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! So, is sparkling water bad for you? No. Especially if as a result, you’re able to drink more water to stay hydrated but there are some things to consider before you gulp.
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 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. The bubbly drink has been found to corrode tooth enamel over long periods of time with studies differing in the amounts that they actually affect corrosion. A study from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Dental Hospital found that flavored soda waters are almost as bad for teeth as soda, 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 clearly 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.
One other thing to think about with sparkling water is the vehicle in which most are packaged. Aluminum cans have long been known to be made with BPA—the industrial chemical linked to possible health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children, and may even increase blood pressure and have links to breast cancer tumor growth. However, because of the risks, many companies producing aluminum cans have made changes to lower or eliminate these risks. Bottom line, if you’re worried about BPA, look into your favorite brand to see whether or not they’re using BPA in their cans or choose your sparkling water in a glass bottle. Who doesn’t love a refreshing S.Pellegrino on a hot day? And even better, buying sparkling water in these larger bottles reduces the amount packaging tossed into land fills or recycled.
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 as there because it’s more interesting and flavorful – there are ways to make it yourself, flavor with your own fruit. However it’s probably not going to be the best choice for gulping during your high intensity workout.
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 choose glass bottles or invest in a soda stream to make your own sparkling water without the worry of added health risks. But most importantly, drink water however you can!
Ready to drink more water? Try our hydration challenge!