The worst time to drink carbonated beverages

Those who consumed one or more servings of carbonated soft drinks per day had a 31 percent higher risk of developing heartburn at night, compared to individuals who avoided these types of beverages.

Those who consumed one or more servings of carbonated soft drinks per day had a 31 percent higher risk of developing heartburn at night, compared to individuals who avoided these types of beverages.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco —

If you are thirsty in the hours before bedtime, you want to drink milk, water or juice. Do not reach for a carbonated beverage or soda pop. According to a new study from the University of Arizona, soft drink consumption in the evening has been linked to troublesome acid reflux at night.

This is no ordinary heartburn — a burning sensation behind the chest bone which typically strikes after meals. When it rises up to the throat, it becomes acid reflux. When it happens at night, typically there are more complications, including a narrowing of the esophagus and even cancerous changes of the esophagus.

According to Dr. Ronnie Fass, lead researcher and a professor of medicine at the U of A, “That is a big price to pay for a can of Coke.” The team also found a link between the use of benzodiazepine sleeping aids such as Ativan, Valium or Xanax and nighttime heartburn, as well as a higher body mass index, snoring, daytime sleepiness, asthma, insomnia and high blood pressure.

In the study of more than 15,000 adults, more than 3,800 said they suffered acid reflux during nighttime sleep. Those who consumed one or more servings of carbonated soft drinks per day had a 31 percent higher risk of developing heartburn at night, compared to individuals who avoided these types of beverages. The worst time to drink a soda is with dinner or in the evening.

Why does soda cause heartburn at night and not during the day? Carbonated beverages are very acidic. When we drink a soda, we also consume a lot of air in the form of carbon dioxide, causing the stomach to distend. It is this distention that seems to be associated with the reflux. When we are awake, just the simple act of swallowing can dilute the reflux acids. At night, the acid remains in the esophagus longer, causing more damage.

Source: The study findings were reported in the journal Chest.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 1, February/March 2006.

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