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Carbonation: The sweet of it

carbonated beverageSo there’s good news and bad news when it comes to carbonation. According to a new study appearing in Gastroenterology, that bubbly soft drink hallmark can confuse the brain, making it difficult to tell the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners. Researchers used MRI to study changes in brain activity in participants who consumed naturally sweetened or artificially sweetened carbonated beverages.

The carbonation confusion can be good because it could aid weight-loss efforts by allowing people to replace high-calorie, sugary drinks with lower-sugar varieties. The bad news? The brain may also think it’s getting less sugar than it is as a result of carbonation, leading the brain to try to balance things out through increased sugar and food intake. This perception may be why eating disorders, metabolic diseases and obesity are prevalent among those who drink diet soda. While more research is needed for definitive answers, water remains the healthiest beverage choice.