Carbonation helps trick brain about diet drinks
Carbonation in diet sodas can alter the brain's perception of sweetness and makes it difficult to determine the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners. And that confusion, according to a new study published in the journal Gastroenterology, can result in increased sugar and food consumption in the long run because the brains of diet soda drinkers think the person is consuming less sugar than they actually are.
The study by Italian researchers found that people who can’t tell the difference between regular and diet soda could be having their taste buds misled by a “magic” combination of carbonation and artificial sweeteners.
Researchers used a method called functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor how brain activity changed in response to regular and diet sodas. They collected data on how the brain perceived gastric fullness and nutrient depletion.
The scientists said their findings could help explain why diet soda drinkers can be prone to eating disorders, obesity and metabolic diseases. But they conceded that further studies are needed to clarify the link between these conditions and artificially-sweetened drinks.