Diet or regular?

Published on August 26th, 2011
Diet or regular?

Did you know that you can tell whether a cooldrink is diet or regular through a fun try-at-home experiment? We found this cool experiment on www.thenakedscientist.com – check it out!

What you need:
A can of a ‘diet’ drink and a can of sugary drink.

What to Do:
Fill a sink with water that is deeper than your cans are high.
Put the two cans in the water.

What happens?
You should find that the diet can floats and the sugary one sinks.

Wondering why?
Whether something floats or sinks is all to do with how much it weighs for its size – its density. Large and light things tend to float, while small, heavy things tend to sink. To be more precise, if something is heavier than the water it is taking the space of it will sink, otherwise it will float.

The two cans are exactly the same size and sealed so the only thing that could affect whether they float or not is how much they weigh.

We weighed both cans and noticed a significant difference.
The can of diet drink weighed 349g, while the can of regular drink weighed 361g.

Why exactly is a can of sugary drink heavier than a diet one, even if they’re both the same amount of liquid?

This all depends on how they are made sweet. The sugary can uses about 35g of sugar. On the other hand, diet drinks use sweeteners to provide the sweetness. Sweeteners are molecules that trigger the same receptors on your taste buds as sugar does, but they last for much longer than sugar molecules do.

Sugar is also about 1.6 times as dense as fresh water so a mixture of sugar and water will be denser than water and so sink.

Do the test yourself and let us know how it went!

Pic credit: Roadsidepictures

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