One of the best things you can do for your health on a daily basis is to drink enough fluids. But plain, old water can be boring. Many people turn to carbonated water to beat the boredom, and as long as it doesn't have any additives, it's a perfectly safe replacement.
Plain soda water, without sodium, sugar or other additives, isn't bad for you.
Potential Problems With Soda Water
Soda water is simply plain water that has been injected with carbon dioxide, which forms tiny effervescent bubbles. It's important to make the distinction between soda water, also called carbonated water or sparkling water, and club soda.
Often used as a mixer for alcoholic drinks, club soda usually has added minerals, including potassium and sodium. Both are important for your health, but it's important to limit sodium in your diet. Some brands of club soda can have up to 100 milligrams of sodium per 12 ounces, according to the USDA. This is 7 percent of the 1,500 milligrams the American Heart Association says is an ideal daily limit for most adults, particularly those who have high blood pressure.
That amount doesn't seem like a lot, but most adults already consume too much sodium in their daily diets — over 3,400 milligrams per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020. If you drink several club sodas each day, that's going to add a lot of extra sodium to your diet. Too much sodium increases your blood pressure and can lead to the development of heart disease and stroke, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The other potential problem is if the soda water you choose is sweetened. Added sugar provides extra calories to your diet without contributing any nutrients. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the main source of added sugars in the American diet, and they are associated with being overweight and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney diseases, tooth decay and a type of arthritis called gout, according to the CDC.
Diet sodas with artificial sweeteners aren't good for you, either. Many people experience gastrointestinal upset when they drink a lot of diet soda. The Wisconsin Dental Association reports that not only do sugar-sweetened beverages cause tooth decay; diet sodas also contain acids that can attack enamel.
Read more: The Top 10 Worst Soft Drinks For Your Health
Carbonated Water Benefits
If you make the right choice and avoid sodium, sugar, artificial sweeteners and other additives — in other words, drink plain, carbonated water — you stand to gain all the benefits of staying hydrated.
Your body is comprised of more than 60 percent water, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Water makes up saliva and fluids around joints, both of which act as lubricants. Water regulates body temperature via perspiration, and it helps food move through your digestive system to prevent constipation.
Dehydration can have many negative effects on your health, well-being and productivity. Fatigue is a primary symptom of dehydration, and it can make you feel run down and lethargic. Other symptoms include dry mouth, dry skin and dizziness.
These symptoms can occur with only mild dehydration. According to a November 2013 research review published in ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal, losses of just 1 to 2 percent of body water can impair cognitive performance.
Getting Your H2O
Soda water is a great addition to other sources of hydration in your diet, including water, unsweetened tea and coffee, low-fat milk and plant milks, low-sodium soups and water-rich fruits and vegetables. As with your diet, variety is key.
Whether your water is flat or sparkling, you can liven it up with flavors from fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds a familiar tang, but don't stop there. Try putting some fresh raspberries or apple slices in your water. Cucumber and mint or fresh ginger also make water more interesting, which will encourage you to drink more and prevent dehydration.
According to the Mayo Clinic, men need 15.5 cups of water each day, and women need 11.5 cups of water daily. About 20 percent of that comes from food, and the rest comes from the beverages you consume.
- USDA: "Club Soda"
- American Heart Association: "Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure"
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Get the Facts: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Consumption"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Most Americans Should Consume Less Sodium"
- Wisconsin Dental Association: "Sip All Day, Get Decay"
- ACSM's Health and Fitness Journal: "The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance"
- Mayo Clinic: "Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Water in Diet"