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Sparkling or still

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

I've drunk gallons of it these last 3 weeks and it's not wine; It's sparkling water which is why I'm rather reluctant to share this information.
Water has zero kilojoules, it cleans you out, helps you stay hydrated and satisfies a thirst which can often be mistaken for hunger. Water is all good except, it seems, when it's carbonated.

A recent study, conducted by Michael Mosley and his team of scientists, found that the added carbon dioxide in sparkling water triggers the release of ghrelin, causing people to eat an average of 120 calories more than those who consumed still water.

Ghrelin for those of you who have not heard it, is known as the hunger hormone which is produced in the stomach and send signals to the brain which says "I'm hungry, it's time to eat".
Volunteers in the study fasted for 10 hours before they each received the same calorific cheese sandwich. One hour later they were given either a glass of a fizzy sugary drink, a glass of the same drink but flat, a glass of fizzy water or a glass of flat water. This was followed 10 minutes later by blood tests to measure their levels of ghrelin. The experiment was repeated three more times until each volunteer had drink all four drinks. To determine how many calories they consumed later in the day, they completed a food diary for analysis.

Now I know every one of you is sworn off sweetened carbonated drinks (and I trust that includes diet drinks as well) but this information is interesting and further validates why we should never ever drink SSB's (sweetened soft beverages). The study found that after drinking a sweetened fizzy soft drink participants' ghrelin levels were about 50 per cent higher 'than when they drank the non-fizzy sweetened drink. And sadly, although the impact was less pronounced, there was also a slight effect when scientists compared the impact of carbonated water with still; people were hungrier and ate more after drinking sparkling water than they were when they drank still.

Why this is so is purely speculation at the moment but two possible reasons are that carbon dioxide causes receptor cells in the stomach to release ghrelin or that boating from the gas stimulates cells to release ghrelin.

And having written all of that I guess I should tell you that while this information is interesting, unless you drink sparkling water throughout the day, I very much doubt that a glass of sparkling water in the evening will make a staggering difference to your weight loss goals - particularly if you're replacing it for wine !


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