In general, ginger ale is safe for most people to consume in moderation. However, you may want to keep the following potential side effects in mind.
Consuming ginger ale may cause bloating, burping, and increased gassiness. These effects are due to the carbonation and are common with any carbonated beverage.
Reading: Is ginger ale good for you
Diet ginger ale contains artificial sweeteners, which may be in the form of sugar alcohols. These calorie-free sweeteners can cause bloating or diarrhea, especially if you consume them in large amounts (16).
Health effects of added sugar
For most people, added sugar is the most unhealthy thing about drinking ginger ale.
Many studies have suggested that consuming large amounts of added sugar may lead to weight gain and chronic disease.
Studies have found that people who regularly consumed sugar-sweetened drinks, including soda, had higher body weights and more visceral fat than those who didn’t (17, 18).
Research has also suggested that eating a lot of sugar is related to the development of dental cavities, cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic health conditions (19).
It’s important to note that the sugars naturally present in foods such as fruits and dairy products don’t have these harmful effects (19).
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest keeping your added sugar consumption under 200 calories per day for a 2,000-calorie diet (20).
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A single 12-ounce (360-mL) can of ginger ale may contain 36 grams of added sugar, which is 72% of the Daily Value (DV) based on a 2,000 calorie diet (21).
Ingredient lists may include many names for added sugar, such as organic cane sugar, agave nectar, and honey.
To keep your sugar intake within the recommended limit, you may want to check ingredient lists and drink sugar-sweetened ginger ale only in moderation.
Artificial and nonnutritive sweeteners
Two recent reviews suggest that nonnutritive sweeteners may lead to metabolic issues. One review suggests they alter the balance of beneficial gut bacteria in healthy people, causing metabolic changes that can lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity (22, 23).
One observational study found that people who consumed diet soft drinks were more likely to have metabolic syndrome than people who drank sugar-sweetened soft drinks or no soft drinks (24).
Those who consumed diet drinks also tended to have larger waist circumferences and higher fasting blood sugar levels (24).
However, researchers have pointed out that the effects of nonnutritive sweeteners on gut bacteria and metabolism are still controversial and scientists need to research them further (22).
The nonnutritive sweeteners acesulfame-potassium (Ace-K), aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, and stevia may be potential culprits. The FDA has approved all of these for use in food in the United States, so you may find them in diet ginger ale (22, 25).
Another recent research review looked at 56 studies on the effects of nonnutritive sweeteners. Overall, the researchers found no difference in the health outcomes of people who consumed nonnutritive sweeteners as compared with people who didn’t (26).
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However, the researchers also said that many of the studies they reviewed were lower quality. They suggested scientists need to do more research on the health outcomes of nonnutritive sweeteners (26).
As you can see, the research on the health effects of nonnutritive sweeteners is mixed.
Aspartame is one nonnutritive sweetener in diet ginger ale that may have some side effects, but research results are mixed and scientists need to do more research to investigate its potential effects.
A 2017 review on the safety of aspartame suggested it may affect several cellular processes to cause inflammation. However, most of the research included in the review was in animals (27).
Another review from 2018 noted that consuming aspartame in large amounts may trigger headaches, insomnia, and other issues with thinking or behavior in people who are sensitive to it (28).
However, the researchers said there was currently not enough evidence on the safety of consuming aspartame and that scientists needed to investigate this further (28).
Potential interactions with blood thinners
One review suggested that consuming a lot of ginger over a prolonged period may lead to an increased risk of bleeding. So, consuming ginger in large amounts could be a problem if you take blood-thinning medications (29).
Otherwise, when consumed in moderation, ginger ale is a low risk beverage for the average person and can fit within an overall healthy diet.
Ginger ale in moderation is safe for most people. That said, artificial sweeteners in diet versions and added sugar in regular versions may have negative health effects. Large amounts of ginger may also interact with blood thinners.
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