Is seltzer water as healthy as flat water?

Is seltzer water as healthy as flat water?

I drink a lot of unsweetened seltzer. Does it have the same health benefits as drinking regular water?

There’s still water and then what my 4-year-old calls “spicy water,” better known as seltzer or sparkling water. Crunchy, bubbly and sparkling, carbonated water has become a daily ritual for many people and a growing segment of the beverage industry, with annual sales now topping $4 billion in the United States.

For those who crave it, carbonated water offers a sensory experience that flat water can’t: There’s a satisfying snap as soon as you pull the tab back onto the can. The sound of the fizz as you open the bottle cap to pour yourself a glass. The sensation of tension as the drink hits your tongue, sometimes accompanied by a hint of “natural” taste.

Still water is great for hydration, “but you’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t like the taste and aren’t inclined to drink it,” said Anne Ling, a registered dietitian-nutritionist at the University of Washington Medical Center. said. Seattle. “Adding carbonation can make it more approachable.”

More acceptable, perhaps, but equally healthy?

Nutritionists agree that carbonated water (a category that includes seltzer water, which is artificially carbonated, and naturally sparkling water) is just as hydrating as regular water, although with the addition of fluoride to tap water. Contains benefits, which help prevent tooth decay.

“If you are using fluoridated water for brushing your teeth, cooking and some of your hydration, you can also add sparkling water to your diet,” Ms. Ling said.

But keep in mind that carbonated water is more acidic than flat water in our mouth.

The bubbly water contains carbon dioxide, which, when combined with saliva, turns into carbonic acid, which lowers the pH level of your mouth. The pH scale indicates whether a solution is more acidic (lower pH) or alkaline (higher pH). Low pH drinks can be corrosive to teeth, making them more vulnerable to cavities; However, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, carbonated water with no added sugar is not as corrosive as soda or fruit juice.

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Some carbonated water brands include ingredients such as citric acid for flavor, which can increase acidity levels. Adding your own slices of lemon or lime will have a similar effect. And because the ingredient list will often say “natural flavor,” it’s hard to know exactly what was added.

Still, “similar to what we see with fruit juice or soda, it would take enough consumed throughout the day to have harmful effects,” said Dr. Brittany Seymour, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Spokesperson of the American Dental Association.

Bottom Line: Because carbonated water still has the potential to cause corrosion, think of it as a once-a-day treatment rather than as your main source of water, Dr. Seymour said.

“If you want to have two or three sparkling waters a day, maybe pair them with meals,” she said.

When you eat, your mouth produces extra saliva, which can help neutralize the acid on the surface of your teeth.

If you prefer to drink it alone, without a meal – Dr. Seymour usually drinks unsweetened seltzer while cooking dinner – use a straw to help the water bypass your teeth. In general, try not to sip it for more than an hour. Drinking carbonated water over a long period of time increases the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acidity.

If you love fizzy water and prefer to drink it several times a day without meals, consider brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste afterward to prevent tooth decay. Be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after your last drink, Dr. Seymour said.

Why? The acidity of carbonated water softens the enamel of your teeth. Taking a break gives your enamel a chance to re-mineralize and return to its normal hard state, which is the ideal surface for brushing because it can better tolerate friction, he adds.

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If you have kids who like to indulge in bubbly water, “I would normally say it’s fine,” says Dr. Seymour said. But, she added, “I don’t do it everyday with my daughter.” Ideally, parents should encourage their kids to drink stagnant, fluoridated water to prevent cavities, she said, and reserve sparkling water for special occasions.

Carbonated drinks can also contribute to gas and bloating, but the degree varies from person to person.

“When you swallow carbonation it has to come out somewhere, so you either expel it or it goes through flatulence,” said Courtney Schuchman, a registered dietitian at the University of Chicago Medicine who specializes in Gastrointestinal Health. is expert. “If you’re someone who already has problems with gas and bloating, this can cause more symptoms for you.”

Carbonation can also make acid reflux worse and have a “filling effect,” which can reduce your appetite by creating distention in your stomach, she said.

Regardless of what type of water you prefer, aim to drink half an ounce of your body weight each day, most of which is flat water, Ms. Schuchman said. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink about 75 ounces of water to stay hydrated.

Something else to keep in mind: Many people assume that club soda and seltzer water are interchangeable, although club soda usually contains sodium.

“For someone watching their blood pressure, that’s something to keep in mind,” Ms Schuchman said. “It depends on what the rest of your diet looks like and how much sodium is coming from other sources.”

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