Why Ginger Ale May Not Alleviate Your Upset Stomach

A classic home remedy for an upset stomach is to stretch out on the sofa with a blanket while drinking a glass of ginger ale and watching "The Price is Right." But does this home liquid remedy really work?

Ginger is a plant that grows in Southeast Asia where it has been used for centuries as a spice and for medicinal purposes (via Healthline). According to How Stuff Works, ginger can help to relieve upset stomach symptoms. The root reduces inflammation and also is a stimulant that helps to improve circulation. Ginger root, according to How Stuff Works, also includes two important chemicals that help to relieve upset stomach symptoms: Gingerols and shogaols which help to relax the intestines.

Studies have shown that ginger can be effective in treating upset stomach symptoms and can be an alternative to over-the-counter medicine, per Healthline. Cleveland Clinic specifies that fresh ginger is appropriate to address upset stomach when it is related to morning sickness, motion sickness, and chemotherapy side effects. But before you reach for that can or ginger ale, there are a few things you should know.

An ale for what ails you?

After drinking a glass of ginger ale, you may have found relief from your upset stomach, but it may not have been the ginger that helped you because ginger ale contains little or no ginger root in it. Dietitian Candace O'Neill told the Cleveland Clinic that it's probably the carbonation in the soda helping to relieve stomach problems versus ginger.

One popular ginger ale brand, Canada Dry, lists ginger extract as an ingredient, but it makes up less than 2% of the soda. Its first two ingredients are carbonated water and high fructose corn syrup.  The ingredients list for Seagram's ginger ale are similar. The soda contains carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and ginger extract among other ingredients. While store-bought ginger ale likely won't help you much with your upset stomach, you can make a version of ginger ale at home that contains real ginger. A recipe on Spruce Eats calls for 2 cups of peeled and chopped fresh ginger, as well as lemon peel, water, sugar, and club soda. 

Next time you have an upset stomach, while ginger ale may be refreshing, you're likely best off with another remedy. As far as "The Price is Right" is concerned, it will certainly lift your mood.