By Annette Pinder
We all know that sufficient hydration is essential for our health. This is especially important in warmer weather. Consuming water helps us eliminate waste, protects our body’s tissues, and helps maintain our energy levels. The USDA recommended daily fluid intake is nine eight-ounce cups of liquid a day for women and 13 eight-ounce cups a day for men. But is carbonated water as good for us as plain water?
According to the National Beverage Institute, carbonated water has increased significantly in popularity, as many view it as a healthier alternative to soda or alcoholic beverages. However, Kelly Kennedy RDN, in writing for EverydayHealth.com, notes that while hydration benefits are equal for both plain and fizzy water, some people can experience side effects from drinking too much carbonated water, such as bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort.
The good news is that sparking water, which is plain water plus carbonation (gas), is nearly identical to plain water, other than some sodium that may be added by some manufacturers for flavoring. According to the USDA, there are no calories, sugar, or any other harmful ingredients in sparkling water. While some brands do contain fruit juice, puree, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, they do not add a significant number of calories, and are equally hydrating.
While plain old water with carbonation in the form of added carbon dioxide is no different in terms of hydration than uncarbonated water, the USDA notes that club soda also contains potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate. Additionally, both club soda and sparking water contain more trace minerals than seltzer. However, club soda contains 75 mg of sodium, which is a small amount, but can add up if you drink a lot of it. For those concerned about the effect of carbonation on their teeth, the USDA says that sparkling water is also not a major source of enamel erosion when consumed in normal quantities.
We all know that a cold glass of sparkling water on a hot day can be incredibly refreshing. It is also less boring than plain water. Adding fresh berries, citrus, or mint helps with additional flavor as well as nutrition. For example, the juice of one lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C. Stirring in and then eating just 10 raspberries provides 1.2 g of fiber. More importantly, no matter how you enjoy your sparkling water, it will help you meet your hydration goals. According to the USDA, it is best to choose a brand that doesn’t contain any added sugars or sweeteners.
It is also important to know that neither sparkling water nor club soda are the same as tonic water. Tonic water is primarily used for alcoholic drink mixers. Although tonic water is both clear and carbonated, it is made with quinine, which contains about 120 calories per 12-ounces, primarily from added sugars.
So, the bottom line is that sparkling water is a great addition to your diet and fluid intake. It is free from calories and sugar and as hydrating as still water. Thus, the USDA says choosing seltzer, sparkling water, club soda, and sparkling mineral water are all excellent choices for staying hydrated.