Is Carbonated Water Bad For You? 8 side effects of drinking it

Carbonated water sounds as sweet as a bubble rising in a glass – but is it?

For perspective, consider an apple: An apple also appears healthy. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” so the saying goes. But bake it into a buttery crisp or pie garnished with scoops of ice cream, toffee chunks, and a caramel drizzle, and you’ve suddenly turned that sinful apple into a sugar-saturated fat dessert from hell.

Similarly, not all mixes of carbonated water are healthy. Soda is carbonated water, but is adulterated with high fructose corn syrup, brominated vegetable oil, often caffeine, and either caramel color or orange soda, in the case of Yellow 6 and Red 40.

OK, this is an extreme example. While less bastardized than cola, sparkling water with fruit essences, too, may not be the ideal drink for a health-conscious person like you. And it begs the question…

What is carbonated water anyway?


In essence, carbonated water is just fizzy water. Technically, this H2O is infused with CO2, the same carbon dioxide that you exhale.

Book Trends in Non-Alcoholic Beverages, 2020 explains this as cold CO2 gas dissolving in water under high pressure. These bubble dynamics turn plain water into fizzy water, also known as carbonated water, soda water, seltzer, club soda, etc. When the gas dissolves naturally in underground water in wells and springs, it is called sparkling water, and contains minerals such as sodium. and calcium. (Think: Perrier Mineral Water or San Pellegrino.)

Otherwise, CO2 is pumped through an industrial process at a beverage plant or by a soda maker device on your bar or kitchen counter. Add sugar, coloring and other stuff and you get Coca-Cola and its cousins. Tonic water is another type of carbonated water, but added with bitter quinine and high fructose corn syrup, making your double shot gin and tonic about 150 calories.

The consumer desire to avoid those sugary, high-calorie sodas has made seltzer and sparkling water all the rage, say dietitians we spoke with. According to Future Market Insights, the market for these seemingly healthy bottled beverages is expected to grow to $93.6 billion by 2033. Considering America’s obesity crisis and the number of diabetics at 37 million (97 million adults have prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association), most experts welcome that trend.

8 Side Effects of Drinking Carbonated Water

club soda sparkling water

1. You’ll Improve Hydration

“Pure, plain carbonated water is still water and can help you stay hydrated, especially if you struggle to drink enough plain water throughout the day,” says Lauren Maneker, MS, RDNauthor of First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook And boosting male fertility,

“There is no scientific evidence to suggest that carbonated water is bad for you,” says the registered dietitian. Mary Wertz, MS, RDN, CSSD, a board-certified sports dietitian, and consultant for Mom Loves Best. “I advocate individuals drinking carbonated water to increase baseline hydration. Most women should consume 11.5 cups of hydrating beverages per day, while men should aim for 15.5 cups, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. According. This can be challenging, but carbonated water, among other beverages, may achieve more of this goal.”

2. You May Enjoy Drinking Water More

The fizz of carbonated water feels more pleasant than drinking plain water. Added flavors do the same. ,

They won’t bore you,” says Catherine Gomez, RD, A registered dietitian with clinical and research experience who is also a medical reviewer for PsycheMag. “Carbonated waters come in a variety of highly satisfying flavors, and we often feel like having more and more.”

Of course, you can always squeeze lemon into plain carbonated water or add fresh or frozen fruit slices for flavor.

RELATED: I Drank Lemon Water Every Morning for 30 Days and Noticed These 5 Life-Changing Effects

3. It can bloat your stomach

When you drink carbonated water, the CO2 trapped in the water causes you to swallow more air than you normally would from eating or drinking something else.

“Those bubbles can cause inflammation, which can be uncomfortable,” says Manekar. “This can be especially troublesome for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).”

The fizzy sensation in the bowel can cause constipation or trigger loose bowel movements. On the other hand, increased bubbly in your belly can result in calorie-free satiety. One study compared the effects of carbonated water to the effects of still water on feelings of hunger and satiety in a small group of young women. Researchers found that when women consumed carbonated water, they felt fuller and had less appetite.

4. You may gain weight

bloated woman wearing jeans

Some studies suggest that carbonated waters — with or without artificial sweeteners — can lead to weight gain and a higher body mass index, even though they contain zero calories. how come?

For one, “artificial sweeteners can have negative effects on digestive health and blood sugar levels as well as serious health side effects,” says registered dietitian nutritionist. Mary Sabat, MS, RDNOwner of Body Design by Mary.

For example, research published in 2014 Nature demonstrated that non-nutritive sweeteners altered the intestinal microbiome of both rats and humans, and could negatively affect metabolism and glucose response. and a meta-analysis of observational studies published in Canadian Medical Association Journal Non-nutritive sweeteners have been linked to increases in weight and waist circumference, and to higher incidences of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular events.

But even those innocent bubbles in pure sparkling water can play a role in weight gain. Smaller experiments on mice and humans were published in 2017. obesity research and clinical practice suggest that the dizziness caused by the carbon dioxide in beverages causes the release of the so-called hunger hormone ghrelin, which may induce overeating.

RELATED: The #1 Worst Drinking Habit If You Want to Lose Weight Fast

5. You May Lose Weight

Zero-calorie diet soda is essentially carbonated water with coloring and an artificial sweetener added. It has been used by millions of dieters in place of sugar-sweetened beverages for decades and some studies have shown its efficacy in reducing body weight. While there is little research on pure sparkling water, zero-calorie carbonated water without colorings and artificial sweeteners may work in the same way as no-artificially-sweetened- and low-calorie beverages.

“As a replacement for sugary drinks, carbonated water can help reduce your calorie intake and support weight loss efforts,” says the registered dietitian. Barbara Kovalenko, RDand nutrition advisor at weight loss app Lasta.

6. It can damage your teeth

Not to the extent that drinking a lot of soda, but, yes, sweetened carbonated water can contribute to cavities.

“Carbonated water can have a lower pH than regular still water, and a low pH can erode tooth enamel,” says Manekar.

Acidic beverages such as fruit juice, sugary soda and even sparkling water, especially those that are sour-tasting, can dissolve minerals in our teeth, according to a recent study published in the journal . Journal of the American Dental Association (Winter). Related research in JADA Foundational Science found that dentin, the area beneath the enamel that protects the nerves, is particularly susceptible to erosion from sugar-free carbonated water.

7. It Can Make You More Alert

When the summer sun is beating down and you’re sweating, a drink of plain water or carbonated water will re-hydrate you. But if you want to stay alert and avoid heat-related drowsiness, go for something bubbly. A 2022 experiment reported in the journal physical behaviorIn a study, researchers gave either cold carbonated or cold non-carbonated water to healthy young adults in a stressful hot environment. Their analysis found that carbonated water increased cerebral blood flow and blood pressure and resulted in greater feelings of motivation and euphoria than plain water.

8. May cause some health problems

According to a 2020 study by Consumer Reports, some seltzer and carbonated water contain potentially unhealthy levels of synthetic PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to a variety of health problems.

“Many popular beverage brands contain these chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS),” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, a registered dietitian for Balance Once Supplements. “These man-made chemicals, often used in food packaging, are also known as “forever chemicals” because they are difficult to break down in the body or environment.”

Epidemiological studies suggest possible associations between PFAS exposure and liver disease, altered immune and thyroid function, insulin dysregulation, kidney disease, and some cancers. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends limiting PFAS in bottled water to 70 parts per trillion (ppt), but each state can set its own standards with as few as 12 ppt. Some experts consider less than 1 ppt to be acceptable.

So, is carbonated water really bad for you? Decision

Seltzer Squares with Lime

There is little evidence to suggest that drinking carbonated water poses a risk to your health.

“Generally speaking, it’s not bad for you and it may actually provide some potential health benefits,” says Sabat. “Carbonated water can help keep you hydrated, as it contains the same electrolytes as regular water.”

While it may cause bloating, some people find that it relieves indigestion and reduces gas discomfort. Drinking carbonated water may help you avoid overeating (and help you lose weight) thanks to the satiating bubbles and water content, as long as your drink doesn’t contain 12 teaspoons of sugar, like most carbonated beverages. Soda does. And those citrus-flavored seltzers—even the sparkling waters you squeeze lemons, limes and oranges into to add flavor—are unlikely to rot your teeth unless you drink a lot of them. . Still, you can reduce the risk by simply rinsing your mouth with water after downing a glass to neutralize the acid.

Bottom line: “Carbonated beverages can serve a great purpose in your health, but the kind you choose should be carefully considered,” says Best.

And when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with opting for that sports drink of your childhood—cool, refreshing water from a garden hose.