A recent article says that drinking sodas could increase one’s risk of heart problems. Although this statement is a bit indirect, the results of the study cited do seem to support this claim at least somewhat. According to the article, researchers were surprised to find that diet sodas came with a similar risk for metabolic syndrome. They cited the tendency of soda drinkers to select sweeter foods in their daily lives as a potential result of conditioning to sweet beverages to explain this phenomenon. This claim isn’t certain, but there are other explanations for the researchers’ findings.
One possible reason why drinking sodas could cause health problems is that carbonated beverages cause the body’s stomach and intestines to react differently to nutrients in other foods. Over time, this could cause metabolic syndrome. This association could be studied experimentally by exposing a range of subjects to a range of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages containing the same ingredients. The independent variable in this experiment would be the presence of carbonation, and the dependent variable would be some sort of measured effect on subject’s intestines. This effect would have to be shown to lead to metabolic syndrome, probably in a subsequent study. One challenge of this experiment would be that it could take a long period of time to conduct. Yet another would be the accurate detection of related intestinal change.
Another potential explanation for the phenomenon is that another common ingredient between regular and diet sodas is causing the brain to respond differently to nutrients in food. This would require a similar experiment in which subjects would be tested for changes in brain activity rather than in intestinal function. The independent variable would be the presence of an entire host of isolated ingredients, and the dependent variable would be the detection of brainwaves or brain activity that is altered from its expected state. This study could prove challenging because researchers might not be sure where to look for brain activity, and there are many different ingredients in soda.