The human body needs water for a number of reasons. We need water for not only vital functions like digestion, temperature regulation, and blood pressure, but a lack of adequate water intake can lead to a multitude of health concerns. Water makes up about 60% of the body weight of an average adult. There are many ways to ingest water including from the foods we eat. Drinking plain water can get boring and with options like soda and fruit juices, it’s hard to get enough. Carbonated water, also known as seltzer, is a great alternative for soda drinkers to drink more water. But is seltzer just as healthy as plain “still” water?
Seltzer is water that is infused with carbon dioxide, giving seltzer and soda their signature fizz. The carbonation in seltzer water causes it to be slightly acidic, around 5 or 6 on the pH scale. Plain water has a pH of 7, making it neutral (neither basic or acidic). Most soda has a pH as high as 2.5, making it acidic. Acidic drinks can sometimes soften tooth enamel, especially if they contain citrus fruits. Seltzer is a better choice than soda because it does not contain sugar and is less acidic.
Besides having no sugar and a low acidity, seltzer water can also help you with your diet. The carbonation in seltzer can help you feel more full. This can be beneficial to help control portion sizes and help you lose weight. However, drinking too much seltzer water can cause some gastrointestinal discomfort, especially if you have a preexisting condition.
It's important to note that there are many different types of seltzer water, each with its own benefits. Plain seltzer water is just water infused with carbonation. Mineral water comes from natural springs and contains minerals. Club soda, on the other hand, is seltzer water with added minerals. That means it's not from a natural spring and is essentially “artificial” mineral water. Lastly, tonic water is really in a class of its own. Tonic water is carbonated water infused with quinine, a bitter tasting alkaloid extracted from the bark of a cinchona tree. Tonic water is the only seltzer water that generally does contain calories. Mineral water, club soda, and plain seltzer water generally have ZERO calories!
Plain water is almost always the best choice but if you want to change it up or try something new, try seltzer water! You should always consult your doctor or nutritionist before making a drastic change in eating habits. If you are looking for a healthier choice with less calories and sugar, or if you’re looking for a less acidic drink that won’t wear on your tooth enamel as much as soda, try seltzer water.
Blog post by Nikki Courtney.