Carbonated water, also known as sparkling water, is a popular drink in the United States. Carbonated water has carbon dioxide added to it under pressure. Such water is believed to be a good alternative to fizzy drinks that are high in sugar and calorie content. Many people drink this water to stay hydrated and gain its advertised health benefits.
However, is carbonated water really healthy? Does its presumed healthy nature have any basis in science? Or is it just an overhyped product which is actually bad for you?
The types of carbonated water
Carbonated water has varying types. Some of these can be filed as healthy while others may come with negative side effects. These different types of sparkling water all contain carbon dioxide added under pressure, but their composition varies due to the addition of other ingredients. This is what gives them differing tastes. Here are the popular types of carbonated water:
1 – Club Soda
This beverage is carbonated water but with some additional minerals such as sodium and potassium. Due to its mineral content, club soda is salty in taste. Most people include a bit of a fruit juice, such as lime juice, in club soda as an alternative for calorie-rich soft drinks. Club soda can also be used for making alcoholic cocktails by mixing gin or vodka.
2 – Seltzer
Seltzer is like club soda but sans the minerals. It keeps you hydrated and tastes like original water and is only different in it that it is bubbly goodness which can be difficult to keep away from. Fortunately, seltzer is healthy. You can add natural flavors to seltzer as well or purchase flavored cans. La Croix is currently the top seltzer water brand right now.
3 – Natural mineral water
This kind of carbonated water does contain minerals but unlike in the case of club soda, these minerals are added naturally. In fact, even the carbon dioxide in natural mineral water is naturally added. This water is collected directly from a spring which is why it contains additional minerals such as sodium, magnesium and calcium. Some manufacturers infuse more carbon dioxide to natural mineral water.
4 – Tonic water
Basically, tonic water is club soda with minerals and CO2. The difference is that it contains a compound called quinine as well. Tonic water is the least heathy of its kinds because artificial sweeteners are usually found in its ingredients’ list. The addition of sugar is purely done for the purpose of giving the drink a taste. In some tonic water drinks, sugar may not be added though.
Is carbonated water as hydrated as original water?
Carbonated water can hydrate you as well as original water. In fact, it can be your rescuer when you want to stay healthy and hydrated but regular water just doesn’t do the magic of appealing your taste buds. If you notice that you don’t feel as hydrated after drinking carbonated water as you do after downing original water, it can be because we tend to drink less carbonated water in a go because of its CO2 content.
What are the health benefits of drinking plain carbonated water?
There are some health benefits that are linked to carbonated water. However, more scientific evidence is needed to confirm these claims.
1 – It can improve digestive health
Studies show that sparkling water can improve one’s swallowing ability. Due to its bubbly content of carbon dioxide, it can also make one keep fuller for longer. CO2 water suppresses hunger by keeping your food in the stomach for longer. A satisfied tummy means fewer trips to the fridge. What’s more, carbonated water may help get rid of constipation as well. It may help relieve stomach pain as well along with helping you get rid of other symptoms of indigestion.
2 – May have benefits for bone health
Plain bubbly water can either have a neutral effect on one’s bones or a positive one. Contrary to what you may think, the carbon content in the drink doesn’t damage bones. In fact, a study shows that it can actually improve calcium retention and, in turn, benefit bone health.
3 – It may boost cardiovascular health
Some research reveals that carbonated water may be good for your heart’s health as well, but more studies are needed here as well. It is believed that carbonated water can regulate healthy cholesterol markers as well as maintain blood sugar. Moreover, it can also curb inflammation which can birth a whole lot of health problems. Due to these qualities, sparkling water can prove to be beneficial for your cardiovascular health.
What are the negative side effects of drinking plain carbonated water?
Most people think that since sparkling water encourages the production of carbonic acid, it must be bad for health. However, that is not true because carbonic acid is a weak acid. Over and above that, while carbonated water’s pH is a bit on the acidic side of the scale, it doesn’t make your body more acidic as the lungs and kidneys get rid of excess CO2 and the blood maintains a stable alkaline pH.
Also, you don’t have to worry all that much about your teeth when you consume plain carbonated water. The damage caused to your teeth is very minimal, however, some dentists do say that overtime it can erode teeth enamel. However, it doesn’t cause cavities.
If you have irritable bowel syndrome, though, carbonated water may not be the best beverage for you. Regardless of studies pointing out that it can improve digestive health, sparkling water can cause bloating and gas which is why IBS patients must proceed with caution.
Are all types of carbonated water healthy?
Nope, not all types of carbonated water beverages can be called healthy. While plain carbonated water is healthy, tonic water cannot be called healthy because of its composition which comprises of additives. Natural mineral water, club soda, and seltzer are also healthy provided they don’t contain potentially harmful ingredients.
Take home message
Plain carbonated water can be considered healthy as no evidence suggests otherwise. Therefore, there is no reason for you to stop drinking it. It can improve heart health, bone health, and even digestive health. Despite doubts, it doesn’t damage your teeth all too much. The only downside to it is that it can cause gas and bloating.
Image source: Quote Catalog