Although Americans commonly consume carbonated beverages, such as soda water, some people worry that these beverages may increase the risk for health problems including kidney disease and osteoporosis. Although this may be the case for some carbonated beverages, research suggests that carbonated soda water is a safe alternative to non-carbonated water.
Soda water is simply water with carbon dioxide gas added to it which is then sealed in an airtight container. As the gas exits the liquid, pressure builds at the top of the container, preventing the carbon dioxide from escaping the liquid. When the container is opened, the gas escapes, which is evidenced by the bubbles that rise to the surface. The "whoosh" you hear when opening a bottle of carbonated soda water is the sound of the pressurized gas escaping from the bottle. If left unopened long enough, all the carbon dioxide will leave, and the water will go flat.
A study published in the "Journal of Oral Rehabilitation" in August 2001 attempted to find a link between carbonated mineral water and dental erosion. The study concluded that mineral water was only slightly more likely than still water to cause erosion. However, it was a lot less likely to cause erosion than conventional sweetened soda, perhaps due to the minerals found in the water.
The potential link between carbonation and kidney stones was investigated in a study published in July 2007 in "Epidemiology," which found that drinking regular and artificially-sweetened cola can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease but not other types of carbonated beverages like soda water. The phosphoric acid in cola, not the carbonation, appears to be responsible for its potential to increase kidney problems.
The fear that carbonation may leach calcium from your body and contribute to health problems like osteoporosis also seems to be unfounded. A 2006 article in the newspaper "The Guardian" cites two separate studies indicating no relationship between carbonation and calcium loss. In the first study, Spanish women who drank carbonated water over a two-month period were found to have normal bone density at the end of this period. The second study found that a group of people in Omaha, Nebraska experienced no increase in the amount of calcium lost through their urine after being given carbonated drinks.
- Journal of Oral Rehabilitation: Investigation of Mineral Waters and Soft Drinks in Relation to Dental Erosion
- Epidemiology: Carbonated Beverages and Chronic Kidney Disease
- The Guardian: The Sceptic - Is Fizzy Water Bad for You?
- Eating Well: Can Drinking Seltzers, Sodas and Other Carbonated Drinks Harm Bones?