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Here’s what health experts say you should consider before trying a glass of the new soft drink that’s gone viral on social media. Alejandro Moreno de Carlos/Stoxy

If you spend any time on TikTok, you’ve probably seen the latest trend going viral on the popular social media platform: a concoction called “healthy cola.”

Healthy Cola is a very simple combination of sparkling seltzer and balsamic vinegar.

TikTok user Amanda Jones, a Californian actress, made the drink a viral sensation after she posted a video of herself doing it on her account. She says the idea for the blend came from her Pilates instructor.

In the video, she says, “Tastes like Coke.”

What made the drink really viral was a series of videos made by other people choking and grimacing in disgust after taking a sip, joking about how it doesn’t necessarily taste like the famous American soft drink.

So, how useful is “healthy cocaine”?

According to experts, the name of the mixture is a bit of a misnomer. The drink can have a negative effect on your digestion and oral health.

That’s why they say it’s important to research new health trends, and why it’s important to remember that just because something goes viral doesn’t mean it’s true.

AT her original videoJones says that “healthy Coke” “tastes just like Coke.”

She didn’t expect what started out as a funny escapist video to become such a big deal. She is said Jeanne Moos of CNN said in an interview that she “didn’t think people would get this pissed off over a fun drink.”

Is it worth getting upset?

Recently, the American Dental Association (ADA) published statement in a new study that shows this kind of drink can cause some wear and tear on your teeth.

“A new study shows the acids in sugar-free drinks can erode tooth enamel, as a recipe for mixing flavored soda with balsamic vinegar to create a so-called ‘healthier’ soda alternative is taking TikTok by storm,” the ADA said in a post.

New research published online The journal JADA Foundational Science looked at how still bottled water, flavored soda, and regular soda can cause tooth erosion, the report said.

The researchers soaked newly extracted human teeth in seven different sugar-free drinks, as well as one sugar-filled soda for comparison. They soaked their teeth for 24 hours. This was determined to be equivalent to a “year of exposure” to these various drinks.

The results showed that the acids in both the sugary soda and the sugar-free soda eroded tooth enamel.

They found that it was the acids, not the type of sweetener, in these drinks that caused the enamel to erode. Erosion was also observed on teeth soaked in flavored soda, but to a lesser extent than in sugar- and sugar-free soda.

Regular still and unflavored bottled waters were the only drinks that showed no signs of enamel erosion.

When asked what effect TikTok’s balsamic vinegar and seltzer mixture could have on teeth, Kenneth L. AllenMD, MBA, Clinical Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care in Dentistry at New York University, told Healthline that it’s important to note that both balsamic vinegar (with a pH of 2 to 3) and seltzer (with pH, which varies by brand from 3.5 to 5) are acidic.

“For reference, neutral pH is 7. Enamel demineralization can occur when pH drops below 5.5. Demineralization weakens enamel, the hard and shiny outer coating of teeth. This makes your teeth rougher, increasing the chance of plaque, cavities and gum disease,” Allen said. “So what this blend does is give the consumer a drink that’s more acidic than seltzer water alone.”

He added that the effect of this acidic drink on the enamel “also depends on the duration of contact.”

“Do you drink your “healthy cola” for more than an hour, or do you drink it quickly? The longer the contact, the greater the destruction of the enamel,” he said.

What about other acidic drinks and are there any alternatives to this?

“Plain water is the best drink,” Allen explained. “If you are going to drink more acidic drinks, there are a few tricks. Use a straw, avoid prolonged drinking, wait one hour after drinking an acidic drink to brush your teeth (this gives saliva a chance to repair the enamel) and use fluoride toothpaste.”

Amber PankoninMS, LMNT, a registered dietitian and personal chef, said that in terms of nutrition, “healthy cola” is “really no different from soda and balsamic salad dressing for dinner.”

“As a chef, I prefer to use balsamic vinegar in my salad or as a bread dipping sauce rather than adding it to my drink,” she added.

She said one digestive problem that people may have with the drink is that it “may be harmful” to people who have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or acid reflux.

In addition, she said it could negatively affect people who have heartburn or pregnancy-related heartburn.

“Foods and drinks that are highly acidic can irritate the esophagus and stomach, which can be a problem, especially if you have a history of heartburn,” she explained.

When asked about nutritional value, Pankonin replied that high-quality balsamic vinegar may contain antioxidants that may actually be beneficial for skin and heart health.

“Depending on the type or brand of balsamic vinegar used, some may contain more added sugars than others. Thus, it is important to check the difference between brands and read the nutrition facts label. Keep in mind that balsamic vinegar is not without calories,” she said.

She explained that it contains calories coming from carbohydrates, with most providing about 14 calories per tablespoon.

Pankonin also noted that this type of high-quality balsamic vinegar “can be expensive” and with the rising food prices that many are experiencing across the country, those costs “could rise quickly if you add it every time you drink sparkling water.” .

Asked if there are healthier alternatives for those who enjoy carbonated drinks, Pankonin said you can add “any type of fruit” (like lemon, lime, or even berries) to soda water and “it will give you a similar flavor profile.” . ”

“The addition of acid to a flavored, calorie-free carbonated drink is what gives the drink a taste similar to Coke or regular soda,” she explained.

Before trying beverage trends like “healthy cola,” Allen encourages people to be “educated consumers.”

He said you should check the pH of the drink you’re drinking, and given that the pH levels of seltzer vary, try to pick one that’s “closest to 7.”

Pankonin said the explosion of such trends sheds light on the fact that “people like simple life hacks” when it comes to what they drink and eat, and they readily “listen to the advice of people who offer simple strategies.”

“These strategies may be well-intentioned and helpful for some people, but may not be suitable for everyone,” she said. “It’s definitely important to be careful before jumping into the next trend or food and drink diet hack.”

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