Is sparkling water as healthy as ordinary water?

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When it comes to the nutritional benefits or the potential dangers of sparkling water, rumours abound. Does sparkling water erode your teeth? Or your bones? Is it as hydrating as ordinary tap water?

Although there is not much research on the subject as of yet, studies suggest that yes, sparkling water hydrates you just as well as still water. At the end of the day, sparkling water is simply ordinary water infused with carbon dioxide. On the other hand, if it is consumed too quickly, the air bubbles can make you feel like you have already taken in enough water, by filling the stomach. This could potentially have an impact on the quantity of water you drink. But what about the claim that sparkling water is more likely to erode your teeth and bone calcium?

No scientific study to date has shown that drinking sparkling water has an effect on your calcium levels. On the other hand, it could essentially mildly erode the enamel on your teeth -the hard exterior surface of your teeth. This is due to carbonic acid, a by-product of the water and carbon dioxide which gives sparkling water its lively and mildly acidic taste. Studies have shown that carbonic acid can in fact have a mildly erosive effect on the teeth if sparkling water is consumed regularly, over a long period of time. Sparkling water however is less erosive than flavoured fizzy drinks (e.g., lemon, lime or grapefruit), which contain higher levels of carbonic acid.

The acids in unsweetened fizzy drinks however remain very weak. As a point of comparison, regularly drinking sodas leads to around 100 times more damage to the teeth than a simple sparkling water. Simply watch out for the levels of salt, which can sometimes be too high. And this precaution is for health reasons more so than in terms of taste: drinking water that is too rich in sodium can be dangerous if you suffer from water retention, high blood pressure, cardiac or kidney problems.

And finally, no, sparkling water will not make you put on weight. The water simply takes up a lot of space, creating a feeling of fullness, but nothing more. Your body will very easily evacuate it.