Sparkling water has become increasingly popular in recent years. And with good reason. A bit of fizziness — often with a hint of fruit-infused flavor — can help liven the otherwise boring task of hydrating. However, water purists often find that bubbles are a silly affectation, and some even insist that H2O’s carbonated counterpart is not as good for you as still water. So are they correct — is one actually healthier than the other?
Carbonated Water Is Good for You
According to experts, most sparkling waters are as good for you as regular water. “There is very little specific research showing that sparkling water has a negative impact on health,” says registered dietician Lauren Sullivan.
There are even benefits to drinking sparkling water. A 2012 study examining the effects of carbonated water on gastric and cardiac activities found that it “may induce a short-term, but significant, satiating effect through enhanced postprandial gastric and cardiac activities,” making you feel full longer. Another study suggests bubbly water might keep food in your stomach longer than still water.
Also, anyone trying to kick their soda habit could find sparkling water helpful: “It can be difficult to transition from sweet drinks to water, but flavored seltzers and sparkling water can help,” according to Sullivan. “Water, whether plain or carbonated, is better than high-calorie, sugar-infused drinks.”
But Watch Out for Added Substances
However, it’s not all good news. Anyone with a delicate constitution may find that seltzer doesn’t sit well in their stomach, and some varieties contain additives — namely sugar, citric acid, and phosphorus — that can harm your tooth enamel. Even so, Dr. Brittany Seymour of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and American Dental Association assures that “it would take quite a lot of consumption throughout the day to have damaging effects similar to what we’d see with fruit juice or soda.” Some brands also have caffeine and artificial sweeteners, which should be consumed sparingly.
Sparkling Water Is Here To Stay
All of which is to say that it’s a matter of preference, and the health benefits of still and sparkling water are nearly equal. In 2021, brands like San Pellegrino, La Croix, and Perrier helped make sparkling water a massive $33 billion industry, with sales increasing yearly. With more companies entering the marketplace and differentiating themselves from their competitors with new flavors and sleek packaging, it’s clear that sparkling water will remain on shelves for years to come.
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