Ginger Ale Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Ginger ale

Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink infused or flavored with ginger. It's commonly consumed as a refreshing soda or used as a mixer for alcoholic beverage recipes. Invented in Ireland back in 1851, the fizzy refreshment was made using carbon dioxide. Fast forward to 1907, Canadian pharmacist John McLaughlin invented a more contemporary version of ginger ale known as Dry Canada.

Given ginger is widely known for its use as a digestive aid, it’s often consumed to combat nausea and motion sickness. Traditional ginger ale incorporates ginger bug, a microbial starter culture, with natural carbonation brought on by the fermentation process, and features fresh ginger root and sugar. However, many manufacturers are producing their own version of the soda, more often than not devoid of any real ginger, and containing high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, and colorings to protect and enhance the flavor. As such, it’s important to have an understanding of how these can impact your health.

With plenty of brands on the market, we are focusing on Dr. Pepper/Seven Up’s Canada Dry to highlight nutritional facts and its breakdown for this article, but this example also provides a general overview of the beverage.

Ginger Ale Nutrition Facts 

The nutrition information for a 355 milliliter can of Canada Dry is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  • Calories: 138
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 49.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Sugars: 35g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Carbs

One standard can of Canada Dry contains 36 grams of carbs, most of which are derived from sugar. According to the American Heart Association, these added sugars lack healthy benefits as they are insufficient in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, meaning just one drink is detracting from your healthy daily carb intake in place of simple, fiber, and mineral-deprived carbs.

Fats

Canada Dry contains no fat which is a positive for avoiding unhealthy trans fats.

Protein

There is no protein in Canada Dry and therefore it does not offer the many benefits derived from protein intake, including improving performance and recovery in specific training and appetite control, given its energy intake regulation. 

Vitamins and Minerals

As with most other sodas, Canada Dry does not include vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA food database, a 355 milliliter serving of Canada Dry contains no essential nutrients or macronutrients. It does, however, have 49.7 grams of sodium.

Calories

A standard can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale contains 138 calories, accounting for around 7% of a standard 2,000 daily calorie diet. Given these calories lack beneficial nutrients, they are classified as ‘empty’, meaning they do not positively impact your health. According to this calorie-burning tracker, it would take about 23 minutes of brisk walking for someone weighing 150 pounds to burn off a can of Canada Dry.

Health Benefits

As previously outlined, ginger is known as a remedy for nausea, and so many assume this to be true of ginger ale. However, given the lack of ginger in most ginger ales, this may not be the case, although some people do find carbonated water calms the stomach.

Some brands of ginger ale, however, are made with ingredients based on the traditional recipe. As an example, Bruce Cost consists of carbonated water, pure cane sugar, 100% fresh ginger, and citric acid, which is more likely to settle digestive discomfort than those containing high fructose corn syrup. 

Generally, most brands of ginger ale are gluten-free and vegan. 

Allergies 

For anyone with a ginger allergy, certain brands of ginger ale may cause a reaction. This is especially true for the brands of ginger ale that follow the traditional recipe and contain real ginger. However, most supermarket brands are void of ginger bug or ginger root, and use ginger flavoring instead. If you are unsure, it is best to avoid ginger ale altogether.

Adverse Effects 

It’s well known that drinks with added sugar and high fructose corn syrup are not good for your health, and, in the long term, can lead to health complications. Below is a list of the potential negative effects of consuming ginger ale frequently or in large quantities.

Weight Gain

Studies have repeatedly reported a link between consumption of sugary drinks, such as ginger ale, and weight gain, as well as the potential to alter insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular disease risk factors. What’s more, sugary drinks are dehydrating and can therefore increase hunger pangs and cravings, resulting in eating a surplus in calories. This can lead to further health issues such as obesity.

Stomach Ailments

Although studies have shown the benefits of ginger reducing nausea, including among pregnant women suffering from sickness, many ginger ale brands are void of any real ginger and therefore negate these effects. In fact, carbonated and artificially-sweetened drinks can spark stomach ailments, with studies finding the side effects of such drinks worse for those suffering from certain types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have long pointed to the link between sugary drinks and the increased risk of developing diabetes. Findings of a study on sugar-sweetened beverages highlight that higher consumption of sugary drinks is associated with a greater occurrence of type 2 diabetes, brought on by insulin resistance. 

Cavities

Drinks loaded with added sugars and citric acid are known to cause tooth decay. When sugar is not properly cleaned from your teeth, the acids build up and can eventually lead to dental cavities and enamel erosion.

Varieties 

Ginger ale is both mass-produced by large brands and also manufactured by smaller, local brands. You may already be aware that ingredients vary from brand to brand. The drink is available in a variety of options across supermarkets, including sugar-free, spiced, and organic.   

Brands
Although it's not the most favored form of soda compared to other sugar-sweetened drinks on the market, ginger ale is widely stocked and is a popular mixer in alcoholic drinks. 

Here is a list of common ginger ale brands:

  • Canada Dry
  • Bruce Cost
  • Fever Tree
  • Reed’s
  • Polar
  • Blue Sky
  • Schweppes
  • Seagram
  • Brooklyn Crafter
  • Vernor
  • Blenheim
  • Red Rock Boylan

The nutritional value of each of the brands above varies, with the majority featuring ingredients of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Diet Versions
Ginger ale is also available in diet versions, but whether or not this is safe has divided the opinions of scientists given findings indicating that diet drinks can cause carcinogenicity in humans. Diet soda may be ok in moderation, however, note that it may increase sugar cravings.

More Nutrient-Dense Ginger Ale
As per the example of Bruce Cost, some brands are consciously producing healthier ginger ale options that swap natural additions such as fermented ginger root for less nutritious white sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

When It’s Best 

Ginger ale is produced all year-round and sold in supermarkets globally.

Storage and Food Safety

Ginger can be served chilled or unchilled, depending on your preference. As with most sodas, once
opened, it’s recommended to consume within a few days for the carbonated
benefits. 

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13 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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