Discover the truth behind the fizz.
You might turn to sparkling water – the fizzy, sugar-free alternative to soda and sports drinks. Sports drinks, iced teas, and juices are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Whether it’s low-calorie seltzers, antioxidant-infused seltzers or even those that taste like soda, these bubbly drinks can be hard to resist. But are they really healthy?
How does sparkling water work?
Carbon dioxide is added to regular water to make sparkling water. Adding sodium carbonate to water helps water absorb CO2, hence the name “soda water.”
You can drink seltzer if you like the taste and fizz of soda but don’t want the calories. It’s helped many people cut sugar from their diets. But remember, there are such things as “too much of a good thing.”
When does seltzer become harmful?
The process of adding carbon dioxide to water creates carbonic acid, which lowers the pH level and makes the drink more acidic. It is likely to erode your teeth’s enamel over time if you drink a lot of sparkling water.
A sparkling water can also contain citric acid, which can further increase its acidity and lower its pH level. Some sparkling waters also contain carbonic acid for flavor.
The combination of carbonation and sugar in seltzer water can cause dental decay. You’ll want to avoid seltzer that contains sugars to prevent dental decay, says Dr. Guerrier.
Tip: If you love lemon or lime flavor but want to protect your teeth, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to plain seltzer water. It’s a less acidic way to add a little taste to plain water.
It is important to remember that not all clear, fizzy drinks are created equal. Some drinks that look like seltzer and claim “zero calories” actually contain artificial sweeteners, so check the labels to find the healthiest alternative.