Some of my friends might say I have a concerning addiction to sparkling water. Despite the extra bit of money, I will consistently order it in a restaurant (preferably Perrier because I’m classy), drink it everyday religiously, and even make my own at home using the godly soda stream machine. I prefer it in large quantities, refrigerated, and occasionally with a nice slice of lemon or lime. The warm fuzzy and bubbly feeling it gives me inside is simply not beatable.
Bad puns aside, my (pretty public) addiction is sadly also met with a lot of criticism and many haters. I always hear a new claim: sparkling water is bad for your bones, for your teeth, makes you bloated, irritates your insides etc. Because I care about my health and can’t always brush these comments aside, I decided to dig into the books (aka the Internet) in pursuit of debunking some of the main ‘myths’ out there and proving all my sparkling water haters wrong.
What is Sparkling Water?
Before looking at what impact it really has on our bodies, let's take a second and understand what it actually is. Sparkling water is water with added carbon dioxide gas that produces a weak acid called carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is what essentially triggers that prickly sensation in your mouth, which the sparkling water lovers out there have all come to love. Although many companies, like La Croix, are producing all sorts of flavoured sparkling water, this article will only be focusing on the natural (arguably best tasting) kind of water.
Myth 1: It's bad for your teeth
A popular concern is that sparkling water is harmful to your tooth enamel. The coating of your teeth starts to demineralize once it's exposed to a pH level of about 5.5. However, the pH of natural sparkling water is only about 3-4.
While sparkling water has been shown to have a slightly greater dissolution of enamel than still water, the level of exposure is still considered too low to have any harmful effects in the long-term. You would need to drink an impossible amount to do any real damage, so if you take care of your teeth and brush regularly, then there should be nothing to worry about.
It's also been said that sparkling water was 100 times less erosive than any other sugary soda you consume. This means that it's the harmful combination of sugar and carbonation that leads to severe dental decay. In fact, Gatorade, a non-carbonated sugary sports drink, was found to be more harmful to your teeth than a carbonated sugar-free drink, namely Diet Coke.
Myth 2: It's bad for your bones
Another popular claim is that drinking sparkling water will gradually weaken your bones and even cause osteoporosis, a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone. Fortunately, all sources have debunked this myth and almost all research suggests that carbonation isn’t to blame for weak bones.The belief of a high acid content in sparkling water weakening your bones is still debated. What's been found is that it's worse to consume beverages containing high phosphorus quantities, like Coca Cola, since this is one key factor leading to lower bone mineral density. A more commonly argued factor of lower bone density may be a lack in milk consumption, especially during childhood and adolescence. However, none of these are correlated with natural sparkling water, as it appears to have a neutral effect on bone health. Moral of this lesson? Drink your milk people!
Myth 3: It's bad for your digestion
Contrary to all the haters out there who believe anything with bubbles is automatically bad for your digestion, carbonated water can actually benefit your digestive health in many different ways.
Many studies say that people who had chronic digestive issues in the past actually benefited from and saw big improvements in their digestive system after only drinking sparkling water for a month. It also improves your swallowing ability, as sparkling water has the strongest capability to stimulate the nerves responsible for swallowing.
Finally, one thing that I think we are all aware of is that carbonated water can make you feel full longer than still water does. It actually helps food remain in the first part of the stomach for a longer period of time, triggering a sensation of fullness. Not only do you get a refreshing beverage without extra calories, but you can be satisfied faster, therefore eating less with just a few glasses of sparkling water during your meals.
Seems logical, am I right?
And there you go, my fellow sparkling water lovers. It seems like our elixir of life isn’t so bad after all and that we can prove all the haters wrong. As long as what you are drinking is the natural, plain sparkling water, it shouldn’t be harmful to your bones or your teeth.
If you are one of those people who just enjoys a little flavour with your sparkling water, try using more natural ingredients like mint leaves, cucumber, or lemon slices to increase your flavour game in a healthier way.
Enjoy your bubbly and stay classy.