Myth-busting the common stomach bug

Posted on 23 January 2015

When it comes to home cures for gastro, there are quite a number that do the rounds. We asked Dr Hennie du Plessis, a paediatrician at Mediclinic Louis Leipoldt, about the validity of three common ones.

True or false? Drinking Coke, especially flat Coke, will ease an upset stomach.
False. Sugary drinks actually aggravate the stomach – and some people stir a spoonful of sugar into the Coke to make it flat. Rather drink oral rehydration solutions (not energy drinks!) to replace electrolytes, as well as small sips of plain water.

True or false? Grating an apple and eating it after it’s gone brown will settle your tum.
False. ‘I’ve heard this one mentioned in my consulting rooms a couple of times before,’ says Dr du Plessis. ‘I can’t imagine how this would help, unless the pectin in apples binds watery stools, but then that wouldn’t explain why the apple has to go brown first.’

True or false? You should eat only white foods when you have a stomach bug.
Somewhat true. This is good advice, so long as you take care with dairy products. You need to avoid rich, fatty foods that are high in fibre when you have gastroenteritis, so foods like pasta, noodles, rice, crackers, oats, plain chicken and fish are among the best choices. These foods just so happen to be white, usually.

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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