Is Carbonated Water Bad for You?

Is carbonated water, like sparkling water, seltzers, and club soda, bad or good for you? Learn about the benefits and possible side effects.

By: Gina Boubel

Demand for carbonated water is higher than ever. Over the last several years, many people have enthusiastically incorporated this refreshing beverage into their diet. It can be found in most grocery stores across the United States, and it’s enjoyed by people of all age groups. 

According to the company Technomic, which tracks restaurant and foodservice trends, Americans spent about $1.7 billion on sparkling water at restaurants in 2018. The double-digit growth of carbonated water can be partially attributed to consumers who are looking for healthier alternatives to sugary soft drinks. As a result of its rise in popularity, many people are curious just how healthy sparkling water is. Is carbonated water good or bad for you? 

While there are some purported health benefits of sparkling water, there may also be side effects to consuming carbonated water. For those concerned about the potential health effects, this article will also provide alternatives to carbonated water.

The Benefits of Drinking Carbonated Water

While the taste of sparkling water, club soda, and seltzers varies because of the different types and amounts of minerals they contain, all of these beverages have similar nutritional profiles and health benefits. The main benefits of drinking carbonated water are as a healthier alternative to juice, and soda, improving digestion and improving hydration.

Is Carbonated Water Healthier Than Soda and Juice?

In a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, there are 65 grams of sugar (this is equal to approximately 16 teaspoons of sugar per bottle). When compared to the recommended daily intake of sugar for adults (nine teaspoons for men and six teaspoons for women), it’s easy to see why adults are encouraged to replace their soda intake with alternative beverages. 

When researchers at Princeton University fed high fructose corn syrup and water to male rats at half the concentration of most sodas, the rats experienced abnormal weight gain, an increase in triglycerides, and extra belly fat.

Although juice is sometimes marketed as a healthier alternative to soda, this messaging is ultimately misleading. Many brands of fruit juice contain added sugars (including high fructose corn syrup), in addition to the natural sugar found in fruit.

Sparkling water is a healthy alternative to other sugar and chemical-filled sodas. And for those concerned about their dental health, studies have shown that mineral water is 100 times less damaging than a sugary soft drink. Carbonated beverages that are sweetened with sugar can erode tooth enamel but plain carbonated water has relatively few impacts on tooth enamel.

Sparkling water is a healthy alternative to other sugar and chemical-filled sodas.

Does Carbonated Water Improve Digestion?

There are several different reasons why carbonated water may improve your digestion. First, studies have shown that carbonated water can improve swallowing ability in people of all ages. When a group of healthy adults was asked to swallow different liquids, carbonated water showed the strongest ability to stimulate the nerves responsible for swallowing.

Second, carbonated water may also increase feelings of fullness. When compared to plain water, carbonated water may extend feelings of fullness after meals for longer. In addition, carbonated water may help food stay in your stomach for longer, leading to a greater sensation of fullness. 

Does Carbonated Water Hydrate You?

The consequences of dehydration are unpleasant: dry mouth, fatigue, headache, and impaired performance. Sparkling water is just as hydrating as still water. If you struggle to drink enough water throughout the day, sparkling water can be a great supplement to your hydration efforts.

Potential Side Effects of Drinking Carbonated Water 

With the rising popularity of carbonated water, it’s reasonable to wonder if carbonated water is bad for you. The main health concerns of carbonated water are its impact on tooth enamel and whether or not it can contribute to gas and bloating.

Is Carbonated Water Bad for Your Teeth? 

Many people have concerns about carbonated water’s effect on their teeth because it exposes your enamel directly to acid. While more research should be done on the topic, one study found that sparkling mineral water damaged enamel only slightly more than still water. 

Studies have also shown that carbonated beverages only destroy enamel if they contain sugar. In addition, several studies found that the combination of sugar and carbonation may lead to severe dental decay. 

Plain sparkling water appears to pose little risk to dental health, but if you’re concerned about your dental health, you could drink sparkling water with a meal or rinse your mouth with plain water after drinking it.

Does Carbonated Water Cause Gas and Bloating?

For some people, the carbonation in sparkling water causes them to experience gas and bloating. For those that experience discomfort when drinking carbonated water, drinking plain water may be a better option.

Alternatives to Carbonated Water 

If you’re still concerned about any possible side effects of drinking carbonated water, adding natural flavoring to still water can be a fun, healthy alternative to sparkling H2O.

Fruit-infused water has all the benefits of plain, still water, plus the health benefits of the added fruits. Infusing your water with antioxidant-rich fruits, such as peaches, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, mangos, and watermelon, can help flush toxins from your body, aid in muscle fatigue, fill your stomach so there’s less room for over-indulgent snacking, boost your metabolism, and shorten workout recovery time.

It’s really easy to make fruit-infused water at home. The key to making the best tasting, fruit-infused water at home is to start with filtered water. Next, combine your preferred ingredients into a pitcher or another kind of vessel, and let them steep for two hours to enjoy the full effect of the flavor. 

Weighing Your Water Options 

Carbonated water is a delicious, refreshing beverage that’s a healthier alternative to sugary sodas and fruit juices. In addition to the health benefits of drinking plain water, sparkling water can also improve digestion, and cause feelings of fullness to linger for longer. 

For those who are concerned about the potential side effects of carbonated water, including gas, bloating, and tooth decay, filtered, still water may be a better option. Aquasana’s home water filtration systems provide a high-performance solution for those looking to drink only the cleanest, healthiest water directly from the tap. Contact us today to find the best home water filtration system for you and your family. 

Carbonated Water