The Number One Issue

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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34 Responses

  1. trizzlor says:

    I have the SodaStream and have not noticed this “effect” myself, and I’m pretty sensitive to coffee. OT, but something I always ask of seltzer-maker owner: Have you tried fizzing up milk or juice? What about liquor? I’m hesitant to screw up the device but have been long curious how these “non-standard” liquids would work out.Report

  2. Vikram Bath says:

    I have no hypotheses, but thanks for sharing.Report

  3. Vikram Bath says:

    Oh! I do have a hypothesis! It’s interstitial cystisis.

    Although there’s no scientific evidence that points to diet as the cause of interstitial cystitis, many people with the condition find that eliminating or reducing their intake of potential bladder irritants may help to relieve their discomfort.

    Some of the most irritating foods can be summarized as the “four Cs.” The four Cs include carbonated beverages, caffeine in all forms (including chocolate), citrus products and food containing high concentrations of vitamin C.

    If you find that your bladder is irritated by these things, you may also wish to avoid related foods, such as tomatoes, pickled foods, alcohol and spices. Artificial sweeteners may aggravate symptoms in some people, as well. If you think certain foods make you feel worse, try eliminating them from your diet. Reintroduce them one at a time to determine which, if any, affect your signs and symptoms.


  4. zic says:

    How does one make tonic water? Doesn’t it have quinine in it?

    Curious cook wants to know if this secret tonic-water tonic can be used for extending the bitter flavors of quinine to other things. It would be like artichokes without the choke.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to zic says:

      Alas, I’ve not yet dug deep enough into the world of soda-making that I’m brewing my own syrup. The manufacturer sells packaged tonic syrup, with quinine included. It’s a bit sweet for my taste, but then again so are the major canned and bottled commercial tonics. Specialty bottled tonics are available in my area, but are ridiculously expensive for more than an occasional indulgence.

      When I get to the point that I can brew up the syrup on my own and find a mix that I like, I’ll share the recipe.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        It’s OK to go a little deeper, but don’t go full Heisenberg.

        If I hear reports of 99% pure blue soda being sold on street corners, I’m turning you in. California doesn’t take this sort of thing lightly.Report

      • zic in reply to Burt Likko says:

        The magic of google tells me that Quinine flavor comes from powdered Cinchona Bark, a tree native to the Andes, and that it’s available at some health food stores and on-line.

        Thus far, I’ve found no evidence that it’s used for anything culinary, primary uses are for Quinine Water and medicinal value. The WebMD entry:

        Cinchona is used for increasing appetite; promoting the release of digestive juices; and treating bloating, fullness, and other stomach problems. It is also used for blood vessel disorders including hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and leg cramps. Some people use cinchona for mild attacks of influenza, swine flu, the common cold, malaria, and fever. Other uses are for cancer, mouth and throat diseases, enlarged spleen, and muscle cramps.

        I thought you might like this recipe.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I seem to recall taking Quinine pills when I was in Africa to guard against malaria. Sad to learn I could have gotten my medicine in a much more enjoyable form.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Silly MRS. That’s why the gin-and-tonic was INVENTED.

        from wiki:

        This cocktail was introduced by the army of the British East India Company in India.

        In India and other tropical regions, malaria was a persistent problem. In the 1700s it was discovered that quinine could be used to prevent the disease, although the bitter taste was unpleasant. British officers in India in the early 19th century took to adding a mixture of water, sugar, lime and gin to the quinine in order to make the drink more palatable.[17] Soldiers in India were already given a gin ration, and the sweet concoction inevitably made sense.[18] Since it is no longer used as an antimalarial, tonic water today contains much less quinine, is usually sweetened, and is consequently much less bitter.[19]

        Because of its historical connection with warm climates, gin and tonic is a popular cocktail during the warmer months.[20]

        Just because it kills your liver doesn’t mean it’s not medicine.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

        The quinine is probably doing more liver damage than the booze. I’ve taken antimalarials for years, going back to the good old days of Atabrine and Plaquenil.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Silly MRS. That’s why the gin-and-tonic was INVENTED.

        But that is not the way the Navy would let me self-administer my medication!Report

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Teetotaling sailors? Now I’ve heard everything!Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Additional fun fact: quinine fluoresces. Hold your G&T next to a blacklight and it will glow..Report

      • zic in reply to Burt Likko says:

        @alan-scott, fascinating. There’s more to the G&T glow than I realized.

        When we do the OT remake of James and the Giant Peach, we can cast the tonic-water imbibers as glo-worms.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Who ever heard of “gin, sodomy, and the lash”?Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

        The usual spirit is “rum” in the Royal Navy. “Rum, bum and the lash.” Gin and sodomy was strictly for the pith helmet types up in the hill stations.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Wow. Britain lost so much when she let her Empire go!Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Teetotaling sailors? Now I’ve heard everything!

        Only while on duty.

        Off duty was spent trying to kill our livers.Report

  5. zic says:

    why is it that beverages made with this device have eight times the diuretic effect of coffee?

    Are you speaking of sparkling water or sweetened water? Sugar waters do take more time to hydrate you because you have to process the sugars as you absorb the water.

    I have problems at the other end of the digestive tract; carbonated waters, and the burping they induce, increase acid reflux; a problem because of severe migraine.

    I’d also wonder if you’re noticing a causal relation, and suggest a few days of knocking back lots of plain water with an occasional glass of cranberry juice or two, and see if that helps. If not, a visit to the doctor’s office might be considered?Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    Hypothesis: it has to do with changing one’s drink.

    If one drinks Maxwell House coffee every morning for years and years, one will have a bladder of steel… but when one switches to Starbucks (or Diet Coke or bottled water), one will discover that one has to pee RIGHT NOW.Report

  7. Michael Cain says:

    Store-bought fizzy beverages do not seem to have a similar effect on me. Perhaps I’m over-carbonating and that’s the result of doing so?

    Broadly, acidic beverages (which include carbonated ones) are bladder irritants. If you’re going to be scientific about it, an inexpensive pH meter from your local aquarium shop would let you compare the pH of your homemade sparkling water versus the commercial stuff. Wikipedia says that commercial carbonation processes usually add sodium or potassium based alkaline compounds to reduce acidity. The recipe for seltzer water given there adds a quarter to half a teaspoon of baking soda per liter of water for that purpose. You could just try adding the baking soda and see if that helps.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Why would acidic beverages irritate the bladder? Isn’t the acidity of anything you could drink without severe pain just a drop in the bucket one it reaches the stomach?Report

      • My understanding — and I am not a biochemist or internist or any of several other things that would be quite useful here — is simply that increased total acid supply (eg, the addition of a pint of carbonated beverage with a pH of 3 or 4, or a few glasses of wine with a similar pH) requires longer to be fully neutralized — there’s a limit to the rate at which your body produces/releases the neutralizing base(s). Given more time, somewhat more acid gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Since your body wants your blood pH to stay in a very narrow slightly basic range, the kidneys promptly filter some of the stuff out, increasing the acidity of urine and irritating the bladder. This is not irritation in the sense of horribly inflamed, but in the sense of somewhat more urgency to move things along.

        I feel like I should remember whether or not the negative feedback loop that controls acidity in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine reacts to acids in general, or if it involves hydrochloric acid specifically, which would be another contributing factor. But I don’t.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The problem, if I understand what I’ve been told, is sodium. Raises pressure in the kidney, already under high pressure. Excreting the sodium requires more water.Report