The Truth About Carbonated Water and Your Health
Bubbly, refreshing, and crispy, carbonated water has become a daily quencher for many Americans and a booming multibillion-dollar industry. This comes as no surprise since carbonated water offers a sensory experience (at least to those who crave it): The satisfying snap as you pull back the tab cap on the can. The fizzing sound as you open the bottle cap. The tingling feeling in your mouth after a sip or a gulp.
As for plain water, it provides exceptional hydration, that’s for sure. But many people dislike the “bland” taste and are unwilling to drink it. Yes, adding carbonation might make it more flavorful and acceptable, but is carbonated water bad for you in any way, and could it replace your regular water intake?
While there are many purported health benefits of carbonated water, there are several possible side effects you should know about. If you are concerned about these potential side effects, this article also provides various alternatives to carbonated water. Before getting into that, it’s crucial to know precisely what carbonated water is, so let’s begin with a brief definition.
What is Carbonated Water?
Carbonated water is plain water infused with carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. Different forms of carbonated water include club soda (which often has added minerals), soda water, tonic water, sparkling mineral water, and seltzer water. The carbonation makes the water similar to soft drinks but with far fewer calories.
To make the water “sparkling,” the carbon is pressurized, and the water temperature is lowered. These qualities combine and cause the carbon to dissolve in the water, creating carbonic acid. When the temperature is raised or the pressure is reduced, CO2 escapes in the form of bubbles, producing a “fizzy” effect.
The CO2 gas is added to the water naturally or artificially. Naturally carbonated water, like Perrier, San Pellegrino, and others from specific mineral springs, forms when volcanic gases dissolve in springs or natural water wells or other natural process releases CO2 into natural water sources. This naturally occurring carbonated water often contains minerals such as calcium or sodium.
To artificially carbonate water, the CO2 gas is injected into the water under high pressure. Except for seltzer water, carbonated beverages may naturally contain minerals, or have extra additives, including sodium, artificial sweeteners, and flavoring agents, to improve their taste.
Whichever type of fizzy water you like, you may have wondered if it is healthy for you in any way. By the end of this article, you’ll know whether it’s best to sip or skip a can of bubbly the next time you’re craving a little fizz.
Potential Health Benefits of Carbonated Water
While sparkling water, club soda, and seltzers have differences in taste and the amounts of minerals they contain, these carbonated beverages have similar nutritional profiles and health benefits. The main potential health benefits of drinking carbonated water are improved digestion, weight loss, and hydration. It is also far healthier than soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. Let’s dig deeper into these benefits, shall we?
Sparkling water may improve digestion in some people.
Feeling bloated and uneasy can be unpleasant, but sparkling water can help. Research shows that, for some people, a glass of carbonated water can help reduce the discomfort of indigestion, helping to release trapped gas.
Indigestion is generally caused by excess stomach acid and can result in pain, nausea, bloating, constipation, and other unwanted symptoms. It’s unknown exactly how carbonated water achieves this (maybe it’s the bubbles), but it can be a harmless treatment option that may do some good.
Carbonated water is healthier than soda, juice, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
Many people love carbonated drinks but are concerned about the high sugar content. Not only is excess sugar bad for your teeth (especially when it’s added to carbonated beverages), but it can also lead to unwanted weight gain.
Artificially sweetened beverages are another option, but with many people choosing to avoid artificial sweeteners, carbonated water is the perfect alternative (as long as it doesn’t contain any sweeteners or added sugars – which is something you’ll need to check for via the nutrition facts label).
Carbonated water is often hailed as a healthier alternative to soda, juice, or sports drinks like Gatorade. That’s because it makes for a refreshing drink on its own, and it’s an excellent base for a broader range of taste options – from a squeeze of fresh citrus to the addition of different fruit slices.
Sparkling water may aid in weight loss.
For people seeking to lose weight, hydration and not overeating are vital. Sparkling water provides proper hydration, and it’s a much healthier option than diet sodas, many of which still contain sugar and don’t provide adequate hydration. Beyond that, carbonated water may also help food stay in your stomach for longer, increasing feelings of fullness and preventing overeating.
If you’re not hydrated daily, you may always feel hungry because the body can’t differentiate between hunger and thirst. This constant feeling of hunger may drive you to eat more than usual, which may hinder your weight-loss efforts.
While carbonated water can aid in weight loss, it’s essential to be careful about the type of carbonated water you drink. For example, tonic water contains about 15 grams of sugar per serving, one-third of the sugar content in a regular soda. So, drinking tonic water is not a good idea for weight watchers. Instead, choose club soda or sparkling water with no added sugar.
Carbonated water is hydrating – perhaps as much as regular tap water.
From fatigue and dry mouth to poor performance and headaches, there are many consequences of being dehydrated. Luckily, carbonated water is as hydrating as plain water. If you struggle to reach your daily water intake, sparkling water can help improve your hydration efforts.
Possible Side Effects of Carbonated Water
With so many people flocking to carbonated water and the many benefits it’s said to provide, it’s easy to wonder if it is good for you. The main concern with carbonated water is its potential impact on tooth enamel and whether or not it contributes to gas and bloating.
Carbonated water may damage tooth enamel.
Because carbonation introduces carbonic acid into the water (a substance that can potentially erode the enamel on your teeth and increase the risk of cavities), there’s a common concern about carbonated water and dental health.
While carbonic acid alone is usually not enough to damage the teeth, some carbonated beverages, like club soda, can sometimes contain minerals that may affect the teeth. Tonic water may also contain sugar, sweetening, and flavoring, affecting the drink’s acidity, increasing enamel corrosion.
Furthermore, one study found that sparkling mineral water damaged enamel slightly more than still water. That’s because carbonated water is slightly more acidic than regular water. Therefore, it can potentially have more effects on your teeth, even though the risk of damage is still relatively low. However, studies have shown that carbonated beverages that contain sugar may lead to severe dental decay.
Sparkling water may cause bloating and gas.
Since carbonated water contains CO2 gas, the bubbles in this fizzy drink can cause burping, bloating, and other gas symptoms. Worse, some carbonated water brands may contain artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, which may cause diarrhea and even alter your gut microbiome.
If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and experience diarrhea as a recurring symptom, it’s best to stay away from carbonated water. Carbonated beverages may also cause heartburn, which means it might be best to avoid excess carbonation if you have a history of acid reflux also.
If Not Carbonated Water, Then What?
If the possible side effects of drinking carbonated water scare you, adding natural flavoring to plain water can be a healthy and exciting alternative to sparkling H2O. Lemon water or other fruit-infused water gives you all the benefits of plain, still water, plus the health benefits of the added fruits. Adding antioxidant-rich fruits, like oranges, mangoes, watermelon, and strawberries, can help flush toxins from your body, boost metabolism and immunity, and make your stomach feel full, so you’re less likely to overeat.
The Secret to Cleaner, Healthier, and Better-Tasting (Fruit-Infused) Water
It’s super-easy to make fruit-infused water at home, but you need to drink it consistently to reap the full benefits from this beverage. Even more importantly, ensure to use organic fruits and filtered water.
Using organic fruits prevents pesticides or related chemicals from leaching into your drink, and filtered water makes sure it is free from harmful contaminants commonly found in unfiltered tap water.
The most convenient way to filter your water is to install a water filtration system. These systems are designed to remove or reduce toxic pollutants possibly lurking in your home’s drinking water supply, including lead, copper, iron, chlorine, PFAS, bacteria, arsenic, herbicides, mercury, chlorine byproducts, and many more.
If you decide to make the step (a very smart one, if you do), we recommend installing a Springwell SWRO reverse osmosis (RO) under-counter filter. Springwell’s RO filters target and reduce many pollutants in drinking water, including:
- Sediment (sand, dirt, silt)
- Heavy metals (lead, fluoride, iron, arsenic, lead, aluminum, etc.)
- Chemicals (chlorine, chloramine, pesticides, herbicides, chlorine byproducts, etc.)
What’s fantastic about these units is that they are point-of-use (POU) systems. This means they provide clean, filtered water at specific taps in your home, whenever you need it. They are super easy to install and fit comfortably under counters with limited space. Plus, they produce up to 75 gallons of clean, great-tasting, and -smelling water every day.
When you purchase any one of these systems, you receive:
- A lifetime warranty on all parts
- A six-month money-back guarantee
- Incredible factory-direct savings up to 50 percent
- Free shipping
- Affordable and stress-free financing option
If improving your health is your goal, it’s only right that you ensure your (fruit-infused) water is free from all potential contaminants in water. We’d love to hear from you if you have questions or concerns about our RO systems and other offerings.
For many people, carbonated water is a delightful, refreshing beverage. It’s also a healthier alternative to sugary sodas and fruit juices. In addition to the health benefits of drinking plain water, sparkling water can also aid in weight loss and improve digestion in some people. However, you should always be mindful of any added ingredients in sparkling waters, especially sugar, artificial sweeteners, and sodium, all of which can potentially have harmful effects on your body.
If you are concerned about the potential side effects of carbonated water, including tooth decay, gas, and bloating, you can never go wrong with turning to the safest and healthiest choice: plain filtered tap water or fruit-infused filtered water.
Springwell’s home water filtration systems provide a reliable, high-performance solution for those looking to drink the cleanest, healthiest, and best-tasting water from the tap or infused with fruits. Contact us today to find the best home water filtration system for you and your family.