Is Carbonated Mineral Water a Safe Alternative to Soda?

Is Carbonated Mineral Water a Safe Alternative to Soda?

The health hazards associated with carbonated sodas and other sugary fizzy beverages have been publicized for years. Visions of calcium being leached out of our bones due to the phosphorous in sodas come to mind. Yet it can be a challenge to steer clear of these sweet drinks, and that is especially true when it comes to kids. One possible option is to offer them carbonated mineral water, but is it safe to drink?

Read about soft drinks linked to aggression in children

Meet carbonated mineral water

Before we begin, let’s get a few terms clear.

Carbonated water (aka, sparkling water) is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure. The result is a beverage that is bubbly and also known as club soda, sparkling water, soda water, seltzer water, and fizzy water. A small amount of salt is traditionally added to these beverages (except seltzer water), while various other minerals may be added as needed.

Carbonated water and your digestive tract

First of all, carbonation is a process that involves adding pressurized carbon dioxide gas to plain water. When this is the only addition being made, then there is no risk of health problems.

It appears carbonated water may actually help your stomach. In fact, one study found that people who drank carbonated water were less likely to experience indigestion and also had less constipation than those who drank only still water. However, if you have acid reflux, you are advised to skip any carbonated beverages because it can make symptoms worse.

Carbonated water and your bones

Research has shown that drinking soda, especially colas, is associated with lower bone mineral density and thus weaker bones. That’s because the loss of calcium and other minerals is associated with the presence of the phosphorus in colas. This finding was reported in a 2006 study that involved 2,500 people.

In fact, poorer bone health is not associated with the carbonation in beverages. Researchers have found that among women, drinking carbonated water versus non-carbonated water resulted in no difference in bone mineral density between the two groups. Therefore, you can likely drink carbonated water without worrying about leaching calcium and other minerals from your bones.

Carbonation and your teeth

Carbonated mineral water should have no negative impact on your teeth if it does not contain any added sugar or citric acid. If it does, these substances may cause erosion of your tooth enamel as well as have the potential for a carcinogenic effect.

Should you make your own flavored carbonated water?

When you read the ingredient labels of the carbonated flavored water on the market, you will likely see additive such as sodium (i.e., club soda), sweeteners and flavors (i.e., tonic water), and others such as citric acid, natural sweeteners, sodium, and/or caffeine (i.e., flavored sparkling water).

Read about how to make your own natural soda recipe

You can make your own flavored carbonated water by steeping fresh fruits, citrus, cucumbers, tea or herbs in plain carbonated water. Keep the container in the refrigerator and enjoy several glasses of flavored carbonated water daily.

Benefits of carbonated water

Are there benefits to drinking carbonated water? They appear to be the same as those associated with drinking non-carbonated water, which are keeping you hydrated, helping prevent constipation, reducing appetite, and being a source of minerals that can boost your bone and teeth health (depending on the minerals present in your water supply).

If you and your kids are looking for a healthy alternative to soda, then naturally flavored carbonated mineral water can fill that request. If you make your own, be sure to use organic fruits and vegetables and don’t waste them! Toss them into a smoothie after you have steeped them in the mineral water.

Sources

Butler N. Is carbonated water bad for you? Healthline 2017 Aug 11

Cuomo R et al. Effects of carbonate water on functional dyspepsia and constipation. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2002 Sep; 14(9): 991-99

Reinagel M. Is carbonated water bad for you? Scientific American 2012 Dec 5

Tucker KL et al. Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006 Oct; 84(4): 936-42

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Lisa has been in her own practice for over 15 years and specializes in weight management. She teaches natural nutrition in both corporate and educational environments and is a shining example of someone who practices what she teaches. Lisa is a nutritionist and educator specializing in weight management. After losing weight several years ago through a more natural diet and by improving her digestion, she committed to sharing her new-found knowledge and returned to school to study nutrition. Over the past decade, her Nu-Vitality Weight Program has helped employees at numerous corporations lose thousands of pounds. In addition, Lisa regularly consults for groups and individuals with unique nutritional needs such as police officers and athletes. Lisa has been featured on the Discovery Channel, numerous radio programs and is a contributor to various publications. Additionally, she teaches nutrition at multiple post-secondary schools, has taught natural food cooking workshops, and authored two books.