What does carbonated water do to our bodies?
If you are craving soda but know how bad it is for you, you may want to settle for the next best thing – carbonated water. Also called sparkling, soda, seltzer, or fizzy water, carbonated water is just H20 infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure. Not to be confused with tonic water, soda water contains no sweeteners or additives. It has the fizzle of cola minus its unhealthy ingredients. And although you may find some flavored sparkling water in the beverage aisle, that’s not what this post is all about.
So let’s go back to the question – can you drink fizzy water? The short answer is yes. That is, unless you are suffering from chronic gas and bloating for different preexisting health conditions or have been instructed by your doctor to avoid it.
5 Benefits of Sparkling Water
1. It makes you feel good.
Have you ever wondered why an ice-cold cola tastes and feels so good? On the other hand, you might not want to drink the same cola that’s been left out on a countertop. This is because carbonation excites our body and tickles our taste buds along with the roof of our mouth and the esophagus. That’s what makes it seem so good. When the carbon dioxide in soda reacts with an enzyme found in our mouth, it starts a chain of reactions from protein receptors to nerve fibers and onward to the brain. So even without the sugar and additives, soda water can still trigger a similar response. This reaction leads us to the next point.
2. It helps you stay hydrated.
Carbonated water is water. And we need around 6 to 8 glasses daily for optimum digestion and metabolism. However, some may find it challenging to chug down that much still water every day. Thankfully, carbonation in water helps improve swallowing movements by stimulating the nerves responsible for peristalsis (aka the swallowing function). So when the water intake of human subjects was observed and compared, those who drank carbonated water drank more when compared to those drinking regular water.
3. It may support weight management.
Gastric distension due to the intake of significant amounts of water, carbonated or not, can trigger satiety signals. A 2008 study published in the journal Obesity said that drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity. The only plus of taking carbonated water is the increased space taken by the gas. So if you drink soda water during meals, the dissolved carbon dioxide is rapidly released, and it tends to localize in the upper part of the stomach, producing a feeling of fullness and helping you control food intake.
4. It may support dyspepsia and constipation.
Drinking fizzy water may prompt belching and flatulence. And although there’s a need for more evidence, carbonated water is also said to hasten gastric and gallbladder emptying and may stimulate bowel movement. This can provide relief for those who are suffering from bloating and constipation.
5. It may support overall digestion.
Hypochlorhydria, or the lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, is a condition that is very common and may cause indigestion and malabsorption. Without enough HCl for digestion, the food we eat gets putrefied inside the stomach instead of being broken down. Drinking carbonated water may help, as it irritates the gastrointestinal tract’s mucous membrane, leading to the hypersecretion of gastric juice or hydrochloric acid. A slight increase in hydrochloric acid may influence the digestive process positively. On the other hand, this might cause acid reflux or worsened symptoms in individuals with acid-related diseases, so if that’s you, be aware.
Carbonated water is a safe but exciting way to enjoy drinking. You can buy bottled ones from stores, or you can invest in your personal carbonating machine if you like it that much. If you are making your own soda water, it is best to use mineral water instead of tap. To add a little bit of flavor, you can squeeze lemon or lime juice into it.
Want Gallbladder News & Health Tips Delivered Straight To Your Inbox? Sign Up Here!
Cuomo, R., Grasso, R., Sarnelli, G., Capuano, G., Nicolai, E., Nardone, G., … & Ierardi, E. (2002). Effects of carbonated water on functional dyspepsia and constipation. European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology, 14(9), 991-999.
Cuomo, R., Sarnelli, G., Savarese, M. F., & Buyckx, M. (2009). Carbonated beverages and gastrointestinal system: between myth and reality. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 19(10), 683-689.
Dymchenko, A. A., & Rybak, V. A. (2021). The influence of carbonated beverages on the course of metabolic processes in the body.
Elshukri, O., Michou, E., Mentz, H., & Hamdy, S. (2016). Brain and behavioral effects of swallowing carbonated water on the human pharyngeal motor system. Journal of Applied Physiology, 120(4), 408-415.
Lolli, G., Greenberg, L. A., & Lester, D. (1952). The influence of carbonated water on gastric emptying. New England Journal of Medicine, 246(13), 490-492.
Stookey, J. D., Constant, F., Popkin, B. M., & Gardner, C. D. (2008). Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity. Obesity, 16(11), 2481-2488.