Are all fizzy waters bad for you?
Some of us just can’t resist bubbles, even if health and fitness magazines, diet planners and ‘bringing up baby’ manuals are full of ‘fizzy is bad’ warnings. The latest slur on bubbles comes in the shape of carbonated water, but can it really be that all fizzy waters are bad for you? Whilst drinking those 8 glasses of water a day is child’s play for some people, it’s incredibly difficult for others. Does drinking carbonated water contribute to our optimum daily water intake, or does it come up as a big fat zero?
Let’s take a look at the alleged adverse effects of drinking carbonated waters, as reported by the media:-
- carbonation increases calcium loss in bones
- causes tooth decay
- causes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- can make you gain weight even without added calories
Whilst many of these claims have since been refuted let’s look at the difference between sparkling, tonic and soda water and if there is indeed wood fuelling the fire?
Sparkling water is made by adding pressurised carbon dioxide gas to plain water and if served without additional flavourings or sugars it remains calorie free. This means that there can be no tooth decay or possible weight gain, and can in fact create quite the opposite effect. By drinking a glass of sparkling water before a meal, you will feel fuller and satisfied quicker, subsequently eating less.
The contentious subject here is the effects it can have on IBS sufferers. While sparkling water won’t cause IBS, the carbonated water may cause gas and bloating which can lead to painful IBS flare-up.
That carbonation is a cause of increased calcium loss in bones is not proven in any scientific research, anywhere.
Most famously regarded as the partner to Gin, Tonic water, is made from sparkling water with Quinine added. Which according to reports was “originally used as malaria medicine, and is actually flourescent”. As well as Quinine, the added sugars and fruit extracts bring it as high on the sugar scale as that biggest of all sinners, Cola.
So unlike sparkling water, Tonic waters’ added calorific content could be a factor towards weight gain and the acids and sugars can also cause enamel erosion, leading to tooth decay.
Many people still confuse soda water with sparkling water but apart from the fizz they are very different indeed. Including carbon dioxide, Soda water contains low levels of:
- table salt
- sodium citrate
- sodium bicarbonate
- potassium bicarbonate
- potassium sulphate or disodium phosphate
Unlike Tonic water, however, there are no sugars in soda water, so weight gain and tooth decay are highly unlikely.
To sum up, when opting for a fizzy glass of something it’s a good idea to take a look at the ingredients. Some flavoured sparkling waters can be packed full of citric acid, caffeine and sweeteners, which leave them very much hovering on the lower end of the healthy spectrum.
If however, you really do struggle with water, flavoured or otherwise, then opt for sparkling filtered water and in a future post we shall show you how you can carbonate water without specialised equipment.