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Sour = Acid

candy experiments: acid test smallLemon juice is so sour it makes you pucker up! Why? It's an acid. When something has a sour taste, it usually contains acid. The word "acid" comes from "acidus," the Latin word for sour or tart.

Acid In Your Stomach? Yes!

Your stomach contains gastric acid to break down (digest) food. Not to gross you out, but that's why it takes sour and yucky when you throw up. You're tasting some of the stomach acid.

How do we test for acid?

If something's acidic, it will produce carbon dioxide bubbles when combined with baking soda. Carbon dioxide is the same gas you breathe out when you exhale.

Is sour candy acidic? Let's find out!

What you need:

  • Bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Water
  • Fruit-flavored or sour candy (Pixy Stix, LemonHeads, Nerds, Skittles, StarBurst, or Sweet Tarts)
  • Spoon
  • Baking soda

What to do:

  1. Dissolve the candy in a half-cup of water. (Pixy Stix will dissolve easily. Other candies will need to be crushed so they dissolve into the water.)
  2. Sprinkle a spoonful of baking soda into the candy-water mixture.
  3. Watch for bubbles.
  4. If you see bubbles, the candy is acidic.

© Loralee Leavitt. Used with permission.
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Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2011

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