Are carbonated drinks good for you?


Carbonated water is a popular trend in today’s market, offering an alternative to regular water with its bubbly and flavorful choices. It can also offer little to no calories, an appealing alternative when compared to regular sodas. But how does carbonated water actually compare to tap or bottled water when it comes to your health?  

What exactly is carbonated water? 

Carbonated water is water that has carbon dioxide gas added to it. It's created by applying pressure to regular water while its infused with carbon dioxide gas. 

Is carbonated water good for you? 

Carbonated water that solely contains water and carbon dioxide is considered to be a healthy beverage. It hydrates just as well as regular water does. 

However, some carbonated waters contain additives and other ingredients that decreases their health benefits. It’s best to always read the nutrition facts that can be found on the label to determine if the product is right for you. Options that are low in sodium and without added sugar, artificial sweeteners and flavors make for the best choice. 

How does carbonated water affect your body? 

Primarily, carbonated water simply hydrates your body just like regular water. However, carbonated beverages introduce bubbles to your stomach that can make you burp. Some people find that the effect of the bubbles in the stomach aides in relieving stomach aches. 

Will drinking carbonated water affect your appetite? 

One study found that drinking carbonated beverages increased the hunger hormone ghrelin in mice and led to increased consumption of food. The study was then extrapolated to 20 human males and researchers found again that ghrelin increased after the consumption of carbonated water. However, this is only one study and the human sample size was small. 

How does carbonated water compare to other carbonated beverages? 

Carbonated water is a great alternative to other popular carbonated beverages, like tonic water, club soda, carbonated teas, energy drinks, coffee and alcoholic seltzers that contain additives making them less healthy. 

Are there brands of carbonated water that are better for you? 

The best carbonated water will contain water, carbon dioxide and fruit, if you prefer flavor. To ensure that the beverage is low in sodium and calories, check the label. 

For unflavored carbonated water brands, look for brands that contain carbonated water or carbonated mineral water on its ingredient list.

For flavored carbonated water brands, look for brands that are flavored with fruit. Most brands will list natural flavors on its ingredient list. The FDA defines natural flavors as flavoring derived from plant or animal sources such as essential oils, essences and extracts, among other things. However, you can always dress up unflavored carbonated water by adding fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice, cucumbers or herbs. 

Kimberly Pierpont is a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.