Is Sparkling Water Bad For You?

Sparkling water is not bad for you and can even help with constipation.

A glass of sparkling water

Sparkling or Carbonated Water: A Brief Introduction

Sparkling water, also referred to as carbonated water, is a good alternative to sodas and other sugary drinks and is also quite refreshing. However, there are some concerns that it can be bad for one’s health. To figure out if Sparkling Water is indeed good or bad for our health, we first need to know what sparkling or carbonated water is. 

Carbonated or sparkling water underwent infusion with gas (carbon dioxide) under pressure. That results in a bubbly drink, which is also known as fizzy water, seltzer water, soda water, club soda, and sparkling water.

Aside from seltzer water, carbonated water commonly has added salt to help enhance the taste and flavor of the drink. Other minerals are sometimes also included in small amounts. San Pellegrino and Perrier, along with other natural sparkling mineral water products are different as they are obtained from mineral springs and usually have sulfur compounds and other minerals in them. These products are also carbonated.

Tonic water is a type of carbonated that has added quinine, a compound that is bitter together with some high fructose corn syrup and sugar. 

In the next few portions of the article, we will look at the other properties of Sparkling or Carbonated water, and see whether or not it is bad, or possibly good for you. 

Some Properties of Carbonated or Sparkling Water

Below are some properties or characteristics of carbonated or sparkling water:

1. Acidity

Water and Carbon Dioxide chemically react in the production of carbonic acid. It is a weak acid that can lead to the stimulation of the nerves in the mouth. That initiates a sensation that is prickly and burning and can bring both enjoyment and irritation. Carbonated water is just slightly acidic with a pH that is three to four. However, consuming sparkling water will not increase the acidity of the body. The lungs and the kidneys usually have excess carbon dioxide removed. Which in turn, can maintain the body’s level of alkalinity (7.35 to 7.45 pH). That is regardless of the food or beverage consumed.

2. Dental Health

Since the enamel of the teeth is directly exposed to acid, sparkling water can have some effects on dental health. Limited research is available on the said subject. One study noted, that sparkling water only damaged enamel a little bit more when compared to still water. It also pointed out, that mineral water was less damaging (by about a hundred times) compared to other sugary beverages, such as soft drinks and sodas.

Another study noted that carbonated drinks are potentially more harmful and damaging to the enamel. Specifically, those drinks that had added sugar. All in all, the evidence is pointing towards the general safety of sparkling water that is plain that its sugary variants are the ones that may be harmful to dental health.

3. Digestive Health

There is evidence that shows who carbonated water can help in the improvement of adults (both young and old) ability to swallow. One study observed that sparkling water helped the most in terms of the stimulation of the nerves used to swallow. A different study also observed the health benefits of combining carbonation and cold temperature. A study conducted on individuals who had the persistent urge to have their throats cleared showed that those who drank carbonated water that is ice cold can provide significant relief.

Sparkling Water can also aid in making food stay in the gut longer. This can help individuals feel satiated for longer periods compared to just plain water. A controlled study was done on young female individuals also observed that those who drank sparkling water had higher fullness scores compared to those who just took in still water.

Lastly, there is evidence to suggest that sparkling water can help people who are suffering from constipation. In one study conducted in individuals who are forty and above for half a month, bowel movement on average improved by as much as twice for those who drank sparkling water versus those that just took in tap water. Also, the group that drank carbonated water experienced a reduction in the symptoms for constipation. Evidence also suggests that carbonated water can alleviate stomach pain and other indigestion symptoms.

4. Bone health

A lot of individuals believe that sparkling drinks may have adverse effects on bone health due to their increased acid content. There is research, though, to show that carbonation is not the culprit. A study conducted on a significant number of individuals showed that cola contributed to mineral bone density levels that are low and not carbonated beverages. This is most probably because cola has significant levels of phosphorus while clear soda and water do not. A different study also looked at the bone health of teen girls and noted that the reduced density in bone mineral was likely due to the replacement of milk in the beverages they drank which lead to inadequate calcium intake. As such, one can say that sparkling water does not have any adverse effects when it comes to the health of bones.

5. Heart Health

While the evidence is still limited, they point towards sparkling water’s positive effects on cardiovascular health. One study observed that carbonated water helps in the reduction of bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol along with lowered blood sugar and inflammatory markers. The said individuals also experienced increased levels of good cholesterol or HDL cholesterol.

All in all, there is no data that points towards sparkling water’s possible negative effects. It can even be beneficial for people suffering from constipation.

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