BI Answers: Is drinking carbonated water the same as drinking regular water?
Carbonated water seems like a great alternative for people who don't like the taste of still water, but who want to stay hydrated throughout the day.
But is the bubbly beverage just as good for your body as the stuff that comes out of the faucet?
Basically, yes. "Sparkling water can be just as hydrating as regular water," according to Jennifer McDaniel, a registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics.
Carbonated or sparkling water is made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water, creating carbonic acid. This process just adds bubbles — it does not add sugar, calories, or caffeine. Tonic water, club soda, and mineral water are all types of carbonated water, but these have added sodium, vitamins, or sweeteners, so it's important to read the label.
There are some common health concerns associated with drinking carbonated water — for instance, that it leaches calcium from the bones, causes kidney stones, and strips the enamel from your teeth — but these are not supported by clinical research.
"In reality there's no good evidence that carbonated water causes harm to your bone," registered dietitians Jennifer Nelson and Katherine Zeratsky 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."
While artificially carbonated water is slightly more acidic than still water, it's not as acidic as sugary sodas, and does not seem to significantly damage tooth enamel. A 2001 study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation that compared the affect of sparkling mineral waters with still waters on human teeth, noted that the "carbonation of drinks may not be an important factor per se in respect of erosive potential."
The only issues with guzzling sparkling waters are that "some people get gas and burp, especially when they drink it fast," says Ruth Frechman, a registered dietitian and author of "The Food Is My Friend Diet." Frechman also warns that fizzy water may not be the best post-workout beverage since the bubbles may create a sense of fullness that causes some people to drink less.
This post is part of a continuing series that answers all of your "why" questions related to science. Have your own question? Email dspector@buisnessinsider with the subject line "Q&A"; tweet your question to @BI_Science; or post to our Facebook page.
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