A new study will help justify your seltzer addiction, according to Co.Exist. The sensations of cold bubbles are just more refreshing than warmer, still beverages. Cold, carbonated water is the most effective way to quench thirst, researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found in a new study published in PLOS One.
To see what mouth sensations might contribute to people’s perceptions of thirst, the researchers had almost 100 people abstain from both food and drink for 12 hours (most of which was overnight), then drink 13.5 ounces of an "experimental beverage" that was designed to elicit specific sensations. There was still water, carbonated water, water sweetened with sugar, water made astringent (like a cup of tea would be) with grape extract, and water acidified with citric acid; some were cold, and some were room temperature.
The experimenters also had some people drink a menthol solution, creating an artificial sense of coolness. After the test subjects drank all of their assigned beverage, they were given still, room-temperature water to drink freely. The researchers measured how well an experimental beverage quenched thirst by measuring how much water the person wanted to drink afterward.
Acidity, sweetness, and astringency didn’t seem to have an effect on thirst, but temperature and carbonation did. People wanted to drink more after chugging 13.5 ounces of warm water compared to cold water, indicating that the cold sensation quenched thirst better. They also felt less thirsty after drinking room-temperature carbonated water than drinking still water at the same temperature. But cold, carbonated water seemed to be perceived as the best thirst-quencher. People drank less after having cold carbonated water than cold still water.
In a second study, 10 people were asked to estimate the amount of cold, room-temperature, or carbonated water they drank while they couldn’t see or feel the amount of liquid in the cup (or see through the straw). The subjects overestimated the amount of water they drank if the beverage was cold or carbonated. Compared to their estimates for room-temperature water, they estimated that they drank 22 percent more of the cold, carbonated water.
These findings echo a "surprising" takeaway from another recent study, which found that colder beverages quench thirst faster.
This may make you feel justified in reaching for a beer or seltzer when you’re thirsty, but on the flip side, it may mean that you think you’re more hydrated than you are. If you are in real danger of dehydration, it may be better to drink something warm and flat, because while you may feel thirsty for longer, at least your body won’t be misguided into ceasing to drink before it’s ready.
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