Is Sparkling Water Bad For You?
Sparkling water has been around for quite some time, but it seems only recently it’s gone from an option to a must-have. Scroll through social media and you’ll quickly find different brands popping up, many of which form fun little lists regarding what brands have the best flavors, most fizz, coolest packaging, and which ones are even your best bet according to your zodiac sign! We’re living in a sparkling water world as of late, but one thing not heavily discussed is how the craze compares to drinking regular water. With so much emphasis put on the necessity of staying hydrated for your health, and many people having a hard time gulping down the flat stuff, is the sparkling water you hold so near and dear working in your favor? Let’s find out.
Sparkling Water vs. Flat Water
Health authorities commonly recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. But drinking straight water throughout the day isn’t everyone’s favorite thing, and can feel more like torture or a chore as opposed to doing something healthy. LaCroix and other sparkling water brands have generated buzz recently, as many of them contain just two ingredients: carbonated water and natural flavor. As opposed to soda, these drinks have no artificial flavors, no sweeteners or salts, and have zero calories. So, if straight water isn’t your thing, sparkling water may sound like an impressive alternative, especially if you have a thing for fizz and want to kick your soda habit, too. But as far as health goes, drinking sparkling water is not the same as drinking flat water.
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How Sparkling Water Is Made
Sparkling water is created by adding in pressurized carbon dioxide, which results in a weak carbonic acid. When combined with acidic flavors like lemon, the bubbly drink has been found to corrode tooth enamel over long periods of time. A study from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Dental Hospital found that flavored soda waters are nearly just as bad for teeth as soda, discovering the pH of a lime-flavored seltzer, for example, to result in the same amount of damage to your teeth as a cola. However, another study that tested sparkling water on extracted human teeth found levels of erosion to be extremely low.
But if you were to choose between soda and sparkling water, for instance, the latter is the better choice for so many health reasons, starting with soda’s controversial ingredients, as well as the fact that both diet and regular flavored sodas are associated with obesity and diabetes. Another bummer for sparking water lovers is that not all brands are created equal, even if they fall into the two-ingredient category. La Croix, for instance, uses aluminum cans that are not BPA-free, which they even admit on their website. BPA may have possible health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children, and may even increase blood pressure. Further research links it to breast cancer tumor growth.
The Benefits of Carbonation
According to a 2002 study published in the “European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology,” sparkling water has been found to aid in digestion so if you’re feeling sick to your stomach after eating, drinking a glass of it may ease your discomfort. The same study also attributed the drink to the improvement in constipation since fluids, including carbonated water, help the uptake of fiber needed to make stools work better. Another study discovered that carbonated water may also help you feel full longer, even more so than plain water, since it may help food stay in the first part of the stomach for longer, which can trigger the feeling of fullness.
But Does Sparkling Water Hydrate You?
Sparkling water has been found to hydrate you just as well as water, and is a great option for getting the intake you need if flat water is not your thing. And it may actually help you drink more water, according to one study that found people who made carbonated water at home ultimately drank more total water than those who didn’t make their own water. It was also noted that sparkling water drinkers ate less fat as well.
So What’s The Verdict?
If you enjoy a glass of bubbly over plain water, there’s no harm no foul if hydration is the name of the game. Just be mindful of the brand you choose, ensuring you stick to those two ingredients to avoid artificial flavors, controversial chemicals and more. Also, to steer clear of aluminum, your best bet is to invest in a soda stream and enjoy your sparkling water without the worry of added health risks.