We’re all aware of the benefits of drinking water but I realized I didn’t actually know if sparkling water actually had the same benefits. Therefore I started to look at the research to answer the question: is sparkling water healthy? What about sparkling water and urinary tract symptoms?
What is Sparkling Water?
There are two types of sparkling water: mineral waters with naturally occurring carbonation and ‘carbonated’ water.
Carbonation is achieved by dissolving carbon dioxide gas under pressure into water. Some varieties of sparkling water may contain additives such as sodium chloride, sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium citrate, potassium sulphate or disodium phosphate in order to mimic the taste of natural sparkling waters.
The pH of sparkling water can range from around 3 to 5, therefore it is slightly acidic. Still water in comparison has a pH of 7. The addition of alkaline salts can reduce the acidity, however.
Is Sparkling Water bad for our Teeth?
There have been several rumours online and on the news claiming that sparkling water is bad for the teeth and bones and can cause digestive complaints [1, 2].
While this seems to be true for other carbonated drinks such as cola , sparkling water has been shown to be only slightly more eroding to enamel than still water  and has been found to have no effect on bone loss .
What about Sparkling Water and Digestion?
With regards to digestive function, some old studies concluded that sparkling water can speed up gastric emptying, which may decrease the efficiency of digestion due to foods not being adequately broken down .
However, a newer study disputed this, but showed that sparkling water changed the gastric distribution of a meal , which is unlikely to affect digestion overall. In relation to indigestion (dyspepsia), constipation and GERD, sparkling water has been shown to have no significant effect on GERD and actually improved dyspepsia, constipation and gallbladder-emptying [8, 9].
On the other hand, it seems to decrease satiety, which may or may not be relevant for weight-loss . However, carbon dioxide theoretically increases the air content in the stomach, which may result in belching [10, 11].
Sparkling Water and Minerals
While some natural sparkling waters can contain high levels of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and sulphur, the mineral content of carbonated waters relies on the quality of water used. But overall, sparkling waters seem to have a higher mineral content than most still waters and as such can be beneficial for health [12, 13].
Contamination can be a problem in tap and even some bottled water. Carbonation has antibacterial properties and therefore carbonating tap water may improve water quality and safety .
To conclude, sparkling water seems to be overall beneficial for health and the rumours around its potential negative effects seem to be unfounded. As it can be slightly acidic, it may or may not be an issue for IC sufferers but generally should be fine for bladder health.
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- Mail Online Why fizzy drinks (and even sparkling water) are worse than you thought 2015 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2937081/Why-fizzy-drinks-sparkling-water-WORSE-thought.html
- The Huffington Post Tragic News For People who Love Seltzer Water 2016 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/self/tragic-news-for-people-wh_b_9170682.html
- Wongkhantee, S. et al Effect of acidic food and drinks on surface hardness of enamel, dentine, and tooth-coloured filling materials Journal of Dentistry 2006 [34 (3): 214-220] available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300571205001223
- Parry, J. et al Investigation of mineral waters and soft drinks in relation to dental erosion Journal of Oral Rehabilitation [28 (8): 766-772] available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2842.2001.00795.x/full
- Schoppen, S. et al Bone remodelling is not affected by consumption of a sodium-rich carbonated mineral water in healthy postmenopausal women BJN 2005 [93 (9): 339-344] available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/bone-remodelling-is-not-affected-by-consumption-of-a-sodium-rich-carbonated-mineral-water-in-healthy-postmenopausal-women/197917F7DD10E91569C3FE64F7967151
- Lolli, Georgio et al The Influence of Carbonated Water on Gastric Emptying N Engl J Med 1952 [246:490-492] available at: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM195203272461304
- Pouderoux, P. et al Effect of Carbonated Water on Gastric Emptying and Intragastric Meal Distribution Dig Dis Sci (1997) [42: 34.] available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1018820718313
- Johnson, T. et al Systematic review: the effects of carbonated beverages on gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2010) [31: 607–614.] available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04232.x/full
- Cuomo, Rosario et al Effects of carbonated water on functional dyspepsia and constipation European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2002 [14 (9): 991-999] available at: http://journals.lww.com/eurojgh/Abstract/2002/09000/Effects_of_carbonated_water_on_functional.10.aspx
- American College of Gastroenterology Belching, Bloating and Flatulence http://patients.gi.org/topics/belching-bloating-and-flatulence/
- Mayo Clinic Bloating, Belching and intestinal Gas: How to avoid them 2014 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gas-and-gas-pains/in-depth/gas-and-gas-pains/art-20044739
- Albertini, Maria et al Drinking mineral waters: biochemical effects and health implications – the state-of-the-art International Journal of Environment and Health 2007 [1 (1): 153-169] available at: http://www.inderscienceonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1504/IJENVH.2007.012230
- Pip, Eva Survey of Bottled Drinking Water Available in Manitoba, Canada Environmental Health Perspectives 2000 [108 (9): 863-866] available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2556927/pdf/ehp0108-000863.pdf
- Wikipedia Carbonated Water https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonated_water
- S. Pellegrino Bottled Water Quality report 2015 http://www.nestle-watersna.com/asset-library/documents/sp_eng.pdf