Why Do People Drink Sprite or 7up When Sick?

In many households, reaching for a bottle of Sprite or 7up during times of sickness, particularly stomach ailments, is almost a reflex. But what lies behind this common practice? Is it simply a cultural habit, or is there scientific reasoning supporting this choice? As someone with a background in Nigerian business and experience with 7up, I aim to unpack the reasons behind this prevalent behavior, examining both the cultural and scientific perspectives.

The Science Behind Sprite and 7up During Sickness

The Role of Carbonation and Glucose

The primary appeal of Sprite and 7up when sick lies in their carbonation and glucose content. Carbonated water can help ease stomach discomfort, often associated with indigestion or nausea. The bubbles in these drinks can provide a soothing effect on the stomach lining. Furthermore, the glucose in these beverages helps in replenishing energy levels, which can be particularly beneficial when appetite is low during illness.

Mild Hydration Benefits

While they should not replace water or oral rehydration solutions, Sprite and 7up can offer mild hydration benefits. When sick, especially with gastrointestinal issues, staying hydrated is crucial. These drinks can sometimes be more palatable than plain water, encouraging fluid intake.

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Cultural Influences and Comfort

A Familiar Remedy

In many cultures, including Nigerian society, Sprite and 7up are viewed as traditional remedies for sickness. This perception is often passed down through generations, making these drinks a go-to solution in times of illness. The comfort associated with this familiar practice can have a placebo effect, aiding in recovery.

Marketing Influence

The marketing strategies of Sprite and 7up have also played a role in shaping consumer perceptions. Advertisements often portray these beverages as refreshing and rejuvenating, subtly suggesting their suitability during times of low energy or mild illness.

Sprite and 7up Vs. Other Remedies

Comparing to Ginger Ale and Herbal Teas

While Sprite and 7up are popular choices, other beverages like ginger ale and various herbal teas are also commonly consumed for similar purposes. Ginger ale, with its natural ginger content, can be effective against nausea. Herbal teas, on the other hand, offer a wide range of benefits depending on the ingredients used.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet in Recovery

It’s essential to note that while Sprite and 7up can provide temporary relief, they are not substitutes for a balanced diet or proper medical treatment. When recovering from sickness, a diet rich in nutrients is vital for a speedy and complete recovery.

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Q1: Can Sprite or 7up cure stomach ailments?

A1: While they can provide temporary relief from symptoms like nausea or indigestion, they are not cures. For persistent or severe symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical advice.

Q2: Are there any risks associated with drinking Sprite or 7up when sick?

A2: Consuming these drinks in moderation is generally safe. However, their high sugar content can be a concern, especially for individuals with certain health conditions like diabetes.

Q3: Is it better to drink Sprite or 7up at room temperature or cold when sick?

A3: This largely depends on personal preference. Some people find that cold beverages can soothe the throat, while others prefer room temperature drinks for easier digestion.

Q4: Can children consume Sprite or 7up when sick?

A4: In moderation and under supervision, children can have these beverages. However, it’s crucial to ensure

they also consume plenty of water and maintain a balanced diet. For very young children or in cases of severe illness, consult a pediatrician before offering any carbonated beverages.

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Q5: Are diet versions of Sprite or 7up better choices when sick?

A5: Diet versions of these beverages offer lower sugar content, which can be beneficial for certain individuals. However, they contain artificial sweeteners, which may not be suitable for everyone and can sometimes exacerbate gastrointestinal issues.


Drinking Sprite or 7up when sick is a practice rooted in both scientific reasoning and cultural traditions. The carbonation and glucose in these beverages can provide temporary relief from stomach discomfort and offer a mild boost in energy levels. However, it’s important to remember that they are not a cure for illness and should be consumed as part of a broader approach to recovery that includes proper hydration, a nutritious diet, and, when necessary, medical treatment. As with any dietary choice during illness, moderation and attention to individual health needs are key.

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