Water is a crucial part of our lives and we are well familiar with its health benefits too. Traditionally, people have consumed still water or normal water, which is devoid of any bubbles or fizz. However, in recent years, sparkling water has gained immense popularity due to its effervescence and a variety of enticing flavours. Sparkling water, also known as carbonated water or soda water, is infused with carbon dioxide gas to create bubbles. Let’s take a look at the benefits and side effects of sparkling water and end the debate of sparkling water vs still water.
Benefits of sparkling water
Health Shots reached out to Dr Kalpana Gupta, Clinical Nutritionist, Nutrition And Dietetics, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, to understand the benefits of sparkling water. Let us tell you what we learnt!
1. Sparkling water can give you a refreshing palate experience
Sparkling water tantalizes the taste buds, providing a delightful and refreshing experience on the palate. The bubbles add a unique sensation that sets it apart from the flat taste of still water.
2. Health-friendly alternative
For those looking to reduce their intake of sugary soft drinks, sparkling water comes as a health-friendly alternative. It offers the same bubbly excitement without the excessive sugars, calories, or artificial additives found in most sodas.
3. Hydration and relaxation
Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health, and sparkling water offers a wide array of flavours to keep hydration interesting. The experience of sipping on a flavored bubbly drink can be calming and help individuals relax during stressful times.
4. Enhanced swallowing ability
Some individuals find plain water unappealing, which might lead to inadequate fluid intake. Sparkling water’s fizz and added flavours can make it more enticing, encouraging people to consume more fluids. Moreover, the carbonation can assist in improving swallowing ability, particularly in individuals with certain medical conditions.
5. Satiety and weight management
The bubbles in sparkling water create a feeling of fullness, which can help curb appetite and aid in weight management efforts. Since sparkling water contains zero calories, it provides a guilt-free option to satisfy thirst and cravings.
Side effects of sparkling water
Sparkling water is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation. It does not pose significant health risks and can be a healthier alternative to sugary soft drinks or other beverages high in calories and additives. However, there are a few potential concerns to keep in mind:
1. Dental health
Carbonated water is mildly acidic due to the dissolved carbon dioxide, which can weaken tooth enamel over time. While it is not as acidic as sugary sodas, frequent consumption of sparkling water, especially flavored varieties, may contribute to dental erosion. To mitigate this, it’s advisable to drink sparkling water in moderation and rinse your mouth with plain water afterward.
Also read: 5 ways in which drinking water can improve your dental health
2. Gas and bloating
Excessive consumption of sparkling water can lead to gas and bloating due to the carbon dioxide present in the beverage. “The bubbles can accumulate in the digestive system, causing discomfort and distension,” says Dr Gupta.
3. Non-caloric sweeteners
Some flavoured sparkling waters contain artificial sweeteners or natural sweeteners like stevia to enhance taste without adding calories. Dr Gupta explains that while these sweeteners are generally regarded as safe, some individuals may experience digestive issues or other sensitivities to these additives.
4. Sodium content
Sparkling water, especially those with added flavours, may contain sodium, which can contribute to increased daily sodium intake if consumed excessively. Individuals with hypertension or sodium-sensitive conditions should be cautious about their sodium consumption.
Sparkling water vs still water: Which is better?
The choice between sparkling water and still water ultimately depends on personal preferences and health considerations. For those who enjoy a bubbly and flavourful experience without the added sugars and calories of soft drinks, sparkling water can be an excellent choice. It can also be a helpful tool for individuals who struggle to consume enough plain water.
However, if you are sensitive to bloating or have a medical condition that restricts carbonation or sodium intake, still water is a safer option. Still water remains the purest form of hydration, free from any additives, and is readily available for quenching thirst.
As with any dietary choice, moderation is key. Enjoy sparkling water in moderation, while still water should be your go-to for simple and essential hydration. It is better to consider sparkling water to be a healthier alternative to soft drinks instead of making it an alternative of water.