That diet pop probably isn’t fooling your taste buds, but guess what? It’s fooling your brain.
That’s the gist of a new study published in Gastroenterology. Researchers have discovered that carbonation, an essential component of pop, can alter your brain’s perception of sweetness, and make it difficult to figure out whether it’s being exposed to artificial sweeteners. Interestingly, this doesn’t mean that diet and regular pop tastes the same—you can still tell the difference. Rather, it means that carbonation can fool your brain into thinking that it’s had less sugar than in reality. Unfortunately, this can throw off your energy balance, due to the discrepancy between how much sugar you’ve actually had and how much your brain thinks it’s had.
Another strike against pop, then. Fortunately, we’ll make up the difference in Scotch.