It's lunch time, and you have your eye on the soda machine. With some many carbonated beverages to choose from, what will help you decide? Most sodas have a generous amount of both sugar and calories. While everyone knows what sugar tastes like, calories can be a bit mysterious. What does a calorie even taste like? Gather some friends for a bubbly soda taste test do determine calories' role in your favorite drink.
Do calories make sodas taste better?
- 6 types of soda (for best results, include a mix of high calorie and low calorie sodas)
- Paper cups
- Permanent marker
- Write down all the types of soda you have in your notebook.
- Label the types of soda with a number from one to six.
- How many volunteers will you have? Gather sets of six cups for each of your volunteers. For example, if you will be testing six volunteers, you will need 36 cups.
- Use the permanent marker to label each set of six cups with a number from one to six.
- Pour a different type of soda into each paper cup. Make sure you match each numbered cup to its corresponding soda! This way, only you will know what soda is in each cup.
- Think about the purpose of this experiment. Some of the sodas you are using have a lot more calories than others. Do you think the amount of calories will affect which soda your volunteers like best?
- Write down your guess, often called a hypothesis, in your notebook.
- Gather your test subjects.
- Set each of your test subjects before a sheet of paper, a pencil and one of the sets of six paper cups.
- Have them take a sip from each cup in the set.
- As they drink, tell them to rank the sodas by taste. They'll use the markered number written on the paper cup. By the end, they should have a list of six numbers -- the first one corresponding to the tastiest soda.
- Gather the pieces of paper.
- Make a simple tally chart to determine which sodas were the most popular.
- Now take a look at the total calories present in each soda.
- Did your volunteers favor the sodas with higher calories?
You should have found that there was no clear "front-runner." While you should have noticed your volunteers had a slight preference for drinks containing higher amounts of calories, the results should have varied from person to person.
There is more to taste preference than just calories. Every person has a unique set of taste buds, and those taste buds are what determines favorite drinks, flavor of chip, pizza topping, etc. On the other hand, calories are often present in many of our tastiest treats: cream sodas, chocolate, fried food and ice cream. If you made a list of your favorite food, chances are there would be a lot of calorise on the list.
What other ways do you think you could conduct a taste test? Do you think your volunteers could tell the difference between a soda and its diet version? Keep guessing and testing new ways to learn about the science behind our favorite drinks and treats. You may be surprised at the results!
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.