Is sparkling water as healthy as normal water?

There are lots of myths about sparkling water and whether drinking it regularly has any side effects. Here's what you need to know

sparkling water health effects
Is sparkling water just as healthy as normal water? Photo: roboppy/Flickr

There are plenty of myths surrounding sparkling water and its potential health effects circulating on the internet these days.

The effervescent nature of sparkling water makes it a brilliant, refreshing alternative to fizzy drinks, as it is calorie and sugar-free.

But its similarities to soda have prompted many people to ask if there are any potential side effects from frequently drinking sparkling water.

So what do the experts say about sparkling water for those drinking it on a regular basis? In short, it is essentially harmless – and just as hydrating as normal water.

Carbonated water is basically normal water that has been infused with carbon dioxide, creating carbonic acid. The process simply adds bubbles and not calories or sugar, which are found in similar drinks such as tonic water.

Some of the common health problems associated with drinking fizzy water include that it leaches calcium from the bones, causes kidney stones, and damages the enamel on your teeth – but generally these are not backed up by clinical research.

“Usually any tooth erosion comes from beverages that are sugar-sweetened in conjunction with carbonation, which tend to be highly acidic. Carbonated water is not going to be nearly as acidic,” Kristi King, MPH, RDN, a senior clinical dietitian, told nydailynews.com.

perrier sparkling water

Perrier is one of the popular sparkling water brands Photo: ulbaulba/Flickr

A 2001 study into the potential effects of sparkling water on tooth erosion suggested that there is little evidence to back up claims that carbonation can damage enamel.

There are similar myths surrounding the potential effects of sparkling water on healthy bones.

Kind added: “There’s a myth out there about [carbonation] leaching calcium from the bones, especially with sodas, but the research is just not there.”

Registered dietitians Jennifer Nelson and Katherine Zeratsky concur.

“In reality there’s no good evidence that carbonated water causes harm to your bones,” they said on the Mayo’s Clinic’s blog. “The confusion may arise because of research that found a connection between carbonated cola drinks and low bone mineral density.”

In short, then, drinking sparkling water on a regular basis is unlikely to have any negative health effects.

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