It's no secret that soda, even the sugar-free kind, is hazardous to your health. So like any health-conscious consumer, you might be thinking that it's time to replace your favorite soft drink with carbonated water. But you may be wondering: Will carbonated water cause bloating? And is it any better than your favorite sweet soda?
Well, when it comes to meeting your daily fluid needs, carbonated water makes a much better choice than your high-calorie, nutritionally devoid soft drink. However, you may experience some unpleasant side effects from the carbonation in your fizzy water, and there's some preliminary evidence that it may not support your weight-loss efforts.
So Many Choices
You would think it would be fairly easy to find a fizzy water drink to replace your soda. But after a walk down the drink aisle of your grocery store, you'll see that the beverage companies have caught wind of your desire to make better choices, and they offer many carbonated water options for you. You may wonder what the difference is between all the water-based drinks.
- Seltzer water: plain water with added carbonation
- Club soda: plain water with added carbonation and minerals, like sodium bicarbonate
- Mineral water: spring water with naturally occurring minerals and carbonation
Due to the added minerals, club soda is a source of sodium — as much as 94 milligrams per 16 ounces — so you're better off with seltzer water. You also have many flavored carbonated waters, such as La Croix, which, according to its website, is a sodium-free carbonated water with added natural flavorings.
Read more: Is Carbonated Water Bad for You?
Will Carbonated Water Cause Bloating?
By its very definition, bloating develops when your gastrointestinal tract is filled with air or gas. Those fizzy bubbles in your carbonated water are an added gas. So if you're still asking: Will carbonated water cause bloating? The answer is yes.
In addition to making your jeans feel a little too tight in the waist, your bloating may also cause abdominal pain and gas. So after guzzling down your La Croix, stomach pain may not be too far behind. The only way to feel any relief from your stomach pain may be to belch or pass gas, another unfortunate side effect of your carbonated water.
Read more: What are the Benefits of Carbonated Water?
Fizzy Water Makes You Hungry
Making the switch from sugary soda to carbonated water seems like a no-brainer when you're trying to slim down or at least maintain your weight. But carbonated water may not be very "diet" friendly, according to a small 2017 animal study published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.
This study compared the effects of carbonated water versus still water on ghrelin production, also known as the hunger hormone, in a group of rats. The researchers found that the rats given only the carbonated water had elevated levels of ghrelin and gained weight at a faster rate than the rats given only the still water.
Now, before you go and dump all of your seltzer water down the sink, this was a small animal study, and clinical human trials need to be conducted before you can conclude that drinking carbonated water causes you to overeat.
Carbonated Water and Joint Pain
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, according to the Arthritis Foundation. When you suffer from debilitating joint pain, you may be looking for any remedy to provide relief. But there doesn't seem to be any evidence linking carbonated water and joint pain.
You may have heard that carbonated beverages affect your ability to absorb calcium, which may be why you're thinking there may be a connection between carbonated water and joint pain — but even that rumor isn't true, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
If your La Croix stomach pain is making you think twice about how carbonated water can fit into your eating plan, then you may want to consider other healthy drink options, such as:
- Fruit-infused water
- Homemade lemonade
- Freshly brewed iced tea
Of course, the best beverage of all is plain water. But if you find your plain water too boring, be sure to use lots of ice and add flavor with a squirt of lemon or lime juice.
- La Croix Water: Nutritional Facts
- TheKitchn: What’s the Difference Between Club Soda, Seltzer, and Sparkling Mineral Water?
- FamilyDoctor.org: Bloating
- Obesity Research & Clinical Practice: Carbon Dioxide in Carbonated Beverages Induces Ghrelin Release and Increased Food Consumption in Male Rats: Implications on the Onset of Obesity
- MyFoodData: Carbonated Water, Club Soda
- Arthritis Foundation: Arthritis Facts
- Harvard Health Publishing: By the Way Doctor: Does Carbonated Water Harm Bones?