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Is Sparkling Water Good for You?

It’s the age-old question: sparkling or still? Sparkling definitely has a fancy factor, but is sparkling water good for you? According to nutritionists, it is—with a couple of caveats. 

Sparkling water is slightly different from your favorite seltzer, if you want to get technical, flavored or not. The latter is plain old water made fizzy by added carbonation (and sometimes added juices or artificial flavoring), while sparkling water is characterized not just by its bubbles but by the natural minerals found in spring water. With some sparkling waters, the carbonation occurs naturally, straight from the mineral-rich source. This natural process and the minerals give sparkling water a unique, effervescent flavor (though some brands may add carbon dioxide for extra fizz). Magnesium, calcium, and sodium are some of the minerals found in sparkling water, with the levels varying depending on the source of the water.

But does sparkling water hydrate you as well as regular water? Yes. As sparkling water is simply water with some fizz, it certainly can be an effective source of hydration. “There are no magical benefits of sparkling water over tap water,” says Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., CDN, founder of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition, “but if it’s something you enjoy and can tolerate, there is no reason to stop.”

So is sparkling water good for you? Here’s everything you need to know about your favorite fancy beverage. 

Sparkling water benefits

Due to the fizziness, some might incorrectly assume that sparkling water is bad for you. In reality, sparkling water is just as healthy as regular water—as long as there are no additives like sugar. No evidence supports that the carbon dioxide in the water hinders the body’s absorption of the fluid.

While sparkling water is known for its mineral content, the amount of minerals present is very low and accounts for only a fraction of your recommended daily intake. According to the USDA, an eight-ounce glass of sparkling water contains 26.4 milligrams of magnesium, 31.2 milligrams of sodium, and 79.2 milligrams of calcium. While it cannot be relied upon to fulfill the body’s requirement for minerals, it is a healthier beverage alternative and it also supports hydration. Let’s unpack this:

1. It’s a healthy alternative to sugary sodas.

If you opt for sparkling water without added sweeteners, for example, San Pellegrino or Perrier, you can rest assured that sparkling water is a zero-sugar and -calorie alternative to other carbonated beverages like soda. Due to more people seeking out healthier alternatives to the calorie-packed classics, sparkling water has surged in popularity. Internationally, it is now a $29.71 billion industry and is forecast to expand by 12.6% over the next seven years.

2. It supports hydration.

According to Feller, sparkling water is indeed an effective hydrator. It hydrates you in a way that is similar to regular tap water.

Of course, water is the nectar of life, and regularly skipping out on your recommended water intake means you run the risk of dehydration, kidney stones, and lower cognitive functioning. Despite this, 77% of Americans admit they don’t drink enough water. If you are one of these people, it might be time to reevaluate your water consumption habits.

If you are still contemplating whether you will opt for still or sparkling, bear in mind that the main difference between these waters is individual preference. There’s definitely something special about the effervescence of a glass of sparkling: It adds a little lift to your hydration. “All forms of water are sources of hydration,” says Feller. “However, sparkling water may help individuals who struggle to reach their hydration goals, as some prefer the taste of sparkling water to tap water. Some sparkling water brands are fortified with functional ingredients like CBD, adaptogens, and probiotics, which may give them some added benefits.” 

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