Many factors affect your weight, including genetics and lifestyle. As a result, there's no one key to weight loss. But eating a balanced diet can help, and hydration is an important piece of that puzzle. But how should you hydrate, exactly — for instance, is sparkling water good for weight loss?
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These beverages — like sparkling waters and seltzers — typically don't contain added sugars, and thus aren't much different from still water, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But does sparkling water help you lose weight, or is it best to avoid seltzers on your weight-loss journey? Here are the potential effects of sparkling water when it comes to weight loss.
1. It Hydrates You
If tap water isn't your preference, carbonated water can still effectively quench your thirst.
Indeed, one of the benefits of sparkling water for weight loss is that it hydrates people just as effectively as regular water, according to a March 2016 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
And the better hydrated you are, the better your body is able to function. That includes functions like burning fat and good digestion, both of which can contribute to your weight-loss efforts, according to Johns Hopkins University.
How Much Sparkling Water Is Too Much?
There's no straightforward answer: Instead, listen to your body. For some, drinking carbonated water can cause side effects like gas, bloating, burping and stomach pain, per the Cleveland Clinic. If that happens to you, either scale back your fizzy drinks or opt for still water instead.
If you're drinking a lot of water (sparkling or otherwise), it's also important to make sure you're getting enough electrolytes through other drinks or food. Too much water alone can throw off your salt balance and lead to hyponatremia, a condition that causes issues like nausea, headaches and confusion, per the Mayo Clinic.
2. It's Filling
A 2012 study in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology found that drinking carbonated water on an empty stomach is more filling than drinking plain water.
The study's authors suggest this may be because carbonated water increases gastric activity as well as heart rate — both of which can contribute to feelings of fullness. In other words, sparkling water does suppress hunger to a certain extent.
And although its ability to make you feel full is relatively short-term, the benefits of carbonated water are clear: It may satiate you up enough to help you avoid unplanned snacking.
Drinking plain water before eating can also help you feel full (though not as full as sparkling water) and reduce the amount of calories you eat during the following meal, according to a September 2015 study in Obesity.
3. It's a Good Alternative to Soft Drinks
If soft drinks are a mainstay in your daily hydration routine, swapping them for carbonated water could help you cut back on extra calories that may contribute to weight gain. These extra calories come from the added sugars, artificial flavoring and syrups in sodas and soft drinks, according to CDC. Some also contain other additives like caffeine or preservatives.
An October 2016 study in Nutrients found that replacing one serving of beer or soda with one serving of water may aid in weight loss and reduce obesity risk. As the scientists note, both alcoholic beverages and sugar-sweetened beverages contain calories that have little or no nutritional value.
Similarly, an August 2017 review in Nutrients found that people assigned female at birth with overweight and obesity who replaced one daily serving of diet beverages with water lost more weight while on a diet. Their insulin sensitivity improved, too.
Does Sparkling Water Have Calories?
It depends. Some seltzers and carbonated waters don't contain any calories, while others are low-calorie due to added flavoring, according to the CDC.
Still, the amount of calories in most sparkling water is negligible and, as a result, carbonated water alone doesn't cause weight gain.
4. It May Contribute to Sustainable Hydration Habits
There's no doubt that drinking water — whether carbonated or plain — can support weight loss efforts, according to Johns Hopkins University.
But making the most of this habit means it has to be sustainable for you, and if that means drinking more sparkling water than still on your journey to lose weight, that's OK.
Does Seltzer Make You Gain Weight?
There's no evidence to show that sparkling waters (like La Croix) make you gain weight. Instead, the hydrating effects of these no- or low-calorie beverages suggest that sparkling water is actually good for weight loss.
The takeaway: Whether you prefer carbonated or flat water, drinking plenty of water is a crucial part of any weight-loss plan and your overall wellbeing.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Use this equation to determine how much water you should drink every day:
Body weight (in pounds) ÷ 2 = minimum ounces of water you should drink per day.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Healthy Drinks"
- Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology: "The Effects of Carbonated Water Upon Gastric and Cardiac Activities and Fullness in Healthy Young Women"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Effects on Weight Loss in Adults of Replacing Diet Beverages With Water During a Hypoenergetic Diet – A Randomized, 24-wk Clinical Trial"
- Obesity: "Efficacy of Water Preloading Before Main Meals as a Strategy for Weight Loss in Primary Care Patients With Obesity"
- PLOS Blogs: "Drinking Water Before Meals Leads to Weight Loss"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "carbonated beverages"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Water and Healthier Drinks"
- Johns Hopkins University: "Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight"
- Nutrients: "Substitution Models of Water for Other Beverages, and the Incidence of Obesity and Weight Gain in the SUN Cohort"
- Nutrients: "Prevention and Therapy of Type 2 Diabetes—What Is the Potential of Daily Water Intake and Its Mineral Nutrients?"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Is Sparkling Water Good for You?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Weight-loss basics"
- Mayo Clinic: "Hyponatremia"