Is carbonated water bad for you? 8 side effects of drinking it

Carbonated water looks as benign as the bubbles rising in the glass – but is it?

Let’s put the apple in perspective: the apple also looks healthy. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, so they say. But bake it into a buttery crisp or a pie garnished with scoops of ice cream, toffee chunks and caramel crumble, and you’ve suddenly turned that innocent apple into a sugary, saturated fat dessert from hell.

Likewise, not all carbonated water concoctions are healthy. Soda is, after all, carbonated water, but with added high-fructose corn syrup, brominated vegetable oil, often caffeine, and either caramel coloring or, in the case of orange soda, yellow 6 and red 40.

Ok, this is an extreme example. While fruit essence flavored sparkling waters are far less badass than cola, they may not be the ideal drink for a health-conscious person like you either. And that begs the question…

What the hell is carbonated water?


In short, carbonated water is simply fizzy water. Technically, it’s H2O infused with carbon dioxide, the same carbon dioxide you exhale.

Book Trends in non-alcoholic beverages, 2020 explains it simply as cold CO2 gas dissolving in water at high pressure. This bubble dynamic turns plain water into sparkling water, also known as carbonated water, soda water, seltzer, club soda, etc. When the gas dissolves in water naturally underground 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, the carbon dioxide is pumped in through an industrial process at a beverage establishment or bar, or with a soda machine on your kitchen counter. Add sugar, dyes and more and you get Coca-Cola and its cousins. Tonic water is another type of carbonated water, but with added bitter quinine and high fructose corn syrup, making your gin & tonic about 150 calories.

Consumers’ desire to avoid sugary, high-calorie soft drinks has made seltzer and mineral water fashionable, say the nutritionists we spoke with. According to Future Market Insights, the market for these seemingly healthier bottled beverages is expected to grow to $93.6 billion by 2033. Given America’s obesity crisis and the number of people with diabetes exceeding 37 million (97 million adults have prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association), most experts welcome this trend.

8 side effects of drinking carbonated water

Club soda mineral water

1. You improve hydration

“Pure, plain carbonated water is non-carbonated water and can help you stay hydrated, especially if you struggle to drink enough plain water throughout the day,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDNauthor A first-time mom’s pregnancy cookbook and Increasing male fertility.

“There is no scientific evidence that carbonated water is bad for you,” says the registered dietitian Mary Wirtz, MS, RDN, CSSD, a board-certified sports nutritionist and consultant for Mom Loves Best. “I support individuals drinking carbonated water to increase hydration. Most women should drink 11.5 cups of hydrating beverages per day, while men should aim for 15.5 cups, according to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This can be scary, but carbonated water, along with other beverages, can make this goal more attainable.”

2. You may enjoy drinking water more

The fizz of carbonated water makes it seem more enjoyable than drinking plain water. Added flavors do the same. “

They won’t bore you,” says Katherine Gomez, RD, a registered dietitian with clinical and research experience who is also a medical reviewer for PsycheMag. “Sparkling waters come in a wide variety of very satisfying flavors, and it often feels like there are more and more of them.”

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

OTHER: 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, you swallow more air than you would normally by eating or drinking anything else because of the CO2 left in the water.

“These bubbles can cause swelling, which can be uncomfortable,” says Manaker. “This can be particularly troublesome for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).”

Effervescent stimulation of the intestines can cause constipation or trigger loose bowel movements. On the other hand, the bubbling expansion of the stomach can lead to calorie-free satiety. One study compared the effect of carbonated water to the effect of carbonated water on hunger and satiety in a small group of young women. The researchers found that greater satiety and reduced feelings of hunger occurred only when the women consumed carbonated water.

4. You might gain weight

Bloated woman puts on jeans

A few studies suggest that carbonated water—with or without artificial sweeteners—can lead to weight gain and a higher BMI, even though it may contain zero calories. How so?

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

For example, a study published in 2014 Nature showed that non-nutritive sweeteners altered the gut microbiome of both mice and humans and could negatively affect metabolism and glucose response. And a meta-analysis of observational studies that have been published Canadian Medical Association Journal Nonnutritive sweeteners were associated with increases in weight and waist circumference, as well as obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular events.

But even those innocent bubbles in pure mineral water can contribute to weight gain. Small experiments on rats and humans published in 2017 Obesity research and clinical practice suggest that the effervescence caused by carbon dioxide in drinks causes the so-called the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which can cause overeating.

OTHER: #1 worst way to drink if you want to lose weight fast

5. You might lose weight

Zero-calorie diet soda is mainly carbonated water with added coloring and artificial sweetener. Millions of dieters have used it in place of sugar-sweetened beverages for decades, and some studies have shown their effectiveness in reducing weight. Although there is little research on pure sparkling water, zero-calorie carbonated water with no added dyes or artificial sweeteners may work just as well as artificially sweetened no-calorie and low-calorie drinks.

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

6. It can corrode your teeth

Not to the extent of drinking lots of soda, but yes, unsweetened carbonated water can contribute to cavities.

“Carbonated water can have a lower pH than regular carbonated water, and this lower pH can wear down tooth enamel over time,” says Manaker.

Acidic drinks like fruit juice, sugary sodas, and even mineral waters, especially citrus-flavored ones, can dissolve the minerals in our teeth, according to a new study. Journal of the American Dental Association (CONTINUE). A study in the journal JADA Foundational Science showed that dentin, the area under the enamel that protects nerves, is particularly susceptible to erosion from sugar-free carbonated waters.

7. It can make you more alert

When the summer sun is shining and you’re sweating, a drink of either plain water or carbonated water will hydrate you. But if you want to stay alert and avoid heat-related drowsiness, go for the bubbly stuff. In the 2022 exam, which was reported in the newspaper Physiological behaviorThe researchers gave healthy young adults either cold carbonated or cold carbonated water in a stressful hot environment. Their analysis found that carbonated water caused an increase in cerebral blood flow and blood pressure, as well as feelings of motivation and invigoration, compared to plain water.

8. Some can cause health problems

Some seltzers and carbonated waters contain potentially unhealthy amounts of synthetic PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to a number of health problems, according to a 2020 study by Consumer Reports.

“Many popular beverage brands contain these chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS),” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist 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 the environment.”

Epidemiological studies suggest possible links between PFAS exposure and liver disease, altered immune system and thyroid function, insulin disruption, kidney disease and some cancers. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends limiting the amount of PFASs in bottled water to 70 parts per trillion (ppt), but each state can set its own standards as low as 12 ppt. Some experts insist that less than 1 percentage point is acceptable.

So is carbonated water really bad for you? Judgment

A class of seltzer with lime

There is very little evidence that drinking carbonated water poses a health risk.

“In general, it’s not bad for you and may actually offer some potential health benefits,” says Sabat. “Carbonated water can help keep you hydrated because it has the same amount of electrolytes as regular water.”

Although it may cause bloating, some people find it relieves indigestion and reduces gas. Drinking carbonated water can keep you from 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 soft drinks. And those citrus-flavored seltzers—even boiling water in which you squeeze lemons, limes, and oranges for flavor—aren’t likely to rot your teeth unless you drink a lot of them every day. Even then, you can reduce the risk by simply rinsing your mouth with water after downing the glass to neutralize the acids.

The bottom line: “Carbonated drinks can serve a great purpose for your health, but the drinks you choose should be carefully considered,” says Best.

And if you’re in doubt, you can’t go wrong with the sports drink of your childhood – cold, refreshing water from a garden hose.

Leave a Comment