Drinking sparkling water
Is sparkling water ok to drink, & if so, how much in a day?
Sparkling water (also known as carbonated water, fizzy water, seltzer water, and soda water, just to name a few) is water with added carbonation, either from an infusion of pressurized gas to create the bubbles or from a chemical process, which is used to make seltzer water.
The quick answer is that I believe sparkling water that is infused with carbonation without added sugar, salt or other ingredients is ok to drink on occasion but it should not replace your daily quota of clean, filtered drinking water (not carbonated).
How much in a day? I would recommend not more than one glass or bottle a day. However, it depends a lot on other factors—such as your health condition, how well you eat, how much water you drink, whether you drink other dehydrating beverages (such as coffee, tea, sodas, etc.)
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF CARBONATION
Sparkling water is generally recognized as safe to drink, but it can cause some gastrointestinal issues.
The CO2 in sparkling water can cause bloating and gas in some people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive disorders.
The extra gas in sparkling water also creates more pressure in the stomach, which can cause the stomach contents to move up into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation. This is often referred to as heartburn or acid reflux. If this occurs frequently, it can be potentially damaging to the esophagus.
Drinking sparkling water is also not advisable for people with ulcers since it may it increase the pain and irritation of an ulcer.
WEAKER BONES AND TEETH?
Research has linked carbonated cola beverages to low bone mineral density and thus some have assumed this also applies to carbonated water.
However, this has not been proven. According to a study published in 2006 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” carbonated water alone does not cause mineral loss.
I believe it is the combination of caffeine, sugar, highly acidic pH, and phosphoric acid in colas that causes the mineral loss, as opposed to the carbonation.
Others have suggested online that carbonated water weakens the enamel of teeth. I haven’t found any studies to substantiate this.
However, I believe it depends somewhat on the acidity of the sparkling water (and if anything else is added to it such as sugar). The more acidic any beverage is, the greater the likelihood it will damage tooth enamel.
Your question also brings to my mind a few other questions:
1. What type of water is used before it is carbonated? Is it filtered or purified?
2. Are contaminants removed from the water through a filtration process? Or is the water purified (i.e., by way of reverse osmosis or distillation) and thus also de-mineralized (unhealthy in my opinion)?
3. Is anything added to the water other than carbonation, such as sugar, sodium, artificial flavorings or artificial sweeteners?
4. How acidic is sparkling water? (As of this writing, I have not tested the pH of sparkling water but I know that it is acidic. If I can remember to buy some plain sparkling water next time I go grocery shopping, I will test it with my pH drops and post it in the comments for this page.)
FILTERED WATER VS PURIFIED WATER
From what I can tell, most of the sparkling water is made with purified water. For daily use, I recommended filtered drinking water over purified water, and there are many reasons for this recommendation. If interested, you can read more about the benefits of filtered drinking water vs purified water here.
SPARKLING WATER ADDITIVES
All sparkling waters are not created equal. Some contain other unhealthy additives. For example, tonic water often contains added sugar and sodium. Bottled club soda has added sodium.
Thus, I encourage you to read the labels to see if there are added ingredients.
Even though I think it is ok to drink a glass or bottle of sparkling water a few times a week, I don’t believe it is that healthy. In addition, I am not convinced that sparkling water hydrates the body as well as plain filtered water, but I don’t have any way to prove that.
Nancy Hearn, CNC
NIH.gov: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Colas, But Not Other Carbonated Beverages, Are Associated With Low Bone Mineral Density in Older Women -- The Framingham Osteoporosis Study; 2006