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Name: Bridget L.
Status: student
Grade: 4-5
Location:  TX
Country: N/A
Date: April 2006

Question:
Hi see i was wondering if acid is added to your stomach by drinking beverages such as coke, sprite, pepsi. and lemonade? What happens to the acid? is it digested? How does it get out of your stomach and what does it do to your stomach? If you could please answer where i can understand it would be really great.



Replies:
Bridget,

Acid is already present in very high concentrations in your stomach. It is HCl (hydrochloric acid) that is present in your stomach and helps digest food to a large extent. Hydrochloric acid is a very strong acid, much stronger than what is present in sodas and other drinks. When carbon dioxide is dissolved in water (to create carbonated water, ie soda) the carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid, which is a weak acid. The weak acids don't have the digestion power/reactivity to start breaking your food apart, so when they end up in your stomach they really don't change the environment all that much. Hydrochloric acid is actually quite corrosive and it eats the lining of your stomach consistantly! Your stomach lining is constantly being regenerated though, so you usually don't have to worry about it. When parts of your stomach lining do not get replaced, you develop a condition called an ulcer and it is painful feeling in your gut when you develop one.

You have a muscle called the cardiac sphincter that closes off your throat and esophogus from your stomach. When this muscle doesn't shut off the passage completely, your stomach acid can travel up your esophogus and cause a burning sensation, which we called heart burn. This can be soothed by eating antacids (the opposite of an acid is a base), which is simply calcium carbonate and will neutralize the acid. Stomach acid is also the culprate of the burning feeling in your mouth and throat after you vomit. You stomach acid helps in many ways and can hurt you in many other ways, as I have explained. The body keeps the amount of acid fairly consistant, though I cannot tell you the exact pathway by which this regulation occurs.

Matt Voss


The acid content in such drinks slightly elevates the already acid content of the stomach.... this can be a problem if a person is taking medications that need a certain pH enviroment....But more so if a person has gastric reflux or stomach uolcers this added acid can further cause distress.

The balance of these drinks are broken down, much of which is passed through as waste products.... In some cases the work in breaking down the drink can in fact further lead to dehydration.in the long run as opposed to refreshing some one.

H.P.



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