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A tale of not so tonic ‘Tonic Water’!

It was an usual visit to the grocer. He has recently renovated his small grocery shop into a plush air conditioned supermarket. The product range too changed a lot with the shop.

While waiting in queue for bill, i was having a look in cart of next person. (Come on it was just a human natural trait and nothing more).

I saw some different cold drink cans in her cart.I just found the same bottles in nearby cabinets (image is attached with the blog). Initially I thought it as a new brand of any cold drink. Out of curiosity I look,read and found it as ‘Tonic Water’. Frankly I was not much aware of this thing, so got out of the queue and started reading it. Clearly written on can “contains Quinine” made me exclaim “WHAT?”. I clicked images for my references and thought to read more about it.

My husband too told me that in his USA office people buy large boxes of dozens of Tonic or carbonated water bottles and regularly drink them as normal water.

This blog is all about what I read and my concern and everybody should know it !

So what is Tonic water ?

If you think tonic means the water must be fortified with the things that will nourish our body, you are wrong just like me.

Just like any soda the tonic water too contains carbonated (Carbon di Oxide added) water , sugar and hold your breath Quinine. Yes you read right its Quinine. For those who doesn’t know what is Quinine, it is a potent medicinal drug used to treat the Malaria. The medicine has tremendous side effects and it is the last choice of doctors to treat malaria if other drugs fail.

Then for heaven’s sake why the tonic water contains Quinine? And what is it doing on my grocery shop shelves?

An interesting story!

In 1880s the tonic water containing very low dose of Quinine is discovered by the British people. It is used as the prophylaxis after the treatment of malaria.The British people used to carry it to their India visits to avoid the encounter to deadly Malaria which was epidemic that time.

Let me underline the point that the tonic water was supposed to use for medicinal purpose. The bitter taste was unpleasant, to make it easy to consume they start mixing Gin or other alcohol in it. Interesting right?

Everything seems interesting with alcohol, so obviously commercial interest started pouring in,in the tonic water.

The carbonated water with quinine later was added with various flavors and sugar. Among foods and drinks that are ingested solely for reasons of taste, tonic water is unique in that it was first and foremost a medicine. Since medicines tend to have side effects, is it possible that a hidden health risk is swirling around in tonic water. Today this is the only medicine which people use as regular mixer for the alcohol drink and various cocktails.

The whole thing is so strange.

  • The quinine though in very low dose has its own adverse effects on body.
  • The most common side effect is Thrombocytopenia (drop in platelet count in blood).The condition is called Gin and tonic purpura.
  • Quinine passes through placenta. So pregnancy is contraindication. But if the bottles are placed just like any cold drinks in grocery shops the chances get increased that anyone can just pick it up as cold drink. Anyways consumer is least bother to check the ingredients or what exactly they are consuming unless and until it is tasty. A scary fact but true unfortunately!
  • Allergy and sensitivity to quinine can trigger allergic reactions even in lower doses.
  • Other than quinine tonic water has almost all health hazards that soda has. Refer my previous article “Soda: A bubbly frizzy sweet addiction”

Global consumer market is playing with the health of their consumers. Ideally this Tonic water is not supposed to sell in grocery shops. It should be termed as drug and medicine category.

First of all an innocent question what is the problem with plain water?

Why do people need aerated water, cold drinks, sodas while eating? In my previous blogs too I mentioned that plain water is the best thing one can drink with their food.

My second and most important concern is what if consumer not at all aware of what she or he is drinking. The package, the taste, the purpose is just like soda or cold drinks. Imagine the danger, if like any soda the mother buys tonic cans and family, yes the child to consume it.The person next to me in queue i am little worried about her now.

If you are aware of the ingredients and still you are buying it the thing is different .It is personal choice but if innocents are consuming it without any knowledge of hazards. Time to think !

The second concern made me pen this blog.

Don’t let the media and market play with your health!

Be selective and aware .

Note: I don’t have any intention against any specific brand. Image is used for the basic and general purpose.

(The above write belongs to Dr.Rupali Panse. Changing the matter in the blog ,copying and changing the author name is considered illegal .)

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5 thoughts on “A tale of not so tonic ‘Tonic Water’!”

  1. Dr. Rajan Sancheti.

    Gr8 thought.
    Consumers may consume it as regular Tonic getting energy. it’s side effects Will be disastrous.
    Let sellers Hav Danger sign on it.
    Thx for ur kind concern.

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