Sparkling water may be the reason you’re piling on the pounds, according to scientists.
Carbonated water is often viewed as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks or booze, but the fizzy drink may not be anywhere near as diet-friendly as it appears.
The Daily Mail reports that the carbon dioxide, which gives the drink its fizz can trigger a hunger hormone, prompting us to scoff more food as a result.
This finding is based on a study of rats’ behavior, with researchers giving rodents different drinks and monitoring their relative weight gain.
Scientists from Birzeit University in the Palestinian West Bank also tested their findings on humans, noting that the hunger hormone ghrelin spikes in people after drinking sparkling water.
People who had sparkling water for breakfast were found to have six times the ghrelin level of those who had still water.
In tests on rats, scientists noted the rodents that drank fizzy drinks along with their normal diets ate more than rats who were given still water and "flat" soft drinks.
And those findings held true for rats given carbonated water, as well as for those which had zero-calorie versions of fizzy drinks.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: “The Department of Health must now curb the use of any chemicals that impinge on health and that should include carbon dioxide if this effect is replicated in further studies.”
But not everyone is as convinced by the study.
Gavin Partington, director of The British Soft Drinks Association hit back, saying: “There is no body of scientific evidence that carbon dioxide contained in soft drinks — or even beer — causes increased hunger or obesity.
“It is bad science just to assume an outcome from a study on rats will be the same for humans.”