Sparkling Water Versus Regular Water

Whether you call it sparkling water, seltzer water or club soda, carbonated water can be a healthy addition to any diet. It's just as hydrating as regular water and has zero calories. On top of that, it's filled with bubbles that curb appetite and promote satiety.

Sparkling water is either enriched with carbon dioxide or comes from natural sources. (Image: Diana Miller/Cultura/GettyImages)

Still Water Versus Sparkling Water

Ever wonder about the difference between plain drinking water and sparkling water? The latter is more refreshing, with its fizzy bubbles. However, that's not the only difference.

Sparkling water is either enriched with carbon dioxide or comes from natural sources. Mineral water, for example, comes from an underground source and boasts a high nutritional value, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) points out. Club soda, another popular type of carbonated water, is made with dissolved salts, such as sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate, for extra flavor.

Seltzer water is regular water with carbon dioxide. It's just as hydrating as plain water and fills you up quickly, notes Harvard Health Publishing. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't damage the teeth enamel. In fact, it's less acidic than soda and citrus juices.

Tap water and regular bottled water typically come from municipal sources. Impurities are removed through distillation, reverse osmosis, ozonation and other methods, according to the FDA.

Bottled water, though, may also come from underground sources, depending on the brand. Some varieties, especially natural mineral waters, are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, chromium, selenium and other nutrients, as reported in a mini-review published in Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism in September-December 2016.

Sparkling Water Benefits Your Waistline

This refreshing beverage can make clean eating easier and help you lose those pesky pounds. Those fizzy bubbles increase satiety, which in turn, may reduce the chances of overeating.

In a clinical trial, healthy young women who drank carbonated water reported greater satiety than those consuming regular water or no water at all. The results were published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology in February 2012. This study was small, though, so more research is needed to confirm any appetite-suppressing effects of sparkling water.

Like regular water, this drink keeps you hydrated. According to a June 2016 mini-review featured in Frontiers in Nutrition, adequate hydration promotes weight loss through several mechanisms:

  • Stimulates fat breakdown (lipolysis)
  • Elevates metabolic rate
  • Has thermogenic properties, increasing calorie burn
  • Regulates adipocyte (fat cell) metabolism

Additionally, water is a calorie-free alternative to soda, fruit juices and other sugary drinks. One can of cola, for example, has 155 calories. If you drink two cans a day, that's 310 calories or 2,170 calories a week. Seltzer water — and carbonated water in general — has zero calories.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

You might have heard that carbonated water depletes calcium from the bones and damages the teeth. The truth is, these are just myths.

According to the American Dental Association, sparkling water has the same impact on your teeth as plain water. Although it's slightly more acidic, it doesn't affect the enamel. Be aware, though, that citrus-flavored varieties and just about any type of water with added sugar can hurt your teeth and lead to cavities.

Contrary to popular belief, sparkling water also doesn't affect bone health, state the experts at Harvard Health Publishing. There is no relationship between carbonated water consumption and fractures, osteoporosis or other bone disorders. Cola and sugary drinks, on the other hand, may affect bone density.

As you see, there are no disadvantages to sparkling water. The only downside is that you may feel bloated after drinking a cup or two. Ideally, consume natural mineral water as it contains chloride, magnesium, sulfate and other trace elements that promote digestive health, according to the review published in Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism.

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