We All Need to Stop Drinking So Much Sparkling Water

Zero calories, zero added sugars, and zero chemicals don’t necessarily mean zero consequences

Are the bubbles as harmless as they seem?

I hate to break it to you all, but it’s not the same as water. It’s just not.

Many an American has fallen victim to the seductive promise of sparkling waters, seltzers, fizzy drinks, or whatever you’d like to call them. Thinking they are equivalent to nature’s healthiest beverage, water, we guzzle the carbonated cans day after day, taking in portion after portion of CO2-infused goodness without pause.

The carbonation is actually to blame for some potentially serious health effects. Here’s why you might want to take it easy on the La Croix and Polar Seltzer.

Acid reflux is painful — seriously
If you’ve never experienced the sting of a bad case of heartburn, consider yourself lucky. The pain is no joke — and the carbonation of fizzy drinks has the potential to make it worse. While sparkling waters and seltzer do save you from the negative effects of added sugars and chemicals in soda, they don’t save you the stomach stress from ingesting a bubbly beverage. Carbonation from any type of drink can induce heartburn by putting stress on the lower esophageal sphincter. Ouch!

“Natural flavors”
Yeah, turns out they’re not so natural. Almost all sparkling waters and fruity-flavored seltzers are spiked with “natural flavors,” an ambiguous ingredient label that’s actually highly inaccurate. With all the uncertainty around whether or not these substances are really benign for our health or not, it might be better just to abstain completely.

They can be really acidic
All carbonated drinks contain carbonic acid — and yes, that is a real acid. Meaning all carbonated water is inherently acidic. A diet of high acidity (characterized by a low pH level) has been shown to disrupt digestion and mess with your body’s organ functioning, which is why diets promoting higher pH (such as the alkaline diet) are becoming so popular.

They cause some serious bloating — and gas
This one really shouldn’t come as a surprise. I mean, you’re putting gas into your stomach. What did you think would happen? Spare your clothing from stretching at the waist and the person at the desk beside yours from the embarrassing odor: Just quit it.

They contain hidden sodium
We all know that too much sodium can be of detriment to your health: But did you know carbonated drinks are sneaking sodium into their bottles? Plain seltzer doesn’t contain any sodium, but club soda, artificially sweetened drinks, and artificial colorings do. Watch out for these and always read your labels.

You want to protect your teeth
All carbonated beverages are spiked with carbonic acid, the substance that makes the drink so fizzy. Carbonic acid has been shown to decay tooth enamel over time, which can result in cavities, cracks, and other undesirable damage to your teeth.


These 20 zero-calorie drinks are probably safest to avoid, too.