Hydration: Water or Coke?

10:22 p.m. on December 8, 2002 (EST)
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I received an email a while ago and I saved the text but not the email so I can not check the source. As I browse through this useful discussion forum, I have found there are some pretty savy folks that respond from time to time. I would like to know if the following comments on Coca Cola are accurate or not before I put them up on TraditionalMountaineering.org. There are a lot of urban legends out there. Thanks!

"Hydrate with water or with Coke?

We all know that hydration is important but I

1:23 p.m. on December 9, 2002 (EST)
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Lot of urban legends repeated there

The information on hydration and about water is close to what has been published by wilderness medicine authorities for many years, but I would suggest going to the books published on wilderness medicine by those authorities - Paul Auerbach, Eric Weiss, Buck Tilton, and for altitude stuff, Charles Houston and Peter Hackett.

The stuff about Coke is mostly urban legend stuff, most of which has been disproven. Again I suggest you go to the medical authorities before you post any of it. A major problem with Coke and other soft drinks (and most of the commercially mixed "hydration" mixes like Gatorade) is that they actually slow the body's absorption of the water. In the soft drink case, both the high sugar concentration and carbonation slow absorption, where in the case of Gatorade and the like, it is the high sugar concentration. The US Olympic Committee training guidelines and the climbing medical people suggest mixing hydration mixes about half the concentration on the packages (or diluting to half-strength). Only one mix that I know of that is considered to be about the right concentration for fast absorption is Bill Gookin's Gookinade (now called Hydrolyte on the 1 quart envelope packages). Gookin developed it for orienteering after finding things like Gatorade were not working for him and many others.

2:36 p.m. on December 9, 2002 (EST)
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Coke...very common use in ultra's.

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The stuff about Coke is mostly urban legend stuff, most of which has been disproven. Again I suggest you go to the medical authorities before you post any of it. A major problem with Coke and other soft drinks (and most of the commercially mixed "hydration" mixes like Gatorade) is that they actually slow the body's absorption of the water. In the soft drink case, both the high sugar concentration and carbonation slow absorption, where in the case of Gatorade and the like, it is the high sugar concentration. The US Olympic Committee training guidelines and the climbing medical people suggest mixing hydration mixes about half the concentration on the packages (or diluting to half-strength). Only one mix that I know of that is considered to be about the right concentration for fast absorption is Bill Gookin's Gookinade (now called Hydrolyte on the 1 quart envelope packages). Gookin developed it for orienteering after finding things like Gatorade were not working for him and many others.

Bill raced in the '68 Olympic Games. Said that quite a number of folk, himself included had a hard time with the heat and dehyrdration. Which prompted him to develop his drink, which I highly recommend. I prefer Gookinaid/Hydrolyte way over Gatoraid.

Coke. Does anything taste better after a really really long day on the trail? I have a few ulta runner friends. Almost all of them pound a Coke for especially the final few miles. Some fill the water bottle with coke a day ahead to get rid of the carbination. Sugar, caffiene and fluid. One says her secret weapon is Coke and potato(e) chips for the final 15 miles or so (Wasatch 100).

Some interesting notes from the Badwater ultra. Note the Coke intake!
http://www.coachweber.com/2001_badwater_race_crew_notes.htm

So...Coke is a very common fluid that I'll hazard to say "most" ultra runners ingest during a race. Interesting.

Do a web search on "ultramarathon" and "coke" and you'll see what I mean.

Brian in SLC

3:09 p.m. on December 10, 2002 (EST)
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excellent link

i loved the commentary. coke + pringles ..... my personal favorite "get me to the car" solution.

7:29 p.m. on December 10, 2002 (EST)
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Re: Lot of urban legends repeated there

Bill, Brian and Todd-
Thanks for the help. I have expanded my proposed FAQ to "Hydration: not so simple!" and I will drop the urban legends about coke cleaning truck engines, etc.

So here is a problem: If I am running a marathon, I don't need to replace too much glycogen, particularly if I am fit. I'll drink GookinAid. But if I am climbing at near aerobic threashold for say, 15 hours, I am going to need to eat carbos with a little protein (ClifBars) and wash them down with fluid so the digestive process does not further deplete my blood volume. Water, GatorAid or GookinAid, the absobtion problem is moot. (GookinAid *is* better than Gaitorade in a marathon.)

There is more: If I use a bladder in my pack, how do I monitor my three quarts for the climb? Cuyrrently, I use Platypus litre bottles (about one oz each when empty) so that I can monitor the hydration.

Another problem: If I drink to much, I will waste the water and it will go through to the other bladder. How much is enough?

Another question: Post race (or training) "carboration" (I just made that up!) must take place during the first half hour or it will take 24 hours to refill the glycogen in my legs. Or do I have an hour?

I found the link to the ultra coke site very interesting as suggested by Brian. (Brian, what is SLC?) Is it the caffene (sp?)in the coke? Does anyone still use the coffee before the race to get the lipids going?

Thanks in advance, guys!

 

Quote:

The information on hydration and about water is close to what has been published by wilderness medicine authorities for many years, but I would suggest going to the books published on wilderness medicine by those authorities - Paul Auerbach, Eric Weiss, Buck Tilton, and for altitude stuff, Charles Houston and Peter Hackett.

The stuff about Coke is mostly urban legend stuff, most of which has been disproven. Again I suggest you go to the medical authorities before you post any of it. A major problem with Coke and other soft drinks (and most of the commercially mixed "hydration" mixes like Gatorade) is that they actually slow the body's absorption of the water. In the soft drink case, both the high sugar concentration and carbonation slow absorption, where in the case of Gatorade and the like, it is the high sugar concentration. The US Olympic Committee training guidelines and the climbing medical people suggest mixing hydration mixes about half the concentration on the packages (or diluting to half-strength). Only one mix that I know of that is considered to be about the right concentration for fast absorption is Bill Gookin's Gookinade (now called Hydrolyte on the 1 quart envelope packages). Gookin developed it for orienteering after finding things like Gatorade were not working for him and many others.

8:47 p.m. on December 10, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Coke

Most of the stuff there about Coca Cola is bunk. It would be very unwise indeed to drink something with a pH of 2.8, for instance. Something like that will melt your flesh and burn your clothes.

Now, as far as the battery terminal trick goes: Yes, if you don't have any water+baking soda and you MUST remove the corrosion, Coca cola will do the trick. It is, though, (I'm only hazarding a guess) because some of the chemicals in the coke (Could be the sugars) undergo an organic reaction with the acid. I would suggest using baking soda+water to wash the corrosion away because then you end up with a nice neutral salt+water. I'm not sure what the coke creates, because I got a "B" in organic chemistry 1 and 2. ;)

Lastly, the reason you DON'T want to pound coke instead of water (exclusively, at least), is that caffeiene is, as I'm sure you know, a dieuretic. It makes you pee. It makes you sweat. It prevents your body from retaining water (by suppresing the hormone ADH or Vasopressin).

Regards,
James

8:53 a.m. on December 11, 2002 (EST)
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Hydration...sorta kinda

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There is more: If I use a bladder in my pack, how do I monitor my three quarts for the climb? Cuyrrently, I use Platypus litre bottles (about one oz each when empty) so that I can monitor the hydration.

That's one problem I seem to have with a bladder type "hydration system". Like havin' a binky in your mouth, I tend to over do it and shazam, run out of water quickly.

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Another problem: If I drink to much, I will waste the water and it will go through to the other bladder. How much is enough?

Just me thinkin' outside the box here, but, I say, if you're gettin' thirsty, drink (poor attempt at humor). Also, if you're not regularly (I supposin' this will be a semi personal thing) peein', then you need to drink. I also know to drink when I start feelin' sluggish.

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Another question: Post race (or training) "carboration" (I just made that up!) must take place during the first half hour or it will take 24 hours to refill the glycogen in my legs. Or do I have an hour?

I think you have as long as it takes to find food...! I'm not sure what is optimum.

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I found the link to the ultra coke site very interesting as suggested by Brian. (Brian, what is SLC?)

Salt Lake City.

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Is it the caffene (sp?)in the coke?

Its a combo platter: caffiene, sugar and water.

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Does anyone still use the coffee before the race to get the lipids going?

Well, some of us don't race, but, I for one and a coff-fiend! Most of my climbing partners are as well.

Fun!

Brian in SLC

10:40 a.m. on December 11, 2002 (EST)
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"caffeine is no more a diuretic than water"

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Lastly, the reason you DON'T want to pound coke instead of water (exclusively, at least), is that caffeiene is, as I'm sure you know, a dieuretic. It makes you pee. It makes you sweat. It prevents your body from retaining water (by suppresing the hormone ADH or Vasopressin).

I, uhh, don't think your above statement is true or based in scientific fact. Studies have shown that caffeine has about as much diuretic effect as water.

http://www.healthcentral.com/drdean/deanfulltexttopics.cfm?ID=1298&storytype=MedicalReports

Not sure about the suppresion of hormones. Do you have a link to a study or published paper confirming that?

I've always heard, "you shouldn't drink so much coffee, you'll get dehydrated". I still do and never have been. I think the water content of coke and coffee far exceeds any mild diuretic effect of the caffeine. Its no mystery that when I drink a whole pot of coffee, I piss like a race horse. Not because of the caffeine, but due to the huge volume of fluid.

That coffee and/or coke are extremely common and used by most every endurance athlete, and you never hear of negative effects of dehydration, supports that it just isn't an issue.

Coffee=dehydration is another urban myth.

Brian in SLC

4:42 p.m. on December 11, 2002 (EST)
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Not quite what it said

The article Bri links to (by Dr. Dean Edell, who is well-known to repeat stories that are only half-fact) doesn't quite say caffeine adds no effect. It says that the water loss from a cup of coffee is about 1/2 cup and from a cup of plain water is 1/3 cup, which sounds like the coffee increases the loss by about 30 percent. It also says that the effect for regular coffee drinkers (like the Big Guy from SLC) is less than for occasional coffee drinkers (the body adjusts over time, apparently). A question in my mind is, whattaya mean by "loss"? Presumably eventually you lose 1 cup for every cup you drink, the paths being urine, breathing, and sweat (anything else?). In my personal experience, if I drink a quantity of fluid with caffeine (soft drinks like Dr. Pepper, since I don't drink colas, or tea or cocoa), I dump a lot more, more often (during the first couple of hours), and a lot sooner than if it is the same amount of non-caffeinated beverage (water, root beer, etc.). If I drink a lot of caffeinated beverage before a hike, bike ride, run, I usually have to stop for relief about an hour into the hike, where with plain water or a non-caffeinated drink, I can usually go for much longer.

As for the hydration vs water bottle, when I started using a Camelbak, I went through it pretty fast. But over time, I developed the habit of pacing my drinking, so that the total water or Gookinade (which does have caffeine, as do most "sport" drinks) was about the same as when carrying a water bottle. But I stay hydrated over the whole time, rather than with the water bottle, where I have to stop, get it out, take a huge drink, put it away, and get going again. With the water bottle, I end up putting off drinking until I start feeling myself slow down, which means I tend to wait until the effects of dehydration start becoming overly evident.

Back in my youth (too many decades ago), we would spend a full day climbing at, say Tahquitz or JTree, then stop at an A&W stand, buy a gallon of root beer each, and guzzle it on the spot (in those days, A&W sold only root beer and closely related drinks, no burgers, no fries, and DQ sold only ice cream-related stuff). Obviously (in retrospect) we were thoroughly dehydrated (maybe 1 liter of water during 8 hours of climbing), and maybe that's why we didn't have to stop for relief during the 2-5 hours drive home (5 hours on holiday weekends, 2 on normal weekends).

4:58 p.m. on December 11, 2002 (EST)
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Re: Hydration...sorta kinda

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There is more: If I use a bladder in my pack, how do I monitor my three quarts for the climb? ...

Just me thinkin' outside the box here, but, I say, if you're gettin' thirsty, drink (poor attempt at humor).

*** If you drink from the Camelbak/Platypus in mouthfuls rather than sucking a huge amount, you will learn quickly how to pace and time your drinking to stay hydrated without overdrinking. The body can absorb a cup pretty quickly, but a pint tends to get a lot of it relayed straight to your personal bladder (hey, that is what Mark Twight says!)

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... Also, if you're not regularly (I supposin' this will be a semi personal thing) peein', then you need to drink. I also know to drink when I start feelin' sluggish.

*** Both excellent criteria.

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Another question: Post race (or training) "carboration" (I just made that up!) must take place during the first half hour or it will take 24 hours to refill the glycogen in my legs. Or do I have an hour?

I think you have as long as it takes to find food...! I'm not sure what is optimum.

*** The USOC training manuals say 1-2 hours. Presumably they have been experimenting on athletes for a couple decades now and have some sort of handle on it. Course, Olympic-level athletes are different from us real people in many ways, wo who knows?


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Does anyone still use the coffee before the race to get the lipids going?

Well, some of us don't race, but, I for one and a coff-fiend! Most of my climbing partners are as well.

*** At one time, back when I was seriously involved in bicycle racing (1970s-80s), caffeine was one of the banned substances that they did drug-testing for. You were allowed a certain amount in your urine test, which was supposed to be equivalent to a couple of cups of coffee or Cokes. When the race was over, the top 5 finishers in races sanctioned by what is now USCF plus a certain percentage of other racers were handed a sample bottle. Since I was mostly racing in the Deep South, many of us finished the race rather dehydrated and had problems filling our bottles, but we were held there until we could. I remember a couple times when someone in the top 3 had too much caffeine and got DQ'd. And there was one National where someone who was a top racer got DQ'd for caffeine as well. Reason for caffeine being on the list is that it is "performance enhancing." And that's the reason it is in "sport drinks" as well. I haven't been keeping up with the list of banned substances since I retired from racing, but I understand the list is really long now, and includes cough medicines and a lot of other stuff that people commonly take.


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Fun!

Brian in SLC

7:40 p.m. on December 11, 2002 (EST)
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No polite title line

Hi Brian

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I, uhh, don't think your above statement is true or based in scientific fact.

Well I'm sorry to hear that. I don't have my Phys textbook on hand here, but IIRC, Caffeine and Alcohol produce their diuretic effects by interfering with either ADH production in the Hypothalamus or ADH release in the Pituitary. Caffeine (and other Alkaloids in its class) have high lipid solubility and they do indeed act directly and on the Central Nervous System. And of course everyone KNOWS that Alcohol acts right on the ol' noggin.

Now, the tubules in your kidneys are pretty impermiable to water. But the hormone ADH (or vasopressin) opens up some channels and lets water pass through the walls of the tubules back into the bloodstream. Usually your body regulates this automatically, such that just the right amount of water flows out of you as urine and the right amount is reabsorbed to keep you all in balance. Chemicals like Caffeine and Ethanol which inhibit ADH (production or relase I don't know, but I suspect release) cause the collecting tubules to be slightly less water-permeable than normal, hence the water flows out of you in the form of urine, rather than being absorbed back into your bloodstream.

Another POSSIBLE reason that Caffeine and its related alkaloids (like thyophillene or whatever it is thats in Tea) can cause a (mild) diuretic effect is by slightly increasing the cardiac output, they increase the Renal blood flow, which increases the glomerular filtration rate, which results in increased urine output. But I don't know about that one.

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Coffee=dehydration is another urban myth.

I didn't say Coffee=dehydration, but for me, a non-caffeine user, when I do (rarely) drink a coke (dr. pepper more likely), I do have to pee pretty soon. But that's a far cry from dehydration.

But what do I know? I'm a lowly math major.

Regards,
James

12:49 p.m. on December 12, 2002 (EST)
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Good stuff, James!

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I, uhh, don't think your above statement is true or based in scientific fact.

Well I'm sorry to hear that. I don't have my Phys textbook on hand here, but IIRC, Caffeine and Alcohol produce their diuretic effects by interfering with either ADH production in the Hypothalamus or ADH release in the Pituitary. Caffeine (and other Alkaloids in its class) have high lipid solubility and they do indeed act directly and on the Central Nervous System. And of course everyone KNOWS that Alcohol acts right on the ol' noggin.

Didn't mean to come across as unfriendly, but, was a bit of a troll. Glad you bit.

 

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I didn't say Coffee=dehydration, but for me, a non-caffeine user, when I do (rarely) drink a coke (dr. pepper more likely), I do have to pee pretty soon. But that's a far cry from dehydration.
But what do I know? I'm a lowly math major.

You're doin' pretty well for a math guy...!

Be interesting to see some more data. Wonder if any sharpie sports medicine folk would wade in...?

Or...math folk....(!)....

Thanks for the response.

Brian in SLC

4:08 p.m. on December 12, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Coke...very common use in ultra's.

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Some interesting notes from the Badwater ultra. Note the Coke intake!
http://www.coachweber.com/2001_badwater_race_crew_notes.htm

So...Coke is a very common fluid that I'll hazard to say "most" ultra runners ingest during a race. Interesting.

My problem with using Coke during ultras is the sucrose. It tends to make your teeth feel like they have barnacles on them after twelve hours. Gatorade has the same problem. In addition those types of drinks are too sweet for extended use.

I find maltodextrin based energy drinks have a more moderate sweetness, much more tolerable over a long period of time.

The vanguard of energy drinks for ultraendurance now incorporate protein content and some of the newest ones also include fat. For the really long haul try Spiz; a lot of RAAM riders use this stuff.

Personally I decouple the fluid, carbs, and electrolytes from each other, using mainly water, carbohydrate gels, and electrolyte capsules. It allows you to tailer your intake of each for the given conditions. The electrolytes are especially important because you'll never get enough from energy drinks--despite what the Gatorade commercials might have you believe. If those drinks did have adequate salts in them they would taste like sea water and be undrinkable.

Fluid needs don't have to move in lockstep with caloric needs. Running in cool weather can take just as much calories as running in hot weather, but you need more fluid for the heat. Using a combination of gels and water permits you to make the adjusment.

6:44 p.m. on December 12, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Coke & Ph

I used my cheapo soil tester to check the Ph on a can of Coke. I poured the Coke into a plastic cup and being careful to not contact the sides of the cup got an actual reading of 1.5 and after the fizz flattened out got a reading of 1.0. (Close enough to the claimed 2.8 for me see them as equal, using an uncalibreted Ph tester and all.)These are both on the alkaline side of the Ph with the acid on the opposite end of the scale. It

6:52 p.m. on December 12, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

H20 Bladder

Quote:

There is more: If I use a bladder in my pack, how do I monitor my three quarts for the climb? Cuyrrently, I use Platypus litre bottles (about one oz each when empty) so that I can monitor the hydration.

--I use a spare nalgene bottle on my belt to act as my reserve while using my hydration bladder to keep me going through the day. When the bladder dries out I use the bottle and keep an eye out for a source to refill from. This doesn

9:56 a.m. on December 13, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Coke & Ph

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Anyone out there that knows more about it than I?

If I remember correctly, a pH of 7.0 is neutral, below that is acidic and above it is base--up to 14. No real difference between the "acidic" effects of bases and acids. Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye, is a base and it's used in drain cleaner; it will "dissolve" aluminum.

That pH of 1.0 is scary. Just imagine your teeth soaking in the stuff.

5:41 p.m. on December 13, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

some numbers

This isnt my area of expertise but I did a quick search of the literature and found this paper:

Stookey JD. Eur J Epidemiol 1999 Feb;15(2):181-8
The diuretic effects of alcohol and caffeine and total water intake misclassification.

It gives "water losses due to caffeine" as 1.17 ml/mg caffeine. I dont have the actual paper so dont know how that was determined, etc. So, caffeine is a diuretic but a cup of coffee is not dehydrating (unless it is really strong!).

There is interesting info on caffeine and hydration issues at www.sportsci.org, see the Sport Nutrition section.

8:57 p.m. on December 13, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Ouch!

I know for a fact that 7.0 is the pH of neutral water, below it acidic, and above it basic. Bases can be just as terrible and corrosive as acids, make no mistake.

I have a hard time swallowing (buh dum CHING!) that coke has a pH of 2, but I didn't actually do any measuring so I'll take your word for it. Come to think of it, maybe an acid can have a really low pH but also a low molarity and it wont hurt you that much? I know in lab we worked with 5 molar HCl with a pH around 1.something that burned a hole in a girls pants and melted her flesh ....

James

3:28 p.m. on December 14, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Doh!

Started thinking more about this and looked at the tester again. I would

1:06 a.m. on December 15, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: WHOOOAAAA *_*_*__*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*some numbers

So, 1.17 ml/mg. and the average cup of coffee has about 50mg of caffeine (we'll not consider the similar effects of thebromine and theophylline just yet). 1 cup = 8oz. The average thermal mug is 12oz, so that would be 75mg of caffeine per 12oz. So one cup of coffee would deplete 1.17 mg/ml x 75mg = 87.8 mL of water from your body. And, 29.6 oz/ml x 12 oz. = 355.2 mL coffe per mug. Well, 87.8 mL/ 355.2 mL = 0.247, or 25%! THAT'S SIGNIFICANT!!!

So by that, consider that only 75% of that coffee is working to hydrate you.

You have 2 cups of coffee at high camp just before setting off for the summit push and you just cheated yourself out of a needed 6 oz. of water. Weight being carried not to aid hydration on the climb, but to make up a deficit.

Just spoutin',
Chris

 

Quote:

This isnt my area of expertise but I did a quick search of the literature and found this paper:

Stookey JD. Eur J Epidemiol 1999 Feb;15(2):181-8
The diuretic effects of alcohol and caffeine and total water intake misclassification.

It gives "water losses due to caffeine" as 1.17 ml/mg caffeine. I dont have the actual paper so dont know how that was determined, etc. So, caffeine is a diuretic but a cup of coffee is not dehydrating (unless it is really strong!).

There is interesting info on caffeine and hydration issues at www.sportsci.org, see the Sport Nutrition section.

6:09 p.m. on December 22, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

pH of coke

I feel like a science nerd. On a calibrated laboratory pH meter, coke's pH is about 2.5. That's impressively acidic.


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I know for a fact that 7.0 is the pH of neutral water, below it acidic, and above it basic. Bases can be just as terrible and corrosive as acids, make no mistake.

I have a hard time swallowing (buh dum CHING!) that coke has a pH of 2, but I didn't actually do any measuring so I'll take your word for it. Come to think of it, maybe an acid can have a really low pH but also a low molarity and it wont hurt you that much? I know in lab we worked with 5 molar HCl with a pH around 1.something that burned a hole in a girls pants and melted her flesh ....

James

10:01 p.m. on February 4, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Coke & Ph

Hi there,

Actually a low ph is acidic and a high ph is alkaline. A ph of 2.8 is acidic and lower gets worse.

Coke is pretty acidic.

Take care

7:06 p.m. on July 22, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: Coke...very common use in ultra's.

Just a couple of corrections about comments regarding Gookinaid to set the record straight ... and about Coca Cola ("Coke"): the posting by Bill S said:
"Bill Gookin's Gookinade (now called Hydrolyte on the 1 quart envelope packages). Gookin developed it for orienteering after finding things like Gatorade were not working for him and many others.

Quote:

Bill raced in the '68 Olympic Games. Said that quite a number of folk, himself included had a hard time with the heat and dehyrdration."

The name of the product is "Gookinaid", now with "Hydralyte" appended to make it more marketable, especially for medical uses. I got sick on Gatorade in the '68 Olympic Marathon Trials at Alamosa, CO, as did many other runners, never did make it to the Games. That prompted me to develope a drink that would work for me without the excess acidity, flavor, sodium and sugar in Gatorade and I came up with one that was almost tasteless and was innocuous in the stomach.
In the /69 US Marathon Champs, it worked so incredibly well for me that everyone wanted to know what I was drinking and I said that it was just something I made up for myself ... until a feloow with a bottle of Gatorade asked me and I replied "Mine's Gookin-aid!" ... and they started asking "Where can we get that 'Gookin-aid' stuff?"

I didn't start orienteering until after that.

Re: Coke: The guy who started distance runners on the defizzed coke, Frank Shorter, only used it in the last stages of the marathon when his reserves were getting low. Unfortunately, even more than many energy drinks, it tended to loosen up the intestines ... as evidenced during the Fukuoka marathon where the Japanese cameras followed him closely ... even as he ducked into a side street and dropped his pants!
For many ultrrunners it also tends to cause them to use up their final energy reserves more quickly and "bonk".

10:55 p.m. on October 15, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: pH of coke

i dont know what you guys think but i did some testing and i got coke with a pH of 5.

Quote:

I feel like a science nerd. On a calibrated laboratory pH meter, coke's pH is about 2.5. That's impressively acidic.


Quote:

I know for a fact that 7.0 is the pH of neutral water, below it acidic, and above it basic. Bases can be just as terrible and corrosive as acids, make no mistake.

I have a hard time swallowing (buh dum CHING!) that coke has a pH of 2, but I didn't actually do any measuring so I'll take your word for it. Come to think of it, maybe an acid can have a really low pH but also a low molarity and it wont hurt you that much? I know in lab we worked with 5 molar HCl with a pH around 1.something that burned a hole in a girls pants and melted her flesh ....

James

8:01 a.m. on November 5, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Coke & Ph

One thing I remember from chemistry (actually, one of the few things!) was that pH wasn't the only thing that determined how nasty an acid is. I remember them talking about Hydroflouric (I think) acid which wasn't considered particularly strong but it had an affinity for glass and skin. There are other acids (lemon juice?) that are considered pretty strong that don't bother skin much at all...
It seems like I've heard a lot of talk about how healthy vinegar is for people and yet it is also an acid...
Probably just like everything else... a little of anything (within reason) is ok, too much is bad... food, work, etc.

Mark


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I used my cheapo soil tester to check the Ph on a can of Coke. I poured the Coke into a plastic cup and being careful to not contact the sides of the cup got an actual reading of 1.5 and after the fizz flattened out got a reading of 1.0. (Close enough to the claimed 2.8 for me see them as equal, using an uncalibreted Ph tester and all.)These are both on the alkaline side of the Ph with the acid on the opposite end of the scale. It

1:54 a.m. on November 20, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

Let's get this straight

I'm not going to address everything in the water versus coke legend. But what follows is a comment I posted at http://www.mindbodyhealth.com/guestbook.htm for a similar water versus coke post here: http://www.mindbodyhealth.com/water_coke.htm

"Very interesting website... I stumbled across this page (Water vs Soft Drinks - http://www.mindbodyhealth.com/water_coke.htm) where it states that "The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its Ph is 2.8 and it will dissolve a nail in about 4-days." I am curious as to the original source of this information. It is quite widely spread across the world wide web, which is quite unfortunate, as it is not entirely true. Lets take this one point at a time.
1 "active ingredient is phosphoric acid": I'm not quite sure what is meant by this statement. An active ingredient is a chemical constituent that exerts influence or produces an effect. In the strictest sense, phosphoric acid is one of many active ingredients in colas, not "the active ingredient". It's intended effect is to balance the sweetness of the drink. But it is not in any sense the major active ingredient in colas.
2 "Its Ph is 2.8": This is one of the few truly factual items on the page. Actually, the pH of phosphoric acid is a little above 2.
3 "it will dissolve a nail in about 4-days": My daughter found this in the 'Net, trying to prove to me that colas are bad for your health. To show her that you can't believe everything you read, we actually did the test. We placed a very small steel nail (about 3/4" long) in a glass beaker. We added about 4 ounces of Coca-Cola, and let it sit until all the cola had evaporated (over a week). To her great dismay, my daughter found that the nail was unaffected by the cola. So much for that myth. It is true that phosphoric acid is used to remove rust from steel. I've used it for that purpose myself. Just for the fun of it, I've tried colas on rust and found them completely ineffective (doesn't do much for the taste either! -just a joke). Commercially available phospho-based rust removers DO work quite well. But the phospho in colas is too diluted to have much effect on anything but your taste buds.
By the way, almost all foods are acids with pH's ranging from about 3 to 6. Lemons, lemon juice, and lemon aids have a pH of 2 - 2.2, slightly more acid than colas or phosphoric acid. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has a handy food pH chart at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/lacf-phs.html.
For more information on phosphoric acid, check out these links: Why do soft drinks contain acid?http://www.britishsoftdrinks.com/htm/qa/AdditivesIngredients/acids/acids.htm
Phosphoric acid is an essential part of the RNA and DNA found in every cell in your body... http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/dna/dna.htm
General information about phosphoric acid: http://www.nsc.org/library/chemical/phosphor.htm
Eric Deadwyler Director of Education - Florida's Gulfarium eric@gulfarium.com" end-of-quote


On this site the following comment was made... "It would be very unwise indeed to drink something with a pH of 2.8, for instance. Something like that will melt your flesh and burn your clothes."
You may well note that some foods are as or more acid than Coke, and are consumed regulary with no ill effects. pH is not necessarily an indication of an acid's strength. Strong acids, such as hydrochloric acid, are very strongly ionized in solution, accounting for their relative "strength" as acids. Weak acids are only partially ionized in solution, resulting in a "weak" acid reaction. This and more on acids can be found on any college physics web site, such as this one: http://www.mhhe.com/physsci/chemistry/chang7/esp/folder_structure/ac/m2/s1/acm2s1_1.htm

BTW, a recent study has shown that colas (or almost any other non-alcoholic drink) may be as good as plain water at hydrating the body. Details can be found here: http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/22/2/165

Eric Deadwyler
Director of Education
Florida's Gulfarium
deadwyler@usa.com
eric@gulfarium.com

October 24, 2014
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