Finally, an answer to why you’re so hooked on LaCroix

Finally, an answer to why you’re so hooked on LaCroix

If you’re like many people who resolved to ditch the sugary drinks this year, you may be reaching for LaCroix multiple times a day. But why does it taste so good if it’s ‘just water’? And are you constantly reaching for an ice cold beer on a hot summer day? What is it that makes the two drinks so refreshing?

A recent study revealed that, in fact, cold, carbonated beverages are better at quenching thirst than their counterparts.

Thirsty humans often prefer beverages that are both cold and carbonated including: mineral waters, seltzer, sodas and beers,” researchers found. For a while, that fact had been a no-brainer, but it wasn’t until recently that researchers discovered the “why” behind it.

The study, from a group of scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, found that it all came down to the “chill and the bubbles.”

As a part of the study, 98 individuals in the age range of 20 and 50 were asked to go without food and drink the night before arriving at the lab. Once there, participants were given a breakfast of white toast with jelly before resting. After some time, the subjects were then asked to rate their thirst—all went with “strong” or above.

Next, subjects were given five minutes to drink 13 and a half ounces of water, which varied by group. While some were given regular water, others were given carbonated water—all with varying temperatures from room temperature to ice cold. Following the allotted five-minute period, all 98 participants were allowed to drink as much water as they wanted, as long as it was room-temperature and non-carbonated.

Ultimately, the researchers found that cold liquid reduced thirst more effectively than room temperature. The addition of carbonation to a cold beverage “further enhanced the beverage’s thirst quenching properties.” Later testing of the thirst-quenching effects of astringency, sweetness, and mild acidification showed no effect, “supporting the specific effects of cold and carbonation on thirst reduction.”

“Our results confirmed what people tend to naturally do when they are thirsty: drink a cold and often carbonated beverage to feel a sensation of relief,” said Catherine Peyrot des Gachons, PhD, also a sensory biologist at Monell and the study’s lead author.

Now what? Well, scientists aren’t advising us to down a Coca-Cola when thirsty. They say this study is just the beginning because thirst is actually quenched long before your body has time to absorb the consumed liquid, so any signs your body uses to make you stop drinking remains unknown.

“Unsweetened carbonated water, such as LaCroix or Perrier, are great thirst-quenchers and can be an excellent stand-in for those wanting to cut down on sugary sodas,” says Dana Artinyan, a registered dietician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. “Swapping a can of soda for a LaCroix saves 140 calories and 10 teaspoons sugar, which can really add up for individuals who drink several cans daily.”

So, while a cold LaCroix might not the best answer for everyone, at least now you know why it tastes so darn good.

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12 Comments

  1. Nice article

  2. What about the sodium content?

  3. Our family has been addicted to LaCroix for years. We’ve never bought soda or juice, so our kids have the choice of milk, tap water, or LaCroix. Nice to hear its not a bad thing!

  4. I have been a LaCroix drinker for years. Tangerine, and Coconut are two wonderful flavors worthy of sharing with your family for a night of popcorn and movies! I wonder though about the carbonation and joint health.

  5. I like it very much but found it to be bad on your teeth.

  6. How about giving the participants ice-cold water as a choice? How come only room-temp water was offered, but the other drinks temperatures were varied? I wonder how it would compare to the LaCroix? Bet the ice cold water would be gone first with nothing left! The only thing I crave when super hot and thirsty is a tall glass of icewater from my fridge door! Sometimes the carbonation is a welcome change, a treat even… but that cold water is the best.

    • Kelsey Sopchyk

      Hi E.B.,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m the author of this article, and I just wanted to clarify that ice cold water was, in fact, offered to the participants in the study, as stated here… “While some were given regular water, others were given carbonated water—all with varying temperatures from room temperature to ice cold.”

      Thanks!

      Kelsey

  7. You left out the very next sentence…

    “Following the allotted five-minute period, all 98 participants were allowed to drink as much water as they wanted, AS LONG AS IT WAS ROOM-TEMPERATURE AND NON-CARBONATED.”

    So only room temperature, non-carbonated water was given with participants allowed to drink as much as they wanted? Or did I misinterpret?

  8. Ahh I see now.. during 5 minutes they were given a choice- water, juice, La Croix, etc… all varying temperatures; then AFTER that, they could drink as much water as they wanted, as long as it was room-temperature and non-carbonated.

    I still question the conclusions drawn from this study, though..

    Was it the cold water or the cold carbonated drinks that won? The conclusion doesn’t say this- it says that cold drinks were consumed the most, and that the carbonation further enhanced the thirst quenching-properties. Since this is not correlated to any statistical proof I guess it would have been nice to see the numbers to get a better understanding.

    Not criticizing this article at all, just curious about the hard results, and what they indicate!

  9. Barbara Slegers-Hudson February 6, 2017 at 12:58 pm · Reply

    Eating a slice of toast which is carbs…and then spreading jelly on it…which is sugars…their brains were wired to reach for the ‘soda’ as it is programmed for sugar. My opinion. I’m curious if you feel this may have had a influence on the study?

  10. Interesting article.

    Generally speaking, there are numerous pathophysiologic pathways contributing to the feeling of thirst/satiety. There are also factors that the article did not discuss above, such as how a person’s height/weight may affect how much one may need to consume to quench thirst. Also, what their diet is like, and knowing what they ate the week before may be beneficial to know. There are drugs and disease states may alter a person’s sense of thirst too.

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About the Author

Kelsey Sopchyk
Kelsey Sopchyk

Kelsey Sopchyk, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator for the Advocate Charitable Foundation. She earned her BA in journalism and mass communications from the University of Iowa. In her spare time, you can find Kelsey working on puzzles, trying new sushi restaurants and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.

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