Carbonation alters the mind's perception of sweetness

Carbonation, an essential component of popular soft drinks, alters the brain's perception of sweetness and makes it difficult for the brain to determine the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners, according to a new article in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

"This study proves that the right combination of carbonation and can leave the sweet taste of indistinguishable from normal drinks," said study author, Rosario Cuomo, associate professor, gastroenterology, department of clinical medicine and surgery, "Federico II" University, Naples, Italy. "Tricking the brain about the type of sweet could be advantageous to weight loss—it facilitates the consumption of low-calorie drinks because their taste is perceived as pleasant as the sugary, calorie-laden drink."

The study identifies, however, that there is a downside to this effect; the combination of carbonation and sugar may stimulate increased sugar and food consumption since the brain perceives less sugar intake and energy balance is impaired. This interpretation might better explain the prevalence of eating disorders, and obesity among diet-.

Investigators used to monitor changes in regional brain activity in response to naturally or artificially sweetened carbonated beverages. The findings were a result of the integration of information on gastric fullness and on nutrient depletion conveyed to the brain.

Future studies combining analysis of carbonation effect on sweetness detection in taste buds and responses elicited by the carbonated sweetened beverages in the gastrointestinal cavity will be required to further clarify the puzzling link between reduced calorie intake with diet drinks and increased incidence of obesity and metabolic diseases.

For more insight into this study, read the Gastroenterology editorial, "In Search of a Role for Carbonation: Is This a Good or Bad Taste?" by Catia Sternini.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sip on this: Do diet drinks make you fatter?

Sep 03, 2013

Diet drinks are no help in the fight against obesity and may actually encourage over-eating, according to a US academic who recently argued this point in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. ...

The dark side of artificial sweeteners

Jul 10, 2013

More and more Americans are consuming artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, but whether this translates into better health has been heavily debated. An opinion article published by Cell Press on July 10th in the ...

Black students drink more soda when available at school

May 15, 2013

The availability of sugar-sweetened or diet soda in schools does not appear to be related to students' overall consumption, except for African-American students, who drink more soda when it's available at ...

Recommended for you

Testosterone testing has increased in recent years

Nov 21, 2014

(HealthDay)—There has been a recent increase in the rate of testosterone testing, with more testing seen in men with comorbidities associated with hypogonadism, according to research published online Nov. ...

AMA: Hospital staff should consider impact of CMS rule

Nov 21, 2014

(HealthDay)—Hospital medical staff members need to consider the impact of a final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that revised the conditions of participation for hospitals ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lurker2358
not rated yet Sep 17, 2013
Lol?

I can tell the difference in taste easily.

The artificial sweetners taste like when you contact a piece of metal to your tongue. They also have an after taste which sticks around, unlike real sugars.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.