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What Makes Soft Drink Addictive?

Posted on 2 December 2019

If you’re a soft drink fan, you might be able to relate to the fact that it’s very hard to give up. But why is it so addictive? 

Gary Wenk from Ohio State University in the US believes it’s because soft drink companies have discovered the perfect balance of sweetener, carbonation and caffeine to keep drinkers addicted. 

A normal can of Coke contains around 39 grams (or 10 teaspoons) of sugar. When you drink it, your brain experiences a rush of happiness thanks to a chemical called dopamine being released. Then, when the dopamine hit leaves just as quickly as it came, your brain wants more. Wenk argues that the fizziness of soft drinks adds to the giddy feeling you get from sugar, while caffeine stimulates the brain and increases alertness, which is addictive in itself. 

A can of soft drink every now and again won’t do you any damage, but a can a day can be problematic. If you think you’re drinking too much soft drink, you can try to find other drinks that you like to replace it, like sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon.