Choose a sparkling water without added flavors and sweeteners and add fresh fruit for a healthy burst of flavor.
Drink more water. Drink less soda. Those guidelines are clear, but what about the many types of sparkling water? Are they a healthy substitute for soda or other sugary drinks?
Sparkling water is a type of carbonated water, usually with added salt and flavors. There are natural sparkling waters, water from a spring that is carbonated by naturally occurring gasses. Most sparkling water, however, is made by adding pressurized carbon dioxide to cold water. Certain carbonated waters do have some health benefits.
Sparkling water, along with regular water, can help you stay hydrated. Some health researchers suggest the added minerals in some sparkling water may offer more hydration than water alone. However, carbonated water tends to be more acidic with a pH of 3.0 – 4.0. Drinking water with a natural pH of 6.0 – 8.0 may help your body maintain its neutral 7 pH and support metabolic processes.
For some, sparkling water can help with digestion. It can make you feel full, helping you to eat less and may help relieve symptoms of indigestion. For others it could actually cause gas and bloating. If you deal with IBS or are sensitive to carbonated beverages, it may be best to avoid them.
Drinking sparkling water could help you make the switch from unhealthy colas and diet sodas and avoid added sugars, artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy additives. Consuming too much added sugars is known to lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners can cause increased desire for sweets and may increase appetite. Artificial sweeteners can lead to poor gut health and may cause headaches or stomach aches for some people. While the carbonation in the water won’t harm your teeth, sparkling water with added acids (e.g. lemon juice), sugar, and salt could have a negative effect on tooth decay. Be sure to read the label before purchasing.
If you think sparkling water could help you drink less soda or stay hydrated, try different brands and flavors to see what you like best. Try to avoid ones with added sugars and artificial sweeteners. Have some with a small mid-afternoon snack for an energy lift or enjoy a glass with dinner instead of soda. Sparkling water can be a healthy drink to help you stay hydrated!