Why doesn't pop satisfy?
April 12, 2006 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Why is it that when drinking pop, I keep wanting more? Why doesn't it satisfy me like drinking a glass of water would when I want water? Is it a quality of carbonated sugary beverages, or am I just in love with the taste of it?

So as a college student, I have turned to caffiene as a method for getting myself going in the morning. one can of pop (or soda, if you're outside the midwest) doesn't seem to terrible to have every day. But I really like the taste of Pepsi, and its probably my preferred beverage.

What I don't understand is that when drinking something like juice or water, I only want a bit, and then I don't crave or want to get up and get more. But with pepsi, I can drink 5 or 6 cans a day, and I'm not terribly fond of the fact that I'm getting so many calories from simple sugars. I'm not addicted to the caffiene, and I've cut pop out of my diet before, but I'd rather be able to have one or two a day and then leave it at that.

My question then, is there something about pop or similar beverages, that causes my lack of satiety, or am I just somebody who likes to drink a lot of pop.
posted by gilsonal to Food & Drink (26 answers total)
Couldn't you drink Diet Pepsi/Pepsi Light? No calories in that.
posted by reklaw at 11:51 AM on April 12, 2006

Uh, did you not know that they put sodium in sodas to make you thirstier? How do you think they sell so much of it? Besides the ads, I mean.

According to pepsi.com, there's 25mg of sodium per 8 oz of Pepsi. Not a ton, but it's there. And certainly all the sugar and other compounds can't help a ton either.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 11:51 AM on April 12, 2006

This little article has a good explanation and I apologize because I am new and having trouble with the link:

posted by FuzzyVerde at 11:52 AM on April 12, 2006

As others have said, you are dehydrated and pop is not going to quench your thirst. You won't die from lack of hydration, but it's not nearly as hydrating as a glass of water.
posted by mikeh at 11:55 AM on April 12, 2006

a can of soda a day is a pound a month by my estimates. here's to you+12 in 2007!

why not diet * or coffee or mineral water? I've found Gerolsteiner to be good both for taste, fizziness, and a waste of money to replace whatever I was drinking before. Now I don't feel too bad that I'm drinking free tasteless healthy liquids like tap water, plus the glass bottle is good for my manual fixation..
posted by kcm at 11:57 AM on April 12, 2006

You might consider switching to sodium-free seltzer if you really enjoy the carbonation. It is a lot cheaper than soda and more exciting than water.
posted by elisabeth r at 12:03 PM on April 12, 2006

I don't have an answer for you, but it's not just you - I have the same problem with regular Pepsi. I only drink Diet as a rule, but on the occasion that I have a regular one I can't put the can down, and I find myself wanting another right away. No other beverage does that to me.
posted by KAS at 12:24 PM on April 12, 2006

A study (referenced in this AP article) recently found that soda is truely a source of "empty calories," and drinking a certain number of calories as soda did not decrease the amount of food subjects subsequently ate, whereas calories consumed as orange juice decreased the amount of food eaten after drinking the beverage.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:27 PM on April 12, 2006

But yeah, there's no reason not to try diet pop. No calories but it still has caffeine.
posted by delmoi at 12:33 PM on April 12, 2006

Drink enough water to keep you hydrated, and then see if you keep craving coke. After you're properly hydrated, a coke wouldn't be so unsatisfying, because you should not be thirsty anyway.
posted by knave at 12:35 PM on April 12, 2006

I used to be like that, but as I got older (say, 25) I found that coke started tasting so sweet I didn't want much of it. Lost its appeal. About the same time I started drinking coffee with cream and sugar. Now I don't even put the sugar in it anymore and don't miss it at all.
posted by Nelson at 12:36 PM on April 12, 2006

caffeine is also a diuretic which will make you pee, when you do you need more water in your system you drink more soda and the cycle continues.
posted by Captain_Science at 12:42 PM on April 12, 2006

one can of pop (or soda, if you're outside the midwest) doesn't seem to terrible to have every day

Off topic, but I did the same during my finals - one or two cans of Coke per day to keep me going during revision - and 10 weeks of doing that continuously eroded the back of my top front teeth. When I went to the dentist a few months after the exams had finished he clucked and said "have you been drinking lots of fizzy drinks?" - he had to fit a metal plate to stop further erosion. I now no longer drink any carbonated drinks. If it's the caffeine you need then switch to coffee instead.
posted by greycap at 12:53 PM on April 12, 2006

Don't forget the insulin reaction. You consume sugar, get energy, then get tired, and want the energy back. So you drink more.
posted by cellphone at 1:53 PM on April 12, 2006

I believe it's to do with the type of sugar - high fructose corn syrup - in modern sodas. Apparently, it does not trigger any satiety response in the brain, so you just keep drinking. Old-style sodas sweetened with cane sugars make you feel full.
posted by ny_scotsman at 2:07 PM on April 12, 2006

Here is some more info.
posted by ny_scotsman at 2:09 PM on April 12, 2006

Don't forget the insulin reaction. You consume sugar, get energy, then get tired, and want the energy back. So you drink more.

That's actually the opposite of an insulin reaction. You drink more because sugar causes release of hormones like dopamine, which create a pleasurable sensation, and are potentially addictive. The same thing happens when you over-consume alcohol (though other things happen too, of course). Insulin breaks down sugar, reversing this effect, but it does so as-needed, so you have a temporary excess when you over-consume. And it's pretty much impossible to drink liquid sugar without overconsuming.
posted by scottreynen at 2:23 PM on April 12, 2006

As a woman, I've always been concerned about carbonation and its effects on bone density; add to that the new information about benzene in diet sodas and I only drink organic, cane-sugar sweetened sodas - and those are so hard to find I'm down to one every month or so (if that often).
Try tea instead of coffee - the caffiene is not quite as hard on your system, and it's pretty good for you (as those things go).
posted by dbmcd at 2:26 PM on April 12, 2006

Incidentally, for the next week or so, you can find Coke made with real sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup in many areas.

If you have a Mexican grocery near you, you can get that year-round. Only American Coke uses corn syrup, because corn is so cheap here. But even with real sugar, you're still drinking drugged sugar water. If you want something healthy or thirst-quenching, try water. It's Nature's Cokeā„¢.
posted by scottreynen at 4:31 PM on April 12, 2006

Do yourself a huge favour, and quite drinking that shit.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on April 12, 2006

Second drinking soda water. It's great. Throw some limes in it at home, even. You can also buy it in cans / small bottles, which you can keep with you. Then when you drink 4 or 5 or 6 a day, you're getting hydrated and you're not consuming 600 extra calories.
posted by zpousman at 6:38 PM on April 12, 2006

What the eff is with the chatfilter and derails here? I believe the question was: Why is it that when drinking pop, I keep wanting more? (NOT "Should I be drinking soda?" or "What else can I drink?")

You've already had and marked some good answers, but to recap: the sodium makes you thirsty right away; the caffeine is a diuretic, which works to dehydrate you; and if you're thirsty even before you drink the soda, you're probably at least mildly dehydrated anyway. Could also be a sweeth tooth at work?
posted by attercoppe at 7:39 PM on April 12, 2006

There is so much misinformation in this thread it is astonishing. First of all, you will not on the whole become *more* dehydrated from drinking soda. Yes, caffeine is a slight dieuretic, and it will not hydrate you as well as water, but it is not going to actively dehydrate you (see: this, this, and this).
I would suspect that the thing that makes you want more more more is the sugar and flavor (and as was pointed out above, the truly "empty" calories). I'd reccommend switching to diet (or coffee) for the caffeine fix, you really are playing with dietary fire with the sugared sodas.
posted by ch1x0r at 8:07 PM on April 12, 2006

What the eff is with the chatfilter and derails here?

Speaking for myself, it's because the problem this person is facing is FAR greater than merely feeling thirsty after drinking pop. The quantities he's gulping down are, in my opinion, very unhealthy; if he's wanting a caffeine boost, he's better off with a cuppa in the morning and a half-dozen glasses of water throughout the day.

Indeed, increasing his water consumption is as likely to perk him up as anything else; inadequate hydration is going to make him feel like shit regardless his caffeine intake.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 AM on April 13, 2006

I'm not going to answer your "why", but I will give you a couple of suggestions. I quit drinking sodas a few years ago. If you want the carbonation and something sweet, buy carbonated water and mix it with 100% fruit juice. Cover your caffeine needs with coffee or green tea.

If the carbonation is not so important, drink 100% fruit juice diluted wtih tap water (1 part Juice, 2 parts water). I learned to do that when I came to Europe, and I'm loving it.

Sodas are completely empty, unhealthy calories - do your health a favor.
posted by syzygy at 10:18 AM on April 13, 2006


You sound exactly like me. I used to be a Coca-cola kid, but then I started drinking Pepsi around college-age and now I like that waaay more. I'm also a huge Dr. Pepper fan. Once in awhile I switch from both of those to something like 7-Up, or A&W Root Beer. I used to drink probably 4 - 5 cans a day. I've seriously cut back on how much pop I drink though (about 1 can, occasionally 2, and I've made the switch to diet or no-calorie products/no-caffeine as well. But I still can't get enough!! I think i'm just addicted to the carbonation. That's my only explanation.

Though finally reading over the rest of the answers... (I just wanted to chime in, but what the hey :) I can totally see the sodium thing, and the "rush" of sugar, etc. causing you to want more.

I guess I don't have a good answer for you, but just wanted to say like some of the others that "you are not alone." :)

posted by mrzer0 at 4:19 AM on April 14, 2006

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