Why does drinking soda on an empty stomach cause stomach cramps?

Today, not long after waking up, the first thing I ate or drank was some soda. And I was reminded that I often get cramps when I drink soda first thing in the morning, particularly when my stomach feels especially empty. No other drink that I’ve had has this problem. (And the soda is not caffeinated.)

I decided to Google why this happens, but the best result I found was a Yahoo! Answers post, or some YouTube video about negative energies. So I turn to you guys.

Carbonated drinks are also quite acidic. Some stomachs don’t tend to like that when they’re empty. While stomachs do secrete acid, and are equipped to handle acidic environments as a result, they secrete it in response to incoming food, which does tend to buffer the stomach acid thus secreted.

Orange juice (like a lot of it) on an empty stomach once caused me distress. Lesson learned, always put something else in there along with to the liquid acid, like a slice of toast.

I used to drink diet coke even before a cup of coffee in the morning and I got cramps, immediately afterwards. I think it’s acid, the coldness and the bubbles all mixed together. This is the south. Many people drink coke instead of coffee in the morning. It’s a thing. I had to quit because of stomach.distress. After that I was able to completely eliminate them. Best decision ever.

Interesting. I don’t drink soda on an empty stomach, but I always thought it was the solid wall of sugar, not the acidity. However, I can’t drink coffee in the morning, even after eating, and the effect is more sour stomach/heartburn.

I looked it up after Qadgop’s post. Soda has about the same pH as vinegar. Just slightly less acidic at 2.5 instead of 2.4. Carbonic acid may be a weak acid, at around 3.5, but then they apparently add more acid or something.

It’s weird how much more sour vinegar tastes. It goes to show that pH and sourness are not directly correlated.

His explanation does make sense. The cramps are worse, and I’d been having more problems with heartburn. And my understanding is that you don’t normally feel the acid in your stomach, but in your esophagus. So if there was a lot of acid in my stomach, I wouldn’t know

The only weird thing is that I’ve been on a proton pump inhibitor for a while. I hope there’s not a paradoxical effect, where my body makes more acid to make up for it.

FYI- Qadgop is an MD. Trust his posts.

Did you forget about the sweetener added to the soda?

Of course not. But I was taught in school (like most people) that sourness is just our tongue responding to acidity. Sure, we all know adding sugar can make sourness less unpleasant, but it never seemed to me like the sweetness actually removed any of the sourness.

Sodas do not taste more sour than orange juice. Yet they are more acidic. Orange juice is has a pH of only about 3.5, but it tastes far more sour than any soda I drink.

I knew that soda was somewhat acidic, but I never realized just how acidic it actually was. I had been about to ask why other acidic drinks don’t hurt my stomach. But then I looked up the exact pH value of them, and I discovered that soda is much more acidic than anything else I drink.

It does?

Soda is the first thing I consume after waking up most mornings, and this is news to me.

Could the fact it’s chilled be a factor? Can drinking ice water on an empty stomach have the same effect? I know when I’m dehydrated, I’ll drink down a slug of tepid water first to get off of the dime, then sip at chilled water.

I don’t actually tend to drink soda chilled anymore. It started because I avoid getting ice in my soda when out, as it melts and makes the drink less good. Then I started only drinking cans from the fridge at home. Eventually I wound up trying a soda that was hot, and it was fine for lemon-lime sodas. And now I’ve adjusted that I just drink basically anything warm that isn’t diet. For other stuff, the only chill is the draft that comes in from the door since I leave my sodas over there, so they are sometimes slightly cold.

And I’m fully aware this is not something everyone experiences, Smapti. That’s why Qadgop said it bothers some stomachs. I would guess it has at least partly to do with how much acid is in there normally, and just how your stomach reacts.

BTW, I looked it up and colas are the most acidic, with lemon lime sodas in the middle and root beer being the least acidic of the stuff I’m currently drinking.

I’m with Smapti on this one - when I’m in a rush and don’t have time to make coffee, I regularly consume cold diet coke or pepsi first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. I’ve never once had an issue with stomach upset.

I’d suggest a more accurate question would be “Why do** I **get stomach cramps …” rather than the blanket assumption that everyone does.

As for the reason, I’d not a doc, but I agree it’s likely excess stomach acid caused by the acid in the drink. Do you get a similar reaction from black coffee on an empty stomach? Black coffee is also acidic (milk or cream in coffee reduces the acid level).

If you have some antacids like Rolaid’s try taking a dose. If it helps, then the problem was excess stomach acid. Alternatively, drinking a glass of milk will help the acid level come down (but I don’t think this is a viable solution if you have any serious stomach/acid problems).