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Carbonation: A Review of Sensory Mechanisms and Health Effects

Pelchat, Marcia L. PhD; Bryant, Bruce PhD; Cuomo, Rosario MD; Di Salle, Francesco PhD; Fass, Ronnie MD; Wise, Paul PhD

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000010
Nutrition and the Senses

Carbonated beverages (sweetened soft drinks and beer) are undeniably popular, accounting for nearly ¾ of packaged beverage sales in 2005 despite recent inroads by still drinks such as bottled waters, sports drinks, and teas.1,2 At its peak in 1998, consumption of carbonated beverages was 207.7 L per person per year in the United States.3 Effervescent libations can be quite complex with ingredients including sugars, alcohol, high-intensity sweeteners, and acids. However, the main purpose of this review was to summarize scientific information on the perception and health effects of their 1 common ingredient, dissolved carbon dioxide.

Marcia L. Pelchat, PhD, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, with a BA in nutritional psychology and a PhD in physiological psychology. She now studies food selection and the chemical senses at the Monell Center in Philadelphia.

Bruce Bryant, PhD, is a senior research associate, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studies transduction processes and coding mechanisms involved in chemical irritation.

Rosario Cuomo, MD, is a professor in the Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, “Federico II” University, Naples, Italy.

Francesco Di Salle, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Medicine, Salerno University, Italy, and at the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Ronnie Fass, MD, is a professor of medicine and director of the GI Motility Laboratory at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson, and head of the Neuro-Enteric Clinical Research Group.

Paul Wise, PhD, is a sensory psychologist at Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in psychology at the University of California, San Diego.

This review is based upon the proceedings of a workshop on carbonation held on December 1, 2010, funded by the Coca Cola Company and organized by the Monell Chemical Senses Center.

The Coca Cola Company provided funding for the conference, including travel and/or honoraria for all authors. Dr Pelchat received salary support from the Coca Cola Company for preparation of this manuscript. All of the authors may have received grant money and/or consulting fees from food or beverage companies, including the Coca Cola Company.

Correspondence: Marcia L. Pelchat, PhD, Monell Center, 3500 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308 (

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins