Can sparkling water make you fat?

Top of many people’s New Year resolutions list will be getting slimmer and a bit healthier by cutting down the calories — and, clearly, one particularly good way to do that is to cut back on the sweet stuff

Top of many people’s New Year resolutions list will be getting slimmer and a bit healthier by cutting down the calories — and, clearly, one particularly good way to do that is to cut back on the sweet stuff

Top of many people’s New Year resolutions list will be getting slimmer and a bit healthier by cutting down the calories — and, clearly, one particularly good way to do that is to cut back on the sweet stuff.

This includes soft drinks. Most of us know that fizzy drinks are bad for our waistlines as well as our teeth, with the equivalent of about seven teaspoons of sugar in a can of Coca-Cola. But is it just the sugar that is contributing to weight gain, or could it be the bubbles, too?

I love sparkling, carbonated water and when I first saw a study from the University of Birzeit, in the West Bank, showing that adding bubbles to sugary water made rats fatter and hungrier than a flat, sugary drink did, I thought it sounded a bit unlikely.

But in the BBC2 series Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, we like to examine even the most unlikely health claims — and as you’ll see in tomorrow’s programme, we put this finding to the test. We started by asking Dr James Brown, from Aston University in Birmingham, who has a particular interest in obesity and diabetes, to help us run our study.

We then recruited a group of healthy volunteers. The key thing was, we didn’t tell them what the experiment was really about because we didn’t want that knowledge to interfere with the results.

Instead of telling them it was mainly about bubbles, we said it was concerned with measuring the impact of sugary drinks on people’s appetite.

This includes soft drinks. Most of us know that fizzy drinks are bad for our waistlines as well as our teeth, with the equivalent of about seven teaspoons of sugar in a can of Coca-Cola

This includes soft drinks. Most of us know that fizzy drinks are bad for our waistlines as well as our teeth, with the equivalent of about seven teaspoons of sugar in a can of Coca-Cola

First, our volunteers fasted for ten hours. They were then given identical calorie-controlled cheese sandwiches to eat, to ensure as best we could that they all started off equally full.

An hour later, each volunteer was given one of four drinks, which were allocated at random: 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.

Ten minutes after they’d had their drink, James took a blood sample to measure their ghrelin levels. Ghrelin is one of the so-called ‘hunger hormones’ which is produced in your stomach and then goes to

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