Does Carbonated Water Prevent the Body From Burning Fat?

Oxygen bubbles.
Bubbles in a glass of carbonated water. (Image: Vladimir Arndt/iStock/Getty Images)

Carbonated water has often been a subject of the ongoing debate about its ability to impede the fat burning process. The carbonation found in fizzy beverages is carbon dioxide or CO2, that is added synthetically during the manufacturing process. This added carbonation may taste good, but it is often made out to be the villain in our war against fat.

Fat Burning and Carbonation

Carbonated water does not impede the body's ability to burn fat effectively. Fat is stored in the form of triglycerides inside the fat cell. These triglycerides are broken off and turned into the fuel for our body known as adenosine triphosphate or ATP, and then used in the cell for energy production. The carbon dioxide contained in the carbonated water does not reach the cellular level to be able to interfere with the fat burning process.

The Fate of Carbon Dioxide in Carbonated Water

When we ingest carbonated water, our stomach fills up a with combination of water and tiny bubbles that are released from the water to expel the carbon dioxide gas that has been added. This means in our stomach, we experience a buildup of gas that is pushed out of the body up through the esophagus or through the lower digestive tract. The gas will exit the body and not be absorbed into the blood stream.

Inability to Reach The Fat Cells

All of the nutrients we ingest are absorbed through our intestinal tract. In the intestines, there are physical barriers called the villi and micrcovilli, which select the nutrients and elements that will enter our circulatory system and ultimately our cells. This barrier is physically unable to allow carbon dioxide through due to the inability for our body to recognize carbon dioxide as an essential nutrient. There is no transport mechanism to allow carbon dioxide to reach the fat that is being burned.

The Origin of This Theory

The theory of the inhibition of fat burning through the consumption of carbonated water has its roots in photosynthesis. Plants have the ability to turn carbon dioxide and water into glucose with the aid of sunlight. High levels of glucose in the bloodstream trigger the release of insulin, which increases the storage of fat and inhibits the burning of fat. We do not have the ability to photosynthesize and create glucose from carbon dioxide like plants do, which disproves this theory entirely.

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