We all know that we’re supposed to drink more water. Proper hydration is crucial for a vast number of bodily functions and many of us don’t get nearly enough fluids in a day.
But all water is not made equal and if you really want to be healthy, then you need to ensure you’re getting the right kind of water. For instance: is carbonated water good for you? Or does the fizz downgrade the hydration?
Before we assess just how good or bad carbonated water is, let’s first look at what exactly it is. What makes water fizzy to begin with?
As the name might suggest, carbonated water is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide while subjected to high pressure. This results in ‘sparkling water’ that bubbles due to the gas. It is also sometimes called sparkling water for this reason, along with its other monikers: soda water, seltzer water, fizzy water and ‘club soda’.
Depending on the type of fizzy water you buy, this might also go through a range of additional processes. Carbonated water will sometimes have a little salt added to it for example, which can alter the taste. In other cases, it may be ‘fortified’ with vitamins and minerals. This also mimics the natural minerals found in mineral water from fresh mountain springs.
If you drink tonic water meanwhile, this will have added quinine along with a little sugar and sometimes a high fructose corn syrup. Natural sparkling water is completely free from any additives and normally comes from springs. However, the carbonation is never natural.
So, the next question is whether the process of carbonating water brings any health concerns.
The short answer? No! If you drink carbonated water with added salt or sugar, then of course you need to consider that as a part of your diet. However, if you drink natural carbonated water, then there will be no additional calories or sugar to worry about.
The only slight concern to bear in mind is that carbonated water is acidic. This is due to the reaction that carbon dioxide has with the water, which results in a substance called carbonic acid. It’s this weak acid that stimulates the nerve receptors in the mouth and gives carbonated water its ‘tingling’ sensation.
Some people claim that this extra acidity can damage the body’s natural pH level. In fact, there are some entire diets based around this notion (‘pH diets’). This is a nonsense: there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that foods in our diet have any impact on blood acidity. The body has natural systems in place to maintain the natural acidity of the blood: the lungs and kidneys remove excess carbon dioxide before it reaches the bloodstream for example. There is therefore no reason to believe that carbonated water should be anything less than perfectly safe.
The only slight issue that this acidity may present is for the teeth. Acid can corrode enamel and if you drink huge quantities of carbonated water then it follows that this could potentially leave the teeth vulnerable to decay and discoloration.
But the acidity in carbonate water is not high enough for this to be a significant concern. We eat countless foods that are higher in acidity. And drinking soda water is actually 100x less damaging than a sugary drink like Coca-Cola.
And there might even be a positive impact of that carbonation: which is that carbonated water may help you to feel slightly fuller for longer.
So, for all these reasons, it is entirely up to you which type of water you want to drink!