Calories in Cough Syrup, Cough Mixture Calorie Count – a Guide

Posted February 26, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

It’s common for most people to get a cough syrup over the counter to get through an exhausting cough and to ease cold and flu symptoms. But there are some sensible questions around the calories in cough syrup. Such as, what is the calorie count in cough syrup and cough medications, and does it affect people with certain ailments? 

The NY Times reported that around 60% of parents give cough syrups to their kids because it helps ease the uneasiness of cold and flu symptoms.

Calories in Cough Syrup

This article will guide you on the calories in cough syrups, who’s affected the most, alternatives on how to burn the calories, and much more.

But before we dive into more details, here’s a quick general answer, then we’ll give a more detailed response.

How many calories are in cough syrup? On average, there are 10- 15 calories in cough syrups, for every two spoons of serving. This means, on average, every two spoons of cough syrup will have around 2.5 to 3.75 grams of carbs. This calorie content will vary from one brand to another, and the calories are mostly from the sweeteners in the syrup.

So, now that we’ve got a quick takeaway answer let’s dive a little deeper into the question of how many calories are in cough syrup.

How Many Calories Are in Cough Syrup?

In general, there are 10-15 calories in cough syrup for every serving. And when breaking down the calorie content into the carbs, according to the Washington state university and many other sources, every one gram of carbohydrate has four calories.

So, on average, every serving of cough syrup will have around 2.5 to 3.75 grams of carbs. Most of the other nutrient content in cough syrups, unfortunately, doesn’t come with a breakdown. However, most of the cough syrups have no discernable sources of fat or protein. 

“On average every serving of cough syrup will
have around 2.5 to 3.75 of carbs”.

It should also be mentioned that along with these calories, other ingredients like particular sweeteners, artificial coloring, and other natural and artificial ingredients will also be included in cough syrup. But when it comes to calories alone, we should add that most of the calories in a cough syrup come from the sugar content in the syrup. 

Most of the cough syrups use high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. This is mainly used to cover up the taste of the medicine. So, it’s assumed that most of the carbs and calories in sugar syrup mostly come from this sugar content.

This is also a reason why many patients who have cough syrup, especially diabetes patients, use insulin to cover up the sugar content in cough syrups.

However, it also should be mentioned that the above information on calories, carbs, and other nutrients is not general to all cough mixture brands. The calorie content specifically differs from one cough syrup brand to another.

In most cases, it’s hard to see the calories and related nutrient content in cough syrups easily. This is because medications are not required to carry nutrient fact labels, as you would find in food products.

If you want to know the calories and related information in cough syrup, it’s recommended to call the toll-free number which appears on most cough mixture bottles or packaging – and ask for the required details.

When you get the required information, it’s advisable to write the calories and carb content behind the label for your reference.

Patients Most Affected by Cough Syrup Calories

Calories in Cough Syrup

With much of the calories coming from the sugar content in the syrup, it makes this medication sensitive for diabetes patients.

On the other hand, patients who are trying to lose weight and those that are following a weight loss program can easily be affected by the calories in these cough syrups.

More importantly, children below a certain age can be sensitive to the sugar and calorie content in these cough syrups as well. 

As a method of monitoring the calorie and sugar content for diabetes patients, the American Diabetes Association has recommended a carbohydrate-counting strategy. This will help patients measure and manage the calories and sugar intake for people who have diabetes and uses cough syrups.

The same carbohydrate-counting method is also recommended for patients who are on a diet or trying to lose weight. 

Is It Possible to Negate the Calories After Having Cough Syrup?

It’s entirely possible to have cough syrup and cut out the calories through simple activities. It’s recommended that after having cough syrups, spending a few minutes on exercises like swimming, jogging, cycling, and walking for a few minutes can help to cut off the calories consumed. However, do not overexert yourself or undertake strenuous exercise when suffering from cold and flu symptoms.

It’s also possible to stop having cough syrups at once and try different home remedies, such as a little honey in warm water. If that doesn’t work, then it’s recommended to go for sugar-free cough syrups. Indeed, there are plenty of sugar-free cough syrups aimed at calorie-conscious and diabetic patients.

Is the Calorie Count in Cough Mixtures Worth It?

Unfortunately, some research suggests that over-the-counter cough syrup is less effective than we may think. However, the cough medicines generally only come with some small, rare side effects that are possible. The FDA said in 2008 that toddlers and babies aged two or under should not be given any cough syrups.

At the moment, cough syrups can only be recommended being given for children aged four years or older. The American Academy of Pediatrics went further still to say that cough syrups are recommended only for children above six years of age. 

The high calories and the sugar content in cough syrups, however, can provide one benefit, which is probably worth it. That is that cough syrups can make you drowsy and sleepy, which is something that can be much needed for a tiresome day of coughing and feeling unwell.

To Finish

We hope this has been useful in understanding more about calories and other ingredients contained in cough syrup and cough mixtures.

If you have any questions about how Prescription Hope can help you save money on the drugs that we offer, or if you’re having trouble affording any medications you’ve been prescribed, contact us. Visit the enrollment page to create an account and fill out an application to start saving.



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