VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Claims about the danger of consuming instant noodles and carbonated drinks at the same time MISLEADING

Circulating anew on Facebook is a spurious warning that consuming noodles and soft drinks at the same time could have a negative effect on one’s stomach. The old claim, carried by a 2019 social media post that continues to draw reactions from netizens, is misleading.

“To date, there is no scientific evidence that eating instant noodles and (taking) carbonated drinks at the same time is hazardous to health,” said Dulcinea Balce-Santos, a gastroenterologist and a member of the Philippine Society for Gastroenterology (PSG) in an interview with VERA Files Fact Check.

The post by FB page ATIN to Video made inaccurate comparisons to two scientific experiments. One, it likened the consumption of this combination of foods to the physical reaction when Mentos – a mint chewable candy, is placed in a carbonated drink. And the second comparison is when instand noodles and a carbonated drink are placed in a zipped bag.

Balce-Santos explained that a Mentos candy has microscopic “bumps” coating its entire surface which helps create carbon dioxide bubbles and cause the “classic eruption.”

More importantly, this reaction “cannot be replicated in the stomach,” according to a team of public health experts from Meedan, a global technology nonprofit.

“When drinking soda, crevices throughout the mouth and throat will collect carbon dioxide bubbles before the liquid reaches the stomach. The gas will escape as a burp before the soda and Mentos mix,” it added.

It is also wrong to liken the stomach to a plastic zipped bag or Ziploc where reaction happens when instant noodles and a carbonated drink are mixed therein. Unlike a Ziploc bag, Balce-Santos emphasized that “the stomach is not locked.” As such, a zipped bag is “not a good representation of the human stomach.”

The misleading post can be traced back to an article published on Sept. 26, 2018 by the website PH Daily News. It referred to a 2016 report of a man in China who was hopitalized after gorging on ramen noodles and cola.

Even though there is limited evidence that consuming instant noodles and soft drinks at the same time is bad for one’s health, the PSG reminded the public “to be mindful of the amount of food you ingest per meal” and “eat what your body requires and can tolerate.”

Ingesting carbonated drinks will naturally release carbon dioxide inside the stomach through burping. But “certain foods, drinks, and eating behaviors may increase the amount of gas present,” Meedan’s experts explained.

If gas is not released by burping, they said “it may take a longer time to pass and be accompanied by mild symptoms, like abdominal bloating and pain.”

“Eating too quickly also increases the chance of swallowing excess air and experiencing these side effects.”

The ATIN to Video page is a “personal blog” that claims “to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics.” It was created on Nov. 6, 2016 and has 18,471 followers. Based on social media monitoring CrowdTangle, the FB post has received a total of 456,891 interactions and appeared over 90 times on the platform.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)