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Ginger Ale Beverage: The Risk of Empty Calorie Consumption

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Ginger ale is a carbonated beverage with low-calorie content and associated health risks. Read to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Liya Albana Latheef

Published At December 8, 2023
Reviewed AtDecember 8, 2023


Commercially available ginger ale beverages, often marketed for their added ginger extract and health benefits, have gained popularity as refreshing health drinks. These carbonated beverages come with an accompanying dose of added sugars and sodium. While widely consumed, these ginger ale cause potential health implications that are more than their advertised health benefits. They are not the best but can cause health implications on regular consumption. They are termed to be empty calorie foods due to their long-term health effect.

What Is Ginger Ale Drink?

Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink infused with the distinct flavor of ginger. It serves as a popular refreshing beverage, often used as a mixer in various alcoholic drinks. Popular for ginger's anti-nausea properties and its positive impact on digestion, ginger ale is marketed globally as a refreshing beverage. Many individuals turn to ginger ale to manage morning nausea or sickness. A significant number of commercially available ginger ale brands may not contain ginger in their ingredients. Instead, these beverages often rely on high levels of fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, and coloring agents to enhance their taste. Increased public awareness of these carbonated drinks shows the potential impact on one's health.

Ginger ale comes in various brands and types, such as sugar-free, spiced, or organic. Available in local stores, can be enjoyed chilled or at room temperature. Once opened, it is best consumed within a few days due to the limited shelf life of carbonated drinks.

What Is the Nutrition Content of Ginger Ale Beverage?

The United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA) provides nutrition information for a 3.527 fluid ounce can of Canada dry ginger ale:

  • Sugar: 0.3139 ounces.

  • Sodium: 0.0002469 ounces.

  • Carbohydrates: 0.30899 ounces.

  • Total Calories: 34 kilocalories.

It is important to note that not all ginger ale brands use real ginger as the main ingredient. For example, they primarily include carbonated water, pure cane sugar, 100 percent fresh ginger, and citric acid. Current nutrition research on the glycemic index of ginger ale is limited, raising safety concerns for diabetic or prediabetic individuals due to the added sugars.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends avoiding sugary beverages and looking for healthier alternatives such as mineralized water, infused fruit waters, black coffee, or tea. For a 2,000-calorie diet, a single can of ginger ale can contribute nearly 7 percent of daily caloric intake.

Despite being low in calories, fat, and protein, commercial ginger ale is considered empty calories by nutrition experts, lacking significant health benefits due to the absence of nutrients. Protein-rich beverages, despite potential added sugars and sodium, are seen as better options for exercise performance, resistance recovery, endurance training, and appetite control, as they provide essential nutrients.

What Are the Possible Health Benefits of Ginger Ale Beverage?

Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties have been studied for their potential role in alleviating chronic pain. The active compounds in ginger, such as gingerol, have demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects that may help mitigate the discomfort associated with conditions like osteoarthritis. By incorporating ginger into the diet, individuals may experience a natural and holistic approach to managing chronic pain. The anti-inflammatory action of ginger is thought to not only target specific pathways that contribute to pain but also enhance overall well-being. Furthermore, ginger's versatility allows it to be easily included in various culinary preparations and beverages, making it a convenient and accessible option for those seeking potential relief from persistent pain.

What Are the Risks Associated With Ginger Ale Beverages?

  • Allergic Reactions: Individuals with a history of ginger allergy may easily trigger an allergic reaction when consuming certain commercial brands of ginger ale.

  • Added Sugar Caution: Nutrition experts generally advise against consuming drinks high in added sugars or fructose corn syrup due to potential health risks.

  • Gastrointestinal Distress: Similar to other carbonated or artificially sweetened beverages, overconsumption of ginger ale can exacerbate existing gastrointestinal issues such as Inflammatory bowel syndrome and celiac disease, leading to gastric distress.

  • Blood Sugar Spikes: Elevated consumption of sugary beverages, including ginger ale, is associated with increased blood sugar levels and heightened insulin resistance, potentially elevating the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in healthy individuals.

  • Dental Concerns: Frequent intake of sugars and citric acid, common in ginger ale, can demineralize tooth enamel, posing risks of tooth decay, erosion, or abrasion. Dental professionals discourage regular consumption to maintain oral health.

What Are the Risks of Diet Soda and Carbonated Drinks?

  • Sugar Cravings: Consumption of diet soda may increase the risk of developing sugar cravings, according to nutritionists.

  • Weight Gain and Empty Calories: Regular intake of sugary or high-sodium beverages can predispose individuals to weight gain and an increase in empty calorie consumption.

  • Craving for Sugary Foods: These drinks, when consumed regularly, may lead to cravings for sugary foods, impacting overall dietary habits.

  • Central Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Health concerns include potential links to central obesity and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially with consistent daily consumption.

  • Lack of Satiation: Sugary drinks may contribute to a lack of satiation, affecting hunger cravings and potentially leading to overeating.

  • Migraine Relief with Ginger: While ginger-containing beverages like ginger ale may provide relief for migraines, the soda and added sugar components may have adverse effects on systemic health.

  • Unknown Link to Type 2 Diabetes: Although medical research does not establish a direct link between artificially sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes, regular sugary drink consumption can contribute to weight gain and blood sugar irregularities, as noted by nutritionists.

What Are the Alternatives to Ginger Ale Beverages?

Various alternatives for ginger ale beverages can be made at home, rather than going for unhealthy options. A few alternatives include:

  • Homemade Ginger Ale: It can prepared easily at home by adding slices of fresh ginger to carbonated water. This provides a customizable and lighter option.

  • Herbal Teas With Ginger: Opt for herbal teas that incorporate ginger as an ingredient. This option delivers a warm choice with the added advantages of different herbal blends.

  • Ginger Shorts or Juices: Freshly squeezed ginger juices with a concentrated ginger essence are mixed with water or other juices based on the preferred taste.


Ginger ale, lacking health-nurturing nutrients, adds empty calories to one's diet, offering no positive impacts on overall health. Careful consideration of the benefits and risks associated with health or refreshing drinks is essential. Opt for beverages that are free from excessive sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Seeking advice from a nutritionist or dietitian, especially for individuals with systemic diseases, is advisable. Explore alternative drinks that contribute to health benefits for a more informed and mindful choice.

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop



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