Dr. Pepper: Not what the doctor ordered

My absolutely favorite drink in the entire world is Dr. Pepper. I usually have several a day, even though I often get picked on for only drinking half of a 12 ounce can. I think that’s because I like them very cold, and they don’t have quite the same appeal after they’ve been out of the fridge for more than a few minutes.

dr_pepper_logoI’ve been having some unexplained stomach pain on my right side over the past week, so I decided to try to make some changes to my diet to see if it improved. I started eating whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, and even cut back on the caffeine, but saw no improvement. In fact, I went to the ER on Sunday with chest pains.

The tests they ran on me pretty much ruled out any heart or lung problems, but were unable to explain my pain, elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and low-grade temperature. I was instructed to follow up with my regular doctor.

Dr. thinks the problem might be my gallbladder, but wants to rule out something more serious first. I will have a stress test and ultrasound on Thursday. For now, I have been placed on pain and anti-anxiety medication and a bland diet.

I’ve heard the expression “bland diet” before, but thought it referred to eating healthy. Turns out, it’s a very unhealthy way of eating. After rattling off the list of foods I can’t eat – dairy, fresh fruits, vegetables, spicy dishes, sugary foods, caffeinated drinks, nuts – I was told that I could eat things like potatoes, pasta, and bread. You know, carbs.

I can live with most of the (hopefully) temporary changes in my diet, but the one thing that is driving me crazy is going without Dr. Pepper. The beautiful burgundy cans beckon to me from the refrigerator at work, but I know that I’m better off to leave them be. Maybe, just maybe, I can lay off caffeine for good.

In the meantime, I’m off to drown my sorrows in a glass of ice water.

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 12 years and three fabulous felines.

19 thoughts on “Dr. Pepper: Not what the doctor ordered”

  1. I had to go on a super bland diet right after my kids were born. Nursing plus spicy foods makes for an extremely fussy baby. I was surprised to find how many foods contained dairy and how gassy vegetables really were. Hang in there! It’s hard but I know you can do it.

  2. I feel your pain. I’m a pepper, too — or used to be until about a year ago. Addictions always die hard :)

    The good ol’ B.R.A.T. diet: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast is bland, but even that sounds better than what your doc prescribed.

    We’ll be thinking about you Thursday when you go for the stress test and ultrasound. Hopefully it’s not something too serious and the change in diet will alleviate the problem.

    I know it’s no DP, but can you use the crystal light sugar free flavor packs to give your water a little taste, or are they off limits, too?

  3. Maybe it’s the Dr.P that’s messing you up – 2 of my brothers and a neice can’t drink any kind of pop, mixed drinks and not much fruit juice without it hurting their stomach – I didn’t think about mentioning that yesterday. Just a thought. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  4. I’m so bad, you guys. I caved in and drank a little over half a can of DP. I was fidgety, grumpy, and getting a headache – all probably a result of caffeine withdrawals.

    That was the first soda I’ve had since Sunday morning, and I’ve only had water since.

    @ Jim: I think the Crystal Light would be fine, but I prefer plain water that’s very cold.

    @ Robin: You’re probably onto something there. I’ve been having mild intestinal pain all day, but it increased after drinking the soda.

  5. Amazing what going off the colas, ice tea, or Dr. Pepper will do… I went off colas, cold-turkey, a week ago. The first few days I was a grumpy bastard. By the end of the week I noticed that I wasn’t having intestinal pain. At the end of the same week I went to the dentist for a regular cleaning and the hygienist said that colas were the worst thing for teeth, even worse than coffee.

    I love the cola/ice tea/Dr.P taste too, but I’m willing to get through the grumpies if it means feeling better.

    Best of luck with your tests and prognosii!

  6. My Dad’s been going through some tough medical times, lately, and my Mom’s so worried about lots of little details… Is the carbonation in the sodas bad? Since my entire family (except me, of course) is medical, my brother-in-law (ER surgeon) chimed in with an interesting fact: the molecule in common sodas that’s hardest on the system (I may be misstating that, but it’s the gist) … is the caramel coloring.

    Who knew?

  7. I thought you were a Sundrop dude?

    I do understand, DP is my fave too. I actually have a hypothetical post that I’m gonna write one day some day called, “I hear soft drinks”.

    Anyways, I hope you are feeling better and they get to the bottom of your health problems soon.

  8. I’m trying to quit Pepsi, myself. I notice I feel pretty good on the days I don’t drink it. I also have a sneaking suspicion I am suddently lactose intolerant after 30 years. Ouch.

  9. Hi there! Dr Pepper also comes in smaller 6-pack 8oz cans, which may help you drink it through before it gets too warm.

  10. Guys,

    Thanks for all the good vibes and well wishes. I had a stress echo yesterday morning and was told that the images of my heart were among the best they had seen. I did get rather winded, but actually enjoyed the workout.

    I was then taken for an ultrasound of my gallbladder, but no stones were found, so they sent me to have a nuclear test. Basically, I had to lay on a table for 1.5 hours with my arms strapped down and no movement. It was rather torturous and I still don’t have the results from it.

    I’m beginning to think the pain in my chest and abdomen might be from acid reflux, so I’ve started taking Prilosec. Apparently, it needs two weeks to build up in your system, so I won’t know if it’s helping for a few days.

  11. I’m 57 and had been drinking DP since I was 12. When I quit I was drinking 8-10 20oz bottles every day. Sometimes I would mix in some 36-42oz DPs from AM-PM. That’s a lot of caffeine and sugar. Those things are bad enough. However, to go along with that, there are at least 2 other items to consider.
    One is the carbonation. Carbonation takes oxygen out of your blood. (No wonder you were winded.)
    Then there’s the Phosphoric Acid. PA removes calcium from your bones.
    I quit cold turkey on January 4, 2007. Since then I have had 3 sodas but that’s all.
    I’ve been losing weight. I feel better. My diabetes is going away, little by little, with the weight. It’s easier to exercise without becoming winded. My heart feels better. Before I quit I would get sick if I drank much if any water. Since 1/4/07 I drink water almost exclusively. It’s better for your body if it’s room temperature (easier for the body to use). I no longer feel bloated all the time (carbonation does that too).
    High Fructose corn syrup is horrible for the body but soda companies use it because it’s cheaper, regardless of the harmful effects to the human body. Another check mark for the corporate bottom line.
    So, get off and stay off soda pop of any sort. You’ll feel better, look better and live longer.

  12. Here’s an oddity for the discussion:
    I grew up drinking DP and other sodas, so know I’m not allergic to DP or intolerant of sodas in general. A few years back, it was a hot day and a friend gave me a Pepper to drink… I took a couple sips before suddenly writhing on the ground in agonizing pain like I’d imagine a heart attack would feel like. SHARP pain, trouble breathing, the whole bit. After a couple minutes the pain passed, and I slowly drank the rest without incident. ER check said nothing wrong, maybe it was the carbonation, and otherwise NO CLUE. So, a couple months later, another hot day and another cold DP and WHAMMO, same effect. I mentioned this to my GP, and surprisingly HE HAD HEARD OF THIS. Not sure himself what causes it, but it seems to be “hot person drinks cold DP and falls over gasping.” As far as *I* know, there’s no really unusual ingredient in DP — just black cherry flavoring and normal soda stock, so WTF??? I have noticed that DP seems more carbonation-releasing than other sodas at the same temperature, which means a warm body could cause a more sudden release of CO2 and thus bubble stomach acid into the throat, but that’s just MY theory. In the mean time, watch out for DP on hot days!


  13. I have had a terrible problem with pain progessively getting worse the last year. I was involved in a car wreck with an 18 wheeler 5 years ago and that has not helped. I also drink about 10 cans of Dr. Pepper a day. I am wondering if this is contributing to my back pain. I know it has my weight gain which is not good for my back either. I cannot quit drinking them. I try but I always give in. I dont know how to quit. Any suggestions?

  14. I love DP as well, but noticed that when I drank a large glass of it, I would get pain in my gallbladder. I tried switching to lemon-lime soda, but that gave me stomach pain. Diet drinks that use Aspertame give me headaches, so I’ve given up and drink water when I’m at restaurants and lemonade made with real lemon juice and stevia when I’m at home. I, too, wonder what it is about DP that causes my gallbladder to rebel.

  15. I have developed health problems that make me sensitive to anything with Corn Syrup. You can try Dublin Dr. Pepper out of Texas to see if itdoesn’t bother you. But cutting out extra empty calories helps on many ways.

  16. It’s the soda dude, Dr. Pepper has two ingredients that are in a lot of sodas: Caffine, which can cause fatigue & make it impossible to have kids cause the more you consume caffine the more caffine you want, & then there is Sodium Benzoate and that crap is bad dude :L.

  17. I know this is 10 years later, but I hadn’t had DP for quite a while, maybe nearly a year, and i’ve had it twice in the last week and both times ended up vomiting for quite a while within 30 mins of drinking the DP. So… I think I’m going to pass on the DP in the future :/

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