Science Discovered Why Seltzer Is So Addictive

Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
Are you obsessed with all things carbonated? Do you find yourself reaching for seltzer way more often than regular water? Well, it turns out that those little bubbles might be the reason why. According to a study from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, cold and carbonated beverages actually do a better job of quenching your thirst. Researchers say that "thirsty humans often prefer beverages that are both cold and carbonated, including: mineral waters, seltzer, sodas, and beers." The reason people feel that way is because of the chill and the bubbles. It's worth noting that this study was funded by the Japanese beer company Suntory — not exactly a neutral party. But the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia bills itself as “the world’s only independent, nonprofit, scientific institute dedicated to interdisciplinary basic research on the senses of taste and smell.” For this study, researchers enlisted the help of 98 people between the ages of 20 and 50. The subjects were asked to abstain from liquid and food overnight and then head into the lab the next day. Each morning, they were given a small breakfast of white toast and jelly before being asked to rate their thirst. Unsurprisingly, by this point, participants said it was "strong." Each person was given five minutes to drink 13-and-a-half ounces of water. Some participants were given cold water, while others received room-temperature water. Some of the participants got carbonated water and others received non-carbonated water. In the end, it was clear that cold water reduced thirst more than room-temperature water. Plus, researchers found that cold beverages with carbonation were even more effective. This doesn't mean you should go drinking tons of cold beer or cold cans of soda whenever you feel thirsty, because this study didn't find that cold carbonated beverages are better at hydrating. It simply gives us insight into what relieves the feeling of thirst in our bodies — and perhaps why you're so hooked on seltzer water.

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