limited clinical evidence plus much biochemical analysis suggests that carbonated drinks, such as cola (whether 'flat' or otherwise) should not be recommended for oral rehydration in children with acute viral gastroenteritis," the authors conclude. "Parents and carers should be discouraged from using 'flat' fizzy drinks for this purpose."

AbstractFull Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Copyright © 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.