As more and more people are cutting out sugary sodas, carbonated water is becoming an increasingly popular replacement. It’s perfect — no calories, no chemicals and there’s just something about bubbles that gives your drink that extra oomph. While experts can’t totally pinpoint exactly why humans gravitate to bubbly beverages (animals won’t go near them), the general consensus is that C0₂ adds a slightly sour taste (or bite) while the bubbles create a cool, refreshing sensation. So seltzer water is an obvious choice when you’re looking for healthy options. According to MarketResearch.com, “Most of the customers that are purchasing large amounts of sparkling or still water bottles are also much more likely to look for organic foods and buy foods that are locally-sourced and without artificial additives.”
Still some people worry that carbonated water may not be as good for you as plain water. There are rumors that it can erode your tooth enamel or leach calcium from your bones. Both of these come from studies about the harmful effects of sodas or flavored seltzer — phosphoric acid and sugar were causing the damage. Soda water is simply water with carbon dioxide added and there’s no evidence that C0₂ damages your teeth or bones. Experts agree that there’s virtually no difference between plain and sparkling water. In fact, research has found that people who made carbonated water at home actually drank more water throughout the day, which is definitely good for you.
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Carbonated water does have a few not so desirable side effects. Gassiness in the form of belching and bloating can be an issue for some people. And while seltzer can settle your stomach and ease constipation, it can also cause tummy-aches.
If you opt for flavored seltzer it’s essential to read the label. Flavored waters can contain lots of added sugar, sodium and artificial ingredients. You also want to be sure you’re buying soda, seltzer or sparkling water — those are all just water and carbon dioxide. Club soda has a lot of added sodium and tonic water contains sugar, quinine and other flavors. If you want a little extra zip, you’re much better off adding a squeeze of lemon or lime at home.