Carbonated beverages and weight loss effects have been at the center of debates for a long time, as they are typically examined for their impact based on the difference that sugar-free makes when compared to the original recipes. However, beyond sweetener, researchers have recently looked into another main feature of these popular beverages, which is carbonations – that is, the bubbles.
It’s Not Just About Sweeteners
Researchers know that too much sugar contributes to obesity and artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, while both options boost the chances of becoming depressed, but few have ever even considered thinking about the difference that the bubbles make.
The results of recent research have now been published in the Gastroenterology journal and have looked into the change that carbonation makes in the way that the brain actually processes the sweetness – sugar or artificial sweetener – that is found in these drinks. The researchers look at many different elements of the drinks and examined them in several different ways. They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help to understand which parts of the brain were registering the consumption of regular and diet soda.
What Researchers Found About Carbonated Beverages and Weight Loss
What they determined was that regardless of what type of sweetener the beverage actually contained, the regions of the brain that impact the way that we detect sweetness lit up brightly when carbonated beverages were consumed. The researchers concluded that carbonation could be behind the leveling of the response playing field between sugar and artificial sweeteners.
According to a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine from UCLA, Catia Sternini, MD, “Carbonation seems to change the way that we detect sweetness.” She went on to say that “It looks like it tricks the brain.”
Why Does Carbonation Cause This Reaction?
The researchers aren’t yet sure why carbonation makes the sweetness of artificial sweeteners more pleasant, but it does seem to cause them both to be perceived in a similar way. At the same time, it has been suggested that the study assists in explaining why diet soda consumption is often connected to both metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Dr. Sternini stated that “The brain might think that because it doesn’t get enough calories or the carbohydrates it needs for energy, you might feel like you need to eat more.” She did state that it is speculation, at this point, but that this opinion is based on all of the relevant evidence that is currently available at the moment.
If Carbonated Beverages Lead Affect Weight Loss, What Should You Drink?
If you’re hoping to get better control over your weight loss, then carbonated beverages may not be your ideal top drink. In fact, for basic health reasons, it’s typically considered to be a good idea to reduce your consumption of fizzy drinks – even just carbonated water.
Yes, water is essentially considered to be the ideal alternative on a health level. It doesn’t come with any calories, it’s hydrating, and your body is mainly made from just that substance. If you had nothing else, water could sustain you for a surprisingly long period of time. A lot of the time, it “tastes” great in that it’s cool, thirst quenching, and doesn’t taste like anything at all.
However, it’s exactly that tastelessness that makes it as uninteresting as it can be refreshing. Sometimes, we want something that doesn’t taste like nothing. We want something that makes our taste buds dance! That’s exactly why sweet, salty and fizzy soft drinks are so popular. Still, carbonated beverages harm weight loss, so they’re certainly not a great choice as a regular alternative to water. Instead, they’re best considered a rare treat.
Instead, consider water enhancers sweetened with stevia or other natural low-cal sweeteners. Other fantastic options include floating cucumber or citrus slices in your water, infusing berries in water, or drinking unsweetened iced tea, green tea, tea, herbal teas or black coffee. The key is to avoid carbonation and skip added condiments such as sugars, artificial sweeteners and whiteners such as dairy.
Make Better Choices Convenient
Beyond the taste of sodas, another reason we choose them so frequently is out of convenience. If you chuck a can or bottle of pop in your bag – or grab one from the vending machine – you’re all set. It’s a bit different when it comes to having to boil water and wait for tea to steep, or chop up a lemon or cucumber to add to your water.
This can make it easy to avoid those healthier and more weight loss friendly choices. Therefore, change that situation. Be prepared. For instance, cut up your lime at the start of the week and keep it in a resealable container in the fridge. Then, you can grab a slice or a wedge whenever you need to add it to your water glass.
Pro tip: one citrus wedge or few slices of cucumber are good for several water refills. Just pop one in your glass or water bottle and refill throughout the day with no added effort!