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
actually they been do that for years since born i talk mom month ago i was born in 1988 my mom told me was nurses fault for my love soda she told every time i had surgery they also me pop i was really ? so this not new it has been going on since 1988 or maybe long do give apple juice now when get sick !
For someone who wants to shame bad attitudes and behavior, I am disappointed you didn’t name names. The name of the hospital nor its owner was not named. Also, the nurse who made the nasty comment wasn’t named either. Paula acts as if her husband had no free will in the recovery room. Was he able to ask for water if he wanted it? Did he have no control of what he put into his mouth? Further, no one has said anything about filing complaints with the state authorities against the hospital and challenging the nurse’s license. If Paula feels so strongly about this, why didn’t she take further action beyond dumping the soda with nine to eleven teaspoons of sugar in the trash.
I’m not much of a soda drinker, because I know it’s not great for you, but my guess is that one of the main reasons that they have ginger ale in the recovery room is because people may be queasy after surgery (due to the effects of the anesthesia), and ginger ale is great for settling your stomach. Growing up, we always had that to drink when we were sick, and it worked great!
I would absolutely love it if my hospital offered homemade food and bone broth. However, they do not. I have to give my patients something to see if they will keep it down before going home. First off, you’re supposed to let the ginger ale go flat. I myself was given flat pop/soda as a child for a sick tummy. Guess what? it kept me out of the ER or pediatrician’s office. I am a nurse, but believe me I am not plotting your death. I work my butt off trying to save people. Other than my slightly hurt feelings, I enjoy the recipes! Thanks for sharing!
‘ Fresh ‘ post op patients should not have anything carbonated to drink period.
Broth, water, herbal tea, etc should be the norm. That should also be taken in slowly and in small amounts.
The logic behind this is that anesthesia slows ( ie puts your gut to sleep ) gastric motility. Putting a carbonated liquid in a post op patients GI tract is trouble waiting to happen. If the absorbed C02 cannot be passed from the top ( belching ) or bottom ( flatus ) abdominal pain and vomiting can result. Combine that with an abdominal surgery, appendix, colectomy, etc and the patient could also result in a dehisced ( popped stitches ) incision as a result of the vomiting.
ALL soft drinks, unless home made, should be labeled as toxic. There is nothing good about them.
Unfortunately, it is “normal” and to be expected that post op patients are given gingerale or 7up. No one there is even thinking about (nor do they care) about nutrition. Sad, but true, in my opinion.
I just got back from a hospital after vomiting a storm for 4 days. The first thing they gave me to see if I keep it down were clear liquids: jello (don’t even want to know what was in there), italian ice (high fructose corn syrup), broth from cube, this soda, and tea (the only thing I drank) and apple juice. For lunch I got meat loaf with gravy, nasty mashed potatoes, boiled green peas and carrots, piece of bread (I don’t need to tell you the ingredients), apple pie, soda again and milk. And yes, “heart healthy” vegetable oil spread:)
Sure after 4 days of vomiting, the first thing my stomach needs is all this crap!
What was funny that after lunch came the lady from the dietary department to ask me how my lunch was and why I didn’t eat anything. “Well, where do I start?” I thought to myself. I just told her hat mashed potatoes were nasty, didn’t say anything else. She did offer to bring me some fruit, though, if I wanted.
Lori @ Laurel of Leaves
This is exactly what happened to my 6-year old niece when she was admitted to the hospital recently for pneumonia. The very first thing the nurse recommended when asking if she wanted something to drink was a Coke or Sprite. She’s 6! And she has pneumonia!! Sigh . . .
While I wasn’t offered soda during my most recent post-op experience, it was the packet of literature that I was given that appalled me. What I originally thought was instructions for follow-up care at home turned out to be a stack of papers, in English and Spanish, explaining why I needed a flu shot and pneumonia shot as well other pages describing “healthy” habits to prevent myself from catching either.
I totally agree that the food in hospitals is deplorable. But when you’re nauseous sometimes soda is the only thing that helps. I’m 10 weeks pregnant right now and for the last two weeks I have had more gingerale and cola than I have in the last five years. There are mornings where it is truly the only thing I can keep down in tiny sips through a straw. Even the thought of chicken broth, juice or ginger tea makes me queasy. I made my own ginger syrup and mixed it with sparkling water and it was definitely a no go!! They offer these things for a reason…they settle stomaches. I only wish hospitals would stock healthier versions that have real sugar and flavors AND alternatives for people who don’t want to drink them.