When someone has an upset stomach or bowel issues, they may turn to Coke for a diarrhea cure. But experts indicate that caffeinated sodas, which include Coke, and diarrhea don't go well together. The caffeine in Coke may make your diarrhea worse.
Coke, especially regular Coke and Diet Coke, have caffeine in them. Many health experts recommend avoiding caffeinated beverages and sugary drinks when you have diarrhea. Instead, try electrolyte drinks containing sodium and potassium.
Coke for Diarrhea?
Coke has long been suggested as a remedy for diarrhea, but the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) suggests that caffeinated beverages, fructose, fruit-sweetened drinks and some sugar substitutes can actually make diarrhea worse. Harvard Health suggests that caffeine can actually increase the loss of water and salt.
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Instead of Coke for diarrhea, the best drinks for diarrhea contain sodium and potassium. The IFFDG suggests sports drinks with electrolytes, although some may have high fructose corn syrup. The IFFDG also suggests Pedialyte and Equalyte. The Mayo Clinic suggests fruit juices if they appeal to you, but some fruit juices, like apple juice, may make your diarrhea worse.
If you really want soda, the University of Wisconsin Health Services says the best soda for upset stomach are clear, non-caffeinated sodas such as 7-Up, Sprite or ginger ale. Clear broth is another good option. Broths, especially those made from bouillon, contain lots of salt. Choose a broth that seems appealing. The fluid in broth will also help rehydrate you.
Read More: What Fruits Cause Diarrhea?
Add in Solid Foods
Hopefully, the potassium and sodium-rich fluids are helping you or your child start to feel better a few hours after symptoms started. Continue replenishing with fluids, but you'll want to eat something as well. The following soft, starchy foods are good:
- Cooked cereal
- Steamed rice
- Unbuttered toast
You want to eat small meals throughout the day, says the IFFGD. Rest after meals, to slow the rate that the food passes through your gut. Try to remain seated for 20 to 30 minutes after each meal. For kids, the IFFGD says that feeding a regular, nutritious diet to them may reduce the duration of the diarrhea.
Good foods for kids recovering from diarrhea, according to Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, include complex carbohydrates, such as rice, wheat, potatoes, bread and cereals, lean meats, yogurt, fruits and vegetables. Make sure your child continues to rehydrate with an oral rehydration solution.
Read More: Why Does Coffee Hurt My Stomach?
As You Recover
As you or your child recovers from diarrhea, continue to consume electrolyte-based fluids and broth, while eating easy-to-digest foods. According to the Mayo Clinic, you want to avoid fatty, greasy, fried foods, dairy, highly seasoned foods and foods high in sugar, including fruit juices and soft drinks. You may want to eat chicken, rice, soda crackers and eggs.
The Mayo Clinic suggests eating some yogurt or taking probiotic supplements to restore balance to your intestinal tract. They caution, however, that further research is needed to determine which strains are best and what dosages to take. It is not clear that probiotics will shorten the duration of your diarrhea, the Mayo Clinic says.
If the diarrhea doesn't get better in two days for a child or five days for an adult, Medline Plus says you should see your doctor.
- Medline Plus: "when You Have Diarrhea"
- International Foundation for Gastronintestinal Disorders: "Nutrition Strategies for Managing Diarrhea"
- Harvard Health: "Diarrhea: What Is It?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Diarrhea"
- Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego: "Dehydration"
- University of Wisconsin Madison University Health Services: "Upset Stomach"