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Hiccups are the actual worst. Defined as an involuntary contraction of your diaphragm followed by a closure of your vocal cords, they’re uncomfortable, they come at the most inconvenient times, and they are seriously annoying. Though science hasn’t proven a foolproof method to curing hiccups, everyone has their one tried-and-true fix they swear by.

Some people will hold their breath or drink water, while others try breathing into a paper bag or asking someone to scare them. But there’s one cure I never knew existed until I found myself flipping through the pages of Mayo Clinic’s Book of Home Remedies. And it turns out Mary Poppin’s theory of a spoonful of sugar applies to more than just helping the medicine go down. In fact, in this case it is the medicine.

getty spoonful of sugar image
Credit: John Lamb/Getty Images

That’s right! A teaspoon of sugar might help stop your hiccups in their obnoxious tracks. A 1971 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that 19 out of 20 patients were able to cure hiccups with sugar. The theory is that this has to do with how sugar affects the vagus nerve, which connects your brain and your stomach. The teaspoon of sugar manages to stop your diaphragm from spasming, and in turn ends your hiccups instantly.

Other recommendations from Mayo Clinic to prevent hiccups include avoiding common hiccup culprits like eating large meals or sipping on carbonated beverages or alcohol. In addition, be conscious of getting overly emotional or excited, as well as any sudden changes in temperature.