Use This Doctor-Approved Coke Hack To Dislodge Food That's Stuck In Your Chest

Getting food stuck in your throat is scary. It can feel frightening, embarrassing (if it happens in public), and downright uncomfortable too. While your mind might be whirling with the worst possible thoughts of what's going to happen next, there's a doctor-approved hack that's widely believed to help in a situation like this.

All you need is a can of Coke. Board-certified physician and Chief Medical Officer at One Oak Medical, Dr. Jason Singh took to Instagram to share, "If you've ever had food stuck in your throat or in your chest, you know it's super uncomfortable. A quick trick you can do when that happens is to drink some Coke. This will help dissolve it." 

This hack isn't necessarily a new one. Health professionals have been touting the benefits of this neat trick for years. There's even a study on it. Here's why it works, per some theories.

The carbon dioxide gas in the Coke helps disintegrate the food

According to Healthline, this hack may have something to do with what's really in soda — the carbon dioxide gas. It could help break down the food that's stuck in your esophagus. 

Speaking of the esophagus, this trick will only work in cases when the food is stuck there, says E.R. physician, Dr. Troy Madsen (via University of Utah Health). "Now when we talk about food stuck in the throat, I'm not talking about stuck in your airway. That's a big deal. I'm talking about, let's say you have a big piece of steak, gets stuck in your esophagus, in the food tube that's taking the food down to your stomach," clarified Dr. Masden. 

Dr. Jason Singh also added that it helps if you can, "stand on your tip toes and forcibly land on your heels" after drinking the Coke. Any extra help to dissolve the pesky food item helps. Other tricks you can try include taking a few sips of water, eating a piece of banana (soft food), having some butter, or simply waiting it out, added Healthline. But when does food stuck in your chest become a serious problem?

This is when you should be going to the doctor

If you feel like you're choking, you're unable to breathe, or if the food's been stuck in your chest for over six hours, you may want to see a doctor. 

Coughing, gagging, an inability to speak, and your skin turning blue are all signs that you're choking, per Medical News Today. Usually, waiting it out or trying home hacks should do the trick, but there are some cases in which a doctor might have to physically remove the food lodged in your throat via an endoscopic procedure, per Healthline.

Food going down your windpipe is called aspiration and this is different from food getting stuck in your esophagus. Your body will first trigger a gag reflex that should naturally dislodge the food, according to pulmonologist, Dr. Bohdan Pichurko (via Cleveland Clinic). "However, at the other extreme, it may follow eventually with fever and reduced oxygen levels, requiring medical attention for possible pneumonia," Pichurko added. You can try angling your windpipe downward by lying down on your stomach with a pillow under your hips. This might help the food leave your airway. See a doctor, however, if your discomfort lasts for over two hours and if you notice a fever and chest pain, or if you cough up blood, per Cleveland Clinic.