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Is Sparkling Water Bad for You?


Most of our readers are probably aware that soda isn’t a healthy drink option. The combination of sugar, caffeine, carbonation, and empty calories can cause a host of health problems. Chronic consumption of sugary drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and the slow but steady destruction of your tooth enamel.

But what about sparkling water? At Pelican Water we’re vocal advocates for staying hydrated throughout the day, so it seems obvious that we would endorse sparkling water. It removes harmful elements like caffeine and sugar from sodas. Also known as seltzer or club soda, sparkling water seems like a safe alternative to soda.

But there are many claims online that sparkling water can weaken tooth enamel, damage your bones, and have negative effects on your stomach acid. Read on to learn if you should swear off sparkling water or if these claims lack evidence.

Does Sparkling Water Cause Bone Damage?

If you conduct a Google search pertaining to carbonated water and bones you’ll find claims (without sources) that connect drinking carbonated water with calcium leaching from your bones, which would result in osteoporosis. Luckily, this is a myth and is not supported by scientific evidence.

A study published in 2006 found that bone mineral density is lower in older women who consume soda, but not in women (or men) who consume other carbonated beverages, including sparkling water. According to the researchers that conducted the survey the likely culprit of any mineral leaching is the phosphoric acid caffeine present in some sodas.

Does Sparkling Water Weaken Tooth Enamel?

This is a big deterrent for the average consumer – why drink something that’s going to rot your teeth? Again, the short answer is this: the carbonation in sparkling water is not responsible for tooth enamel decay. A 2009 study found that the substances that contribute to tooth decay are acids (like citric acid used in many sodas) and sugar.

So what does this mean? If you want to keep your teeth healthy check the labels and ingredients of sparkling water before you drink it. As long as no added acids or sugars are present the sparkling water won’t have negative effects on the protective layer surrounding your teeth. The reason why an old teeth can slowly erode when placed inside a cup of soda is the high concentration of sugars, acids, and other chemicals in the soda.

Does Sparkling Water Create Stomach Problems?

There is no evidence that sparkling water alone can cause severe gastrointestinal problems like diluting stomach acid. This claim appears in many chain emails and social media posts, but carbonation and water cannot reduce the effectiveness of stomach acid.

However, if you suffer from acid reflux or have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) you may want to avoid sparkling water based on your personal experience. All carbonated beverages can worsen the symptoms associated with reflux, and most patients with that diagnosis are warned to avoid carbonated beverages.

Some people who have IBS or issues with gas and bloating may feel relief after consuming carbonated water, as it can cause you to burp and relieve pressure. However, it can also lead to bloating in your intestinal track based on your specific case of IBS, so if you’ve had a flare-up after drinking sparkling water it’s best to avoid it.

Still Water Is Always Safer

For the most part sparkling water is completely safe to drink and helps keep you hydrated. The danger comes from other ingredients like sugars, artificial sweeteners, and citric acid being added to certain brands of sparkling water to create a signature taste. Always read the list of ingredients before you buy.

Still water is always free of these additives and is the best way to remain refreshed and hydrated throughout the day. Drink a glass of filtered water whenever you have a craving, but feel free to have some sparkling water when you’re on the go instead of sugary soda.

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