My friend Paula’s husband had surgery recently and guess what he was given by the nurses in the recovery room?
Shasta soda! Above is a picture of Rick shortly after Paula walked in to visit right after his surgery.
Let’s check out the ingredients of the Shasta soda and see if medical personnel should really be handing this stuff out to vulnerable people who have just had major surgery:
Shasta Soda: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Potassium Benzoate (Preservative), Caramel Color, Sucralose, Natural Flavor, Salt
The big baddies I see in this ingredients list are:
High Fructose Corn Syrup: Calorie for calorie, high fructose corn syrup is more dangerous than white sugar as it is more likely to cause weight gain as published in the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition in 2004. Large amounts of fructose consumed such as what would happen with a can of soda turn quickly into triglycerides in the bloodstream or are stored as fat.
Not a very wise drink choice for recovering surgery patients or anyone for that matter!
Citric Acid: Manufactured from corn, very likely genetically modified. Citric acid coming from corn has traces of MSG in it which is a proven neurotoxin which triggers a wide variety of physical symptoms in many people some very severe.
Potassium Benzoate: A dangerous chemical preservative similar to sodium benzoate. I wrote a post awhile back on how sodium benzoate damages DNA and the link to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. Potassium Benzoate is in the same class of chemicals and should not be consumed particularly by vulnerable post-op patients!
Sucralose: This is an artificial sweetener that is manufactured by chlorinating natural sugar. The Sucralose Toxicity Information Center states that:
While it is unlikely that sucralose is as toxic as the poisoning people are experiencing from Monsanato’s aspartame, it is clear from the hazards seen in pre-approval research and from its chemical structure that years or decades of use may contribute to serious chronic immunological or neurological disorders.
Oh great. It’s slightly better than aspartame! Let’s serve it to hospital patients then!
Natural Flavor: The problem with “natural flavor” is that it is not natural. You never know what is hidden as this is an industry “catch all” label. It is best to avoid products that have “natural flavor” listed just to be on the safe side.
There is no doubt that it is highly irresponsible for hospital personnel to be handing out chemical and sugar laden drinks to post-op patients. What’s so hard about handing out plain carbonated water or at the very least, 100% fruit juice diluted with plain carbonated water to settle the stomach?
Why all the chemicals and dangerous sweeteners?
Do you really think it’s wise to be listening to these people for any sort of dietary advice?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
I think we give the medical professionals way too much credit to think that they’d purposely give us things that are bad for us to keep us coming back. It is the brainwashing of the people on both sides, one to think they’d be so devious and the other, to think that it’s all fine to give patients the crappy foods and drinks. I think we can look at the corporations and political sources of agricultural subsidizing to see that it boils down to profit. I wish they would take a serious look at the nutritional impact and make some changes. Yummy bone broth would have been so nice the three/four days after my kidney surgery when I was on a liquid diet rather than msg laden boullion for sure!
Mild food to settle a queasy tummy or something to raise low blood sugar is the first thought of the nurses taking care of us. They aren’t advocating that you go home and change over to that way of eating, right? Like others have said, it is the power above the nurses, docs and RD’s that have the say.
I thought so too. What could be harmful about acid from lemons? Unless they’re not actually lemons. So sad that we can’t even trust labels!
Our pediatrician routinely hands out Dum-Dum lollipops (appropriate name, lol!) to my kids when we go. (As in he walks into the exam room with them in hand). My son just looks at him and says “no thank you.” And then when he seems perplexed, I feel ridiculous explaining to *a doctor* that my kids don’t eat candy. I definitely think he’s trying to ensure future business. Needless to say, he doesn’t see us very often.
This same thing happened to my daughter after her oral surgery. After she came to, they wanted her to start drinking something. She asked for water and was told that she couldn’t have water, her choices were Sprite, Gatorade, or apple juice. WHAT??? Also, the first “medicine” they gave her to relax, they called “Happy Juice.” Guess what color it was? Bright red!
I definitely had my eyes opened that day. In the future, I will be more prepared and tell them they can stuff it, and that my kids aren’t having the garbage they are pushing.
They stock the same brand at our hospital here in Ohio… my my, but they really have a foot hold in the right industry eh? I was in and out of the ER for hyperemisis when I was pregnant with my twins and they were ALWAYS trying to give it to me. You would not believe how hard it is to get fruit juice in those places! Its either soda or sugary ice pops… honestly! 🙁 yick!
Thank-you, Sharon! Canada Dry 🙂 Ginger Ale was always a tummy soother and still continues to be in our home. It is not like we drink gallons of it. Sometimes we let it sit so the carbonation is released. Acidic juices in a sick system are not the best and there is nothing wrong with a treat in moderation when one is ill.
I don’t see why hospitals cannot serve real bone broth. Are there any reasons why they could not?
It can be pre-made, kept frozen in small serving portions, and thawed/heated as needed.
Yes, I was given “coke syrup” as a kid, too, for nausea. I don’t know what was in it… but it did seem to work.
First off, I’ll say that I don’t think that anyone who complains about this crap being offered in hospitals is wrong. It is probably not the best thing to offer something totally new (even if healthier) to someone going through a medical crisis, but there are certainly healthier versions of sweet/carbonated clear liquids to offer than standard sodas and fruit juices and Jello. I can’t wrap my head around artificial sweeteners being offered in hospitals at all, either. Leaving aside the fact that that stuff is poison, why would anyone think that a hospital patients would need calorie reduced foods when they are trying to heal from a medical crisis? They need more calories – quality calories – not “diet” food!
I do want to point out, though, that giving soda in hospitals isn’t new and does have a connection to old home remedies that might not have been as awful as the versions offered now are.
I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a child 30-40 years ago, had terrible nausea in response to drugs I was given, and was often offered ginger ale to settle my tummy after surgery and drug treatments until I could eat regular food again. I never drank soda at home, but in my memory, the ginger ale did help, despite the unfamiliar spicy/bubbly taste. I don’t know if there was real ginger in the soda back then, or what brand I was given, but ginger is a classic remedy for nausea, after all.
When I was pregnant, I often drank ginger tea for morning sickness – I had awful morning sickness and tried everything I could to be able to function and to avoid drugs for it. The most effective drink I found was a health food store brand of ginger beer, made with real ginger. It was in the soda aisle, but the carbonation really helped. From my experience, I am therefore not totally offended by the idea of ginger ale type sodas being offered – I think they can sometimes help when it is hard to stomach anything else – though they should have real ginger and certainly NOT be full of hfcs or diet sweeteners or artificial colors/flavors.
I also remember my grandparents talking about getting coke syrup from the pharmacy as a remedy for stomach upsets – it used to be a medicine, and if you google coke as a home remedy, you’ll find that there are still people who still think of coke as a remedy for stomach issues. I’m sure the ingredients decades ago were very different than what you’d find in a can of Shasta today, though : P
Jill Mant~a SaucyCook
Anyone who believes that “healthcare professionals” in the Western Hemisphere know about nutrition, probably also thinks that our schools offer healthy lunches to our children! Besides, if one gets diabetes from all the sugar or cholesterol problems from saturated fats we can always rely on our good friends in the pharmaceutical industry (-;
I agree completely with all the comments on here and even here in Canada, it’s no different. I always decline when my doctor encourages me to talk to the dieticians either that works at her office or at the hospital and just shakes her head when I do. But she is respectful enough to listen to me and usually ends it with “It’s your decision but it’s against my advice.”
But, the one thing that absolutely no one has seemed to pick up on and I was really surprised, Sarah, that you didn’t mention it. Why in the world is there sucralose in this soda, along with HFCS? Is this an attempt at not only providing the general population with fatty liver and obesity, along with poisoning them? Does anyone have an idea why this is?
Hi Mary, this is stealth marketing by the soda industry … this is happening in sports drinks also. The added sucralose reduces the number of grams of sugar on the label which makes people more likely to buy it. Most people never get past that part to the ingredients to note that there is an artificial sweetener that has replaced some of the HFCS!
I agree that most people don’t read much past the “nutrition” label…..but that’s wild to think that sucralose would make that much difference in the amount of sugars in the drink. Guess I never thought of it that way. And you’re right, that’s definitely “stealth” marketing. I need to do some more homework on this…..it’s totally mind boggling, the more I read! Thanks for all you do.