We all know that sugary, fizzy drinks are full of calories – with the equivalent of about seven teaspoons of sugar in a standard can of cola.

But is it only the sugar in the drink that swells our waists, or could it also be the bubbles?

In a recent study done last year at Birzeit University in the Palestinian territories, researchers took a group of male rats and gave them either a fizzy sugary drink, a flat sugary drink or tap water to consume.

They found that the rats who regularly drank the gassy sugary drink put on more weight at a much faster rate than rats given either flat sugary liquids or tap water.

When they took blood samples, they found that the rats drinking fizz had much higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which could explain the weight gain.

What researchers found was that ghrelin levels were about 50% higher when people had a fizzy drink.

So the fizzy sugary drink makes you a lot hungrier an hour later than drinking the same drink, but flat.

This increase in ghrelin wasn’t only seen after drinking sugary fizzy drinks; there was also a slight effect when researchers compared the impact of still with carbonated water.

They also wanted to see what effect drinking carbonated fizz had on how much food the volunteers consumed later in the day. And that, in some ways, was even more revealing.

Leading researcher said: “If you group together the carbonated drinks and the non-carbonated drinks, they ate on average 120 calories more after they had had a carbonated drink than they ate after they had a non-carbonated drink, and that’s a really significant finding.”

So, on top of the 140 calories in the fizzy drink, it seems they ate another 120 calories later in the day as a direct result of the extra ghrelin that was produced by having had a drink with fizz in it.

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