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Glucose Concentration In Soft & Energy Drinks And Their Influence On Tooth Decay

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This investigation discusses the relationship between the specific glucose concentration in three solutions Coke, Gatorade and Sucrose. This spectrophotometer was used, this is a device to measure absorbed light intensity as a function of wavelength of 340nm and record visible regions of glucose and sucrose.

The experiment found that glucose obtained and concentration of 1.83g/100mL in Coke and 1.2g/100mL in Gatorade, which are significantly higher than the manufactured labelled information. This I likely to occur due to the hydrolysis reaction of sucrose and other factors such as temperature impacting the net reaction.

Overall these future studies should include more accurate values representing the breakdown and the building blocks of glucose or sucrose; in the soft and energy drinks.


From previous research there has been sufficient evidence showing a relationship between tooth decay, nutrition and how high sugar content may impact them. Dentine erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attack. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity (Dentalhealthorg, 2019). Most of these acids are comprised within the GI tract and part of dietary and environmental factors as well. Through the decay of the enamel, it potentially can lead to caries, which is when decay-causing bacteria in your mouth make acids that attack the tooth’s surface. This leads to a small hole in a tooth, called a cavity, if not treated it can cause pain, infection and even tooth loss (NIDCR, 2019)).

In this experiment two popular soft drinks that contain high sugar content, Coke and Gatorade, will be used to study the relationship between the severity of damage to teeth and the contribution to the creation of tooth cavities. According to the Australian nutritional information that, can be found on the back of any bottle and is available. It can be hypothesised that Coke has a lower contents of glucose, 0/100mL, than Gatorade with a much higher concentration of glucose, 0.5g/100mL. For this experiment, both glucose concentrations from Coke and Gatorade, are determined through several reactions untaken by the assay reagent.

Throughout the experiment a spectrophotometer was used, this is a device to measure absorbed light intensity as a function of wavelength and record visible regions (Science Direct, 2016). This is completed through identifying changes in the concentration of the initial reaction from the previous products. Through the use of this device, the absorbance of these two drinks aid in the identification of glucose in both drinks. Enzymes are biological to humans mostly built of globular proteins, that have their own catalyst to decrease the reactant energy, which speeds up the net reaction. In this investigation, the reactions that require a catalyst involve hexokinase, enzymes, glucose-6-phosophate and dehydrogenase. These produce NADPH which is demonstrated below in reaction. The co-enzyme NADPH can absorbs light strongly at a wavelength of 340nm, it also has a significant association with the amount of glucose produced for this reaction (A. Pearson 1015MSC Laboratory Manual, 2019). This device was used for NADPH, to measure and determine the glucose levels in samples of Gatorade and Coke solutions.

Sequences of Reaction

D-glucose + ATP Glucose-6-phosphate + ADP

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  • Enzyme: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase
  • Enzyme: Hexokinase

Glucose-6-phosphate + NADP+ 6-phosphogluconate + NADPH + H+


Throughout this study, each pair of students were given three drink solutions Coke, Gatorade and Sucrose to assay, they were also given one blank and five glucose standard solutions. All pairs of students were given the glucose assay reagent, that contains ATP, NADPH+, gluscose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and hexokinase. All pairs were asked to label cuvettes and prepare all required solutions, including a buffer solution labelled 0. They were then asked to place all solutions in the device, spectrometer, each at appropriate time intervals with immediately measuring the absorbance levels, within the allocated times given. They were then required to repeat the exact process with other numbered solutions one through five made previously.


The aim of this experiment was to investigate the relationship between glucose and sucrose in two different drinks and their concentrations referring to the Australian nutritional label, located on the back of the bottles. At the completion of this experiment, calculations showed higher concentrations of glucose in both Coke and Gatorade. It can be seen that as the concentration of glucose increase the absorption rate increases as well (refer to graph above). This is due to, the concentration of glucose increasing in dilutions which shows the rise of enzyme levels present to catalyse these reactions, thus showing increased levels of absorbance on the spectrophotometer. The graph shows a clear linear nature.

By referring to the manufacturing company, Gatorade states that the drink contains 5.5g/100mL of sucrose and 0.5g/100mL of glucose but Coco Cola presents 10.6g/100mL of sucrose and 0g/100mL of glucose. By observing Coke and Gatorade’s absorptions levels this allowed for a linear estimation of glucose standards. The calculations showed Coke to be 1.83g/100mL and 1.23g/100mL, which is considerably lower than Coke. Therefore it can be concluded that Coke is unhealthier than Gatorade.

The predicted results were significantly different to the manufacturing companies information, this is likely due to experimenter errors for example, the rate of change in time of cuvettes entering and exiting the spectrophotometer. With this change the level and validity of the experiment decreases, this alters the absorbance values that would be obtained. Other errors such as, the preparation of the cuvettes and incorrect pipetting competencies could have also result in invalid values.

This experiment deems the hypothesis to be true because you can see and enzymatic reaction occurring showing the presence of glucose in both drinks, with Coke having a higher glucose concentration than Gatorade.

Findings in the Dentistry Organisation of Australia showed a various amounts of soft drinks including energy drinks, have significant higher levels in glucose creating early tooth decay. Given that glucose is acidic, regular consumption of this substance by an individual does have the potential to create cavities in teeth.


In conclusion, the results obtained in this experiment were found using the spectrophotometer with values showing a linear relationship between both variables. It can also be seen that Coke and Gatorade attained higher values than the manufactured company labels. This confirms that both drinks had increased amounts glucose, these can been drawn from the hydrolysis reaction of sucrose and factors such as increased or decreased temperatures and pH levels. With both positive and negative implications to health, complications to an individual’s health can be observed through regular consumption of high levels carbohydrates and glucose. Further research is required, in order to have a more accurate representation of the breakdown and the building blocks of glucose or sucrose. As this experiment doesn’t take into consideration the breakdown of sucrose consumed by the individual.


  1. Dentalhealthorg. (n.d.). Dental erosion. Retrieved from
  2. Gatorade. (2018). Retrieved from: [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019]
  3. Jameson, D., Verma, M., & V. Westerhoff, H. (Eds.). (n.d.). Methods in Enzymology. Retrieved January 3, 2020, from
  4. Spectrophotometers. (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2020, from
  5. The Coca-Cola Company. (2017). Retrieved from: [Accessed 06 Dec. 2019]
  6. Tooth Decay (Dental Caries) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 2020, from
  7. The Australian Dental Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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Glucose Concentration In Soft & Energy Drinks And Their Influence On Tooth Decay. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from
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