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What makes soda so addictive?

But actually giving up your soda habit is not always an easy task. While some people may function well without soft drinks, others find that they need a correction starting at breakfast.

According to Gary Wenk, director of neuroscience students at Ohio State University and author of "Your Brain for Food," it's all about the design of the drink. Your favorite soft drink brand is created with just the right amount of sweetener, caffeine and carbonation to keep you wanting to take and swallow.

Sugar Factor

Consider the fact that a 12-ounce box of coca – The car has a whopping 39 grams of sugar – that's equivalent to about 1
0 teaspoons and more than we need to consume all day.
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But it seems that this surge of sweetness activates the same reward centers in the brain as drugs, Wank explained. It triggers the release of brain chemical dopamine in a region known as the nucleus joins, and as a result, we feel euphoria.

"Sugar in beverages … swings through the brain, you get dopamine that rewards you, and then the effect of the dopamine tide fades out almost as quickly as it arrives, leaving your brain to crave more," Wank said

one review concluded that sugar may even be more useful and attractive than cocaine.

But satisfying this desire for more sugar can lead to more desire.

"The more soda you drink, the greater the" reward "and as it would with most pleasant things, we develop affinity and want more of them," says Cordialis Msora-Casago, a registered nutritionist and nutritionist at the Academy for nutrition and dietetics.

Caffeine kick

Sugar is not the only ingredient to blame when it comes to the addictive qualities of soda.

There is also caffeine, which is a stimulant – "and our brains crave for things that stimulate it," he continued. Not only does caffeine accelerate our thinking, but it also has its unique ability to activate dopamine reward pathways, according to Wenk.

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"Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed psychostimulants in the world … and has an addictive property," said Dr. Marilyn Cornelis, Assistant Professor in preventive medicine at Northwestern University. "[With soda] we get high sugar in combination with caffeine and it's a pretty good feeling that can make you consume more the next day or another time."

When consumed regularly, people often start to rely on caffeine to increase attention, alertness and energy, according to Msora-Kasago. "They can feel addicted to it and even experience signs of withdrawal, such as headaches and poor concentration when they don't have it," she said.

The Physical Factor

There is another element that plays a very important role in the primacy of soda: Phys. "If you take Coca-Cola and sit it on the counter for a day or more, how much would you enjoy drinking it?" Wenk said.

In fact, carbonation makes every drink much more addictive, according to Wenk.

These bubbles add a small amount of acidity, which, when combined with sugar, enhances the euphoric sense of "reward," Wenck explained. Carbonation also has the ability to make the sugar absorb a little in the backseat – which is not to say that the sugar is not yet enjoying its pleasant effects, but that the bubbles are dulling the sweet taste, enough to make you crave even more.

No sugar, same problems

Although diet sodas replace real sugar with artificial sweeteners, they can have their own addictive characteristics. According to Msora-Kasago, they trigger the taste buds, which register the sweetness and expect the sugar, essentially preparing the brain for a reward that never comes.

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And when "the brain doesn't get the reward it wants from its drink – the real sugar – it says, 'Get out and get me some more,'" Wenk said. ] And, as with ordinary soda, carbonating compounds act as artificial sweeteners – dulling the taste enough to intensify our craving and cracking another can.

Rituals and genes

But why some people seem to crave soda after soda while others may have only one and be satisfied? This may be related to some o the ritual aspects of drinking soda, which also play a role in the chemistry of our brain, everything from hearing the pop and fizz of carbonation to seeing the words "diet" written on a box – an aspect of the reward itself for participating in what may be considered "virtuous" behavior – it can increase dopamine cell activity.

"Even before you get that first dose of caffeine in your brain, you already feel the reward," Wenk said.

And this expectation helps to establish a habit. "[People] study late into the night, drive home or meet, and this box of soda is the only thing that keeps them alert and engaged," Msora-Casago said.

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Dietary soda, in particular, can become a habit when considered as a "healthier" choice. For example, it is common to replace a regular soda habit with a diet soda that reduces calorie intake without giving up the actual soda habit, Msora-Kasago explained.

And at least one study suggests that there may be genetic grounds associated with our desire to consume sugary drinks. In the study, people who had a variant in a gene known as FTO – which had previously been associated with a lower risk of obesity – surprisingly had an affinity for sugary drinks.

"People with this variant of FTO are more likely to drink more soda," explained Cornelis, who co-authored the study. Although the association with the lower risk of obesity is the opposite, it is "a similar trend observed by other scientists "and researchers are still trying to understand, according to Cornelis. About 20 to 30% of the population have a genetic variant.

Kicking a can

If you drink a soft drink on occasion – say it several times a month "No need to worry. But if you have more than one soda a day, I would." could be at risk for health conditions that include obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to Msora-Kasago, and drinking soda also comes with risks: consuming just one can of food a day is associated with an increased risk of stroke

"The key is to find (another) drink that you like," said Msora-Casago. "Salt milk is always a great place to start, because in addition to quenching thirst, milk provides many important nutrients such as protein and calcium. "

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For a lower calorie Option you can enjoy a glass of unsweetened tea, which gives aroma and boost to the antioxidants fighting diseases.

And water remains the tried and true drink for better health. If you do not like still water, Msora-Kasago recommends finding unsweetened sparkling water that you like or making your own sprinter by mixing three parts carbonated water with one part fruit or vegetable juice.

If you drink soda to boost energy during the day, you may want to sign up for your dream. Studies show there may be a link between sleeping less than 5 hours a day and drinking more sugary, caffeinated soda, Msora-Kasago explained.

But whether getting enough sleep will actually discourage you from reaching that box of cars is much less definitive. "A well-rested brain will encourage you to drink as much soda as a drowsy brain," Wenk said.

Lisa Dreyer is a nutritionist, author, and CNN employee on health and nutrition.

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