How Much Sparkling Water Is Too Much?

Sparkling water and water are not the same thing

La Croix makes fruit-scented seltzer look glamorous. Pepsi’s new Bubly has fans raving. But is your sparkling water habit as healthy as it looks? Well, that depends on how much you’re drinking.

Sip a sparkling glass or two and you’re completely fine — the drink is all-natural, zero-calorie, and ultimately hydrating. But if you’re guzzling can after can at your desk, it could be time to slow down.

For one, carbonation can cause some serious bloating and gas. How much exactly of the fizzy beverage you can drink before you instigate this painful reaction varies from person to person. If you’re constantly feeling bloated and uncomfortable, that’s a good indicator that it’s time to set down the can.

Other than that (and the likelihood you’ll be sprinting to the bathroom) drinking too many cups of sparkling water has its drawbacks for your health. The ingredient that makes bubbly water so, well, bubbly is carbonic acid.

Carbonic acid has been shown to decay tooth enamel over time, which can result in cavities, cracks, and other undesirable damage to your teeth.

The flavors with the most potential for damage are those flavored with citrus or other acidic fruits. But you’d have to drink these beverages in excess over a long period to really be at risk of any chronic tooth decay.

Still, if you want to preserve your smile, watching your seltzer habit and avoiding these other foods dentists avoid is a good place to start. According to the results of a study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, sparkling water and seltzers should be recognized “as potentially acidic drinks rather than water with flavoring.” Sip at your own risk.

Plus, your “guilt-free” sparkling water addiction isn’t so benign for your budget. A 12-pack of La Croix, for example, costs anywhere from $4 to $8. That’s approximately $0.50 per can. If you’re drinking three or more a day, you’re on the brink of spending over $40 a month on sparkling water alone.

So you might want to warn your friendly office seltzer addict — enough is enough. If you’re annoyed enough to grow tired of hearing that familiar crack of a can day after day, there’s reason to be concerned.

The good news is that seltzer is still a better choice than soda. It’s far less acidic and contains fewer sugars, chemicals, and artificial sweeteners. It’s also better for you than most other zero-calorie drinks filled with flavorings and chemicals.

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