May 27/Sydney/Indo-Asian News Service -- Medical experts have warned against administering "flat" carbonated drinks to children with acute vomiting and diarrhea, as an alternative to oral rehydration.

Oral rehydration solution comprises an ideal mix of salts and sugars to overcome dehydration in gastroenteritis wherein fluids, salts and sugars are lost through diarrhea and vomiting.

In popular perception, carbonated drinks are an effective alternative, particularly for children who are finicky about tastes.

However, researchers at Watford General Hospital in Sydney were unable to back this up with any published trials.

They looked for information about the contents of different types of liquids and compared them. They found carbonated drinks contained too much sugar but not enough salts.

The authors concluded that "carbonated drinks, 'flat' or otherwise, including cola, provide inadequate fluid and electrolyte replacement and cannot be recommended."

These findings have been published in the May issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood.

From the June 9, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash