Are the Bubbles Bad for You?

A woman has a carbonated beverage with her meal.Carbonated water is all the rage these days. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 20% of Americans dislike the lackless flavor of plain old H2O, which drives the crowd in search of a flavored substitute to quench their thirst. The grocery aisle is littered with various brands of this flavored, carbonated “water.”

The bright colors and exotic flavor combinations are enough to make your head spin, so we’ve broken it down for you. Here is what you need to know about that calorie-free, flavored, carbonated drink that’s easier to gulp down than still water.

  • Carbonated water is made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water, which creates carbonic acid. This is what makes your drink have bubbles. Tonic water, club soda and mineral water are also carbonated, but these have added sodium, vitamins and sweeteners. It’s important to read the label on any carbonated water you are drinking. Note the presence of anything artificial.
  • There are some current concerns over whether or not drinking carbonated water leaches calcium from the bones or strips the enamel off your teeth. This connection is true for carbonated cola drinks, but no current scientific research suggests the same for carbonated water.
  • Bloating and gas is a possibility. Just like most other carbonated drinks, if you drink enough or drink it too fast, you might experience some bloating and gas.
  • This shouldn’t be your post-workout drink of choice. While there doesn’t seem to be any major difference between still water and carbonated water, this shouldn’t be the first thing you reach for when looking to re-hydrate yourself after a rough workout. The bubbles don’t interfere with your ability to absorb the water into your system; however, people don’t drink carbonated drinks as quickly as regular water or sports drinks. After a workout, you should consume approximately 1.5 times the amount of the water you lost during your workout. 

For those who still aren’t sure about carbonated water, but lack the taste for still, you have options. Add some fresh fruit to enhance the flavor of your water. Lemon, lime, cucumber, mint, orange slices, or even watermelon are great additions to some of your eight ounce glasses.

If you would like to know more information about how to get your daily dose of water, speak with your doctor or one of our registered dietitians.