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Is sparkling water good for you?

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We all know it’s important to stay hydrated, but drinking still water can be unappealing, so is sparkling water just as good? We asked registered nutritionist Kerry Torrens

What is sparkling water?

Vital for life and yet calorie-free, water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen (H2O). Sparkling varieties have often been infused with carbon dioxide to create bubbles and make them fizzy.

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Nutritional profile

The flavour and composition of a glass of sparkling water varies depending on its source, method of carbonation and whether additives like sugar, sweetener, salt or flavourings have been used.

Woman pouring sparkling water into glass at restaurant

What types of sparkling water are there?

• Sparkling mineral water is naturally carbonated at source, although some producers add more carbon dioxide to make their product fizzier. Typically derived from underground springs, this water is also a source of minerals, like calcium and magnesium.

• Regular sparkling water lacks these minerals and the bubbles are created by infusing carbon dioxide into the water through a combination of high pressure and a low temperature - this allows carbon to dissolve in the water. When the temperature is raised and the pressure reduced, the carbon dioxide escapes, creating bubbles.

Is sparkling water a healthy choice?

Water contributes to health and a daily intake of approximately 6-8 glasses is recommended, although individual needs may vary. Mineral water may have additional benefits thanks to the minerals it contains and how easy these are for us to absorb.

In theory, carbonation makes sparkling water more acidic, giving it the potential to erode tooth enamel, however, you would need to consume significant amounts for this to be a problem. Studies also suggest that, when compared with fizzy soft drinks, sparkling water, and especially mineral water, is a much a healthier choice.

Another myth suggests that carbonated drinks weaken bones, again this is not relevant for sparkling water.

There’s no evidence to suggest that sparkling water, that is free of additives like sugar or salt, is bad for our health. Although, if you purchase water in plastic bottles you should be aware that these bottles may contain plasticisers, which may be released into the water if the bottle is stored in sunlight or at high temperatures. These include compounds that have oestrogenic effects as well as carcinogens.

Is sparkling water safe for everyone?

The answer to this is yes, although if you have a sensitive digestion or experience burping, bloating or heartburn, you may be better off choosing still water. That said, even this is under debate with a 2002 study suggesting carbonated water alleviated symptoms of dyspepsia and constipation.

How do you like your water – fizzy, still, flavoured? Share your thoughts in the comments below….

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By Registered Nutritionist Kerry Torrens

20 June 2022

Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a Registered Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food. Find her on Instagram at @kerry_torrens_nutrition_

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All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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