Does Pepsi Help with Nausea?

Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.

The short answer:

The idea that Pepsi or other similar carbonated beverages can help with nausea is largely anecdotal. While there are elements within Pepsi that may alleviate nausea temporarily, it is not generally recommended as a treatment due to other potentially negative health effects.

Key facts:

  • Pepsi, rich in carbonation, sugar, and caffeine, has components that might worsen nausea.
  • Pepsi contains about 38 mg of caffeine, considered low-dose caffeine that doesn’t cause nausea in healthy people.
  • However, Pepsi can cause nausea if you have pre-existing conditions such as gastritis or GERD.
  • The scientific community does not staunchly back Pepsi as a curative for nausea, and further research is necessary.
  • Individual preferences and personal responses can account for some people finding relief from nausea with Pepsi.
  • Healthier alternatives for fighting nausea include natural remedies such as ginger tea, peppermint tea, or clear broths.

Components of Pepsi

As we dissect this matter, let’s first identify what Pepsi contains. The primary ingredients include:

  • Carbonated water,
  • High fructose corn syrup,
  • Caramel color,
  • Sugar,
  • Phosphoric acid,
  • Caffeine,
  • Citric acid,
  • And a variety of natural flavors

From this extensive list, the two elements that could potentially impact the sensation of nausea are carbonation and caffeine.

Caffeine, despite being low in Pepsi, has the tendency to increase the risk of nausea, especially in those with pre-existing gastric or esophageal conditions such as chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Does Pepsi help with nausea?

There is a belief that the carbonation in Pepsi can help settle the stomach, relieving nausea.

The three components of Pepsi that can potentially impact nausea include:

  • Carbonation.
  • Caffeine.
  • Sugar.

The bubbles from carbonation can lead to burping, which might relieve discomfort in the stomach.

On the other hand, caffeine (which is found in low concentrations in Pepsi) can lead to nausea in patients with sensitive stomachs or can add up to other sources of caffeine.

Generally speaking, low caffeine consumption (less than 200 mg caffeine doesn’t lead to significant nausea (except in people with stomach or esophageal issues).

The table below summarizes the effect of low and high caffeine consumption on nausea:

Note that Pepsi contains an average of 35-38 mg of caffeine.

Low Caffeine ConsumptionHigh Caffeine Consumption
Caffeine RangeApproximately 50-200 mg per dayAbove 400 mg per day (individual tolerance may vary)
Effects on NauseaMinimal likelihood For most individualsIncreased likelihood, especially in sensitive individuals

However, it is crucial to note that the evidence backing these claims is not concrete.

Many health professionals (including me personally) do not recommend fizzy drinks like Pepsi for nausea relief because they are often high in sugars and can lead to other health complications if consumed in excess.

Pepsi and pregnancy nausea.

The realm of pregnancy often brings along the unwelcome guest of nausea, particularly prominent during the first trimester.

Anecdotal reports suggest that some women find sipping small amounts of Pepsi or other carbonated beverages can provide fleeting relief from this discomfort.

Nevertheless, the medical community often advises against the over-consumption of caffeine during pregnancy, given the potential risks it entails.

Moreover, the excessive sugar content in Pepsi can precipitate unwelcome consequences, such as excessive weight gain and gestational diabetes.

As always, any treatment options for nausea during pregnancy should be considered in consultation with a healthcare provider.

A UK study suggests high caffeine consumption during pregnancy (>300 mg/day) doubles the risk of miscarriage, independent of nausea experienced during pregnancy. Interestingly, nausea itself was found to reduce miscarriage risk. Prepregnancy caffeine consumption did not impact the miscarriage risk.

Pepsi is not recommended for pregnancy nausea due to its high sugar and caffeine content, which could possibly worsen the condition.

Insights from research.

Few scientific studies have directly investigated the effects of Pepsi on nausea. Many studies on nausea treatments focus on more traditional or pharmaceutical methods.

There is some evidence that carbonated drinks can help with digestion and reduce feelings of nausea, but these studies often used beverages with lower sugar content than Pepsi.

Does Pepsi Cause Nausea?

In some people, Pepsi or other carbonated drinks might actually cause nausea. This could be due to the high sugar content, which can upset the stomach, especially if consumed in large quantities or on an empty stomach.

Some individuals also react negatively to the carbonation, experiencing bloating or a feeling of fullness that can lead to nausea.

Also, the caffeine in Pepsi can add up to the overall caffeine consumption and lead to nausea.

Alternative drinks to fight nausea.

The table below summarizes common drinks that you can use if you have nausea.

Ginger TeaKnown for its anti-nausea properties, ginger tea can soothe the stomach and alleviate feelings of nausea.
Peppermint TeaPeppermint tea can relax the gastrointestinal tract, which can reduce nausea. But note that peppermint may cause gastric irritation in people with sensitive stomachs (use with caution).
Chamomile TeaChamomile tea is known to help with digestion and soothe the stomach, potentially alleviating nausea.
Clear BrothsClear broths are gentle on the stomach, can keep you hydrated, and may help to reduce nausea.
Cold WaterDrinking cold water, especially first thing in the morning, can help to reduce nausea.
Coconut WaterCoconut water helps replenish electrolytes and hydration, which can help manage nausea, especially when it is due to dehydration.