Carbonated water or sparkling water is a great alternative for those who don’t like the taste of still water, yet they want to avoid sugary drinks and stick to the healthy option when it comes to hydration. Carbonated water is created by dissolving carbon dioxide gas under pressure. This process does not add sugar, calories, or caffeine, just bubbles. Even so, how bad is carbonated water for you? Or is sparkling water bad for your health at all?

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Carbonated water is often associated with sugary sodas, which may explain some of the common health concerns that people seem to have with respect to drinking carbonated water.

People often think that drinking still water is healthier than drinking sparkling water because sparkling water is considered bad for your stomach, teeth, and bones. However, studies seem to contradict these beliefs.

In the process of creating sparkling water a weak acid is created, carbonic acid, which many consider to have a harmful effect on their stomach. Gulping down sparkling water can make you feel bloated, give you hiccups, but it will not damage your stomach. In fact, studies suggest that the fact that you feel bloated from sparkling water may prove to be a good thing. The sensation of fullness conferred by fizzy water can help you to avoid overeating.

Another concern associated with drinking carbonated water is that carbonated water can erode the enamel of your teeth. Unlike sugary fizzy drinks, carbonated water does not rank among the highly acidic drinks that are harmful for your teeth. In fact, studies suggest that carbonated water is only 1% as acidic as cola-flavoured fizzy drinks. A study from 2006 found that women who drank sugary fizzy drinks three times per week had a lower bone mineral density in their hip bones. Perhaps the confusion around carbonated water causing bone problems can be traced back to this study.

Some people with a pre-condition such as irritable bowel syndrome can experience negative effects after drinking sparkling water. But apart from bloating, gas and the sensation of fullness, carbonated water does not have a detrimental effect on the health of your bones, stomach or teeth.

In terms of hydration, carbonated water is just as hydrating as still water. However, some nutritionists recommend drinking still water during workouts as carbonated water can make you feel full, and can cause you to drink less water to make up for lost fluids.

Because sparkling water is popular with many people who dislike the taste of still water, water coolers such as the Borg and Overström DC798HS Elite Floor-standing Water Cooler can dispense sparkling water as well. Similarly, there are sparkling water machines such as the Zerica Tivoli Top 32 SS that are able to dispense both chilled and sparkling water. With the help of these water chiller systems, you can have cooled sparkling water at the touch of a button.

So if you’re into the refreshing bubbly goodness of sparkling water, next time you’re asked whether you would like “still or sparkling”, you can dare to say sparkling!