I was asked to provide a journalist some information related to sparkling water based on my degrees in Nutritional Sciences and holding the Registered Dietitian credential. Sparkling water is also known as carbonated water and is an extremely popular beverage that is growing in its reach. The questions and my answers are provided below. You can read the full article here.
Is sparkling water absorbed differently by the body, in comparison to still water?
Plain sparkling water is simply water that has had carbon dioxide added to give that characteristic fizz. The water is not different from other non-carbonated waters, such as still water that has been sourced from a spring. There is no evidence suggesting that plain carbonated water is absorbed differently than still water. One may bloat or belch more when drinking plain carbonated water than others, but the carbonation is removed in the stomach. By the time water reaches the intestines and the absorption processes begin, the water is already indistinguishable from water drunk from other water sources. The bottom line is water is H2O no matter what form it enters the body, and this even includes foods and all the soft drinks.
Is the hydrating quality of sparkling water comparable to still water?
Drinking water in any form improves hydration in the human body. Sparkling water is water that has had carbon dioxide added to give you carbonated water. Carbon dioxide does not cause dehydration.
What, if any, are the cons to choosing sparkling over still?
Some individuals may be surprised to learn that water that is bottled are not all regulated the same in the United States. Still waters, mineral waters and spring waters are regulated by the Federal Drug and Administration (FDA) for quality testing and contamination limits. However, sparkling waters that have carbon dioxide added to the water, such as La Croix, are regulated not as bottled water, but as soft drinks, thus making these manufacturers exempt from regulations other bottled water manufacturers must follow. Interestingly, naturally carbonated water, such as brand Perrier, are regulated under the bottled water regulations.
Sparkling waters often have flavorings added to the water in addition to the carbon dioxide. Those with citric flavorings have been found to have similar acidic levels as orange juice and soft drinks. Acidity in foods can have an impact on oral health, such as causing cavities. While moderate levels of intake are not likely to have a noticeable impact on oral health, consumers should be aware that these products are often marketed as simply being water. They are actually not, and the consumers should be mindful of the frequency and long-term consumption of these fluids and consult to their dentists.
As more individuals are consuming sparkling water as alternatives to soft drinks, researchers have been exploring the specific impact of carbonated water on dental health. Recent research advises clinicians to warn orthodontic clients that frequently consume even plain carbonated water about the negative effects this water can have on their teeth.
Are you a fan of sparkling? If so, what’s your favorite brand and flavor?
Personally, I find tap water to be perfectly safe, much less expensive and have a lower eco-footprint than bottled waters.
Overall, my professional opinion is that consumers should be mindful of their consumption levels. Like almost all foods and beverages, these drinks in moderation, can have a place in any diet. Be mindful of your oral health when drinking a lot of sparkling water. You can consult with your dentist to understand the impact it may have or potentially is having on your oral health. One should also be mindful of added calories as not all brands will have zero sugar in the sparkling water. These sugar calories can be more than soft drinks and can have similar impacts on weight gain. Lastly, plain water has no negative impact on dental health, is calorie free, more highly regulated, less expensive, and there is no carbon dioxide that can cause excess bloating or belching that may be uncomfortable for people or cause a feeling of fullness prematurely.
References & Further Reading
- H. Ryu, et al. (2018). Effect Of Carbonated Water Manufactured By A Soda Carbonator On Etched Or Sealed Enamel. Korean Journal of Orthodontics, p: 48-56. | Archive Link
- Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Fda Regulates The Safety Of Bottled Water Beverages İncluding Flavored Water And Nutrient-Added Water Beverages. (22 Eylül 2018). Access Date: 22 Şubat 2020. Reference URL: FDA | Archive Link
- Consumer Reports. Carbonated Bottled Water Lax Regulations | Lacroix – Consumer Reports. Access Date: 22 Şubat 2020. Reference URL: Consumer Reports | Archive Link
- C. Yang. (2016). Ready-To-Drink Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Nutritional Composition And Erosive Potential | Emerald İnsight. Nutrition & Food Science, p: 396-411. | Archive Link
- D. Schymanski, et al. (2018). Analysis Of Microplastics İn Water By Micro-Raman Spectroscopy: Release Of Plastic Particles From Different Packaging İnto Mineral Water. Water Research, p: 154-162. | Archive Link
- A. Etale, et al. (2018). Tap Versus Bottled Water Consumption: The İnfluence Of Social Norms, Affect And İmage On Consumer Choice. Appetite, p: 138-146. | Archive Link
- C. Brown. (2007). The Erosive Potential Of Flavoured Sparkling Water Drinks – Brown – 2007 – İnternational Journal Of Paediatric Dentistry – Wiley Online Library. . | Archive Link
- Office Commissioner. (2019). Bottled Water Everywhere: Keeping İt Safe. FDA. | Archive Link