The halacha is that you should only say a bracha on water if you're thirsty. All the seforim I've read agree on the following: if you're not thirsty, but you drink water in order to swallow a pill, you don't say any bracha before or after.

Let's say you swallow a pill with Diet Coke or another type of sugar-free pop. But such pop has no nutritional value. [Edit: Maybe the phosphoric acid in diet soda even removes calcium from your bones and teeth, and maybe the artificial sweetener even makes your pancreas wrongly release insulin into the bloodstream. So maybe diet soda even has negative nutritional value.]

  1. Should you say a bracha on the drink beforehand?

  2. Why?

Please cite sources.

I couldn't find an answer to this question online. I seem to recall that The Laws of B'rachos by R' Binyomin Forst (ArtScroll) includes a discussion of when blessings are necessary before food and drink, and when they're unnecessary. But I don't remember exactly what R' Forst wrote.


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2 Answers 2


Drinking water in order to swallow a pill is basically the same case as drinking water in order swallow down food which is stuck in your throat (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 204:7).

The m'chaber states there that no blessing - before or after - is to be said on the water.

The Mishna Berurah 204(42) there explains there that this is only the law for water because it has no taste [literally: 'your palate doesn't benefit from it'] (unless you're thirsty [where you certainly benefit from the water] ) - but if it were any other drink - you would have to make a blessing on it - before and after - even though you're only drinking it in order to swallow down the food.

So it is irrelevant that diet soda is sugarless or of no/little nutritional value. Since it has taste, you must say a blessing on it.

P.S. Some achronim even distinguish between water and soda water - because you benefit from the bubbles/fizz.

  • +1; thank you very much. At synagogue this evening, I also looked into the matter. I checked The Laws of B'rachos by R' Binyomin Forst. Page 134 footnote 9 discusses diet soda in detail. Here is a summary of the footnote: R' Forst and R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach both agree: Diet soda requires a blessing even if you're not thirsty. Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 2:09

Water is a very special case. On something like diet coke (unless you hate the taste of diet coke) you would make bracha on it for you derive pleasure from it and it tastes good and taste/pleasure is the deciding factor in making a Bracha. Source is Shulchan Aruch Siman 204 Saif 8.


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