Water is water is water, right? Perhaps not, as there are so many different types now, including alkaline water, distilled water, mineral water, artisan water, seltzer water, and simply water from the tap.
There’s plenty of similarity between these products, as they’re all mostly water. Even so, the differences between them might just influence your health.
That brings us to the question for today – is seltzer water good for you? The simple answer is yes, given that we’re talking about water and water is essential for health. However, seltzer water has some disadvantages too, which are worth considering.
Is Seltzer Water Good For Your Health?
- What Is Seltzer Water?
- Benefits Of Seltzer Water
- How Seltzer Water Could Be Harmful
- What About Flavored Seltzer Water?
- Is Hard Seltzer A Good Choice?
- Can You Make Your Own Seltzer Water?
- Final Thoughts
What Is Seltzer Water?
Seltzer water is a type of carbonated water. It’s the simplest type, as it just involves taking regular water and adding carbon dioxide.
Doing so gives the water a neutral flavor profile. This is why you’ll often see seltzer water used as a mixer. Some companies also flavor seltzer water, giving you a subtly flavored drink that’s much healthier than soda.
Of course, there are plenty of variations between different products, depending on where the water was sourced from, how it has been treated, and whether flavoring ingredients have been used.
Benefits Of Seltzer Water
Helps With Hydration
Water is important because our bodies need it. After all, water plays an almost endless number of roles in our bodies, such as helping with our temperature regulation, our digestion, and our joints.
For our bodies to work as they should, we need to be getting sufficient amounts of water each day. While most of us are getting enough water to avoid serious dehydration, we may still be getting less than we need.
It's surprisingly easy to end up mildly dehydrated, often because we simply don’t get round to drinking as much water as we should. Mild dehydration has subtle symptoms, like a decrease in energy and trouble concentrating, symptoms that we may easily miss or associate with something else.
Many of us would benefit from drinking more water and seltzer water fills this role well. The carbonation might even be helpful, as it makes the water more interesting and a little more enjoyable than still water.
Much Better Than Soda
Seltzer water is sometimes used as a way to cut down on a soda habit. You still get the bubbles that you find with soda, but you’re consuming fewer additives and much less sugar.
This is a powerful approach.
If seltzer water isn’t interesting enough on its own, you could try adding a little fruit juice. Lemon juice or lime juice is excellent, as you get a burst of flavor and very few calories.
Works Well In Many Drinks
Seltzer water has minimal flavor, no sugar, and plenty of bubbles, making it an excellent addition to cocktails and summer drinks. Indeed, you can make plenty of healthy drinks using seltzer water as a base, drinks that will help to hydrate you and keep you cool when the weather is scorching.
You can also use seltzer water to dilute other drinks and make them healthier. For example, rather than having a glass of orange juice, try having a 50% orange juice and 50% seltzer water mixture. Doing so cuts the calorie content in half and still gives you a delicious drink.
You can try the same trick with almost any type of drink imaginable. The fizz from the seltzer water helps ensure that the drink still tastes good, even when it is noticeably diluted.
How Seltzer Water Could Be Harmful
Increases Gas For Some People
Sparkling water has mixed effects on digestion. Some people find that the bubbles actually help to relieve their symptoms, while others find that they get significant gas and bloating instead.
If you fall into the latter camp, you may need to be careful with seltzer water or even avoid it entirely. People with acid reflux should be particularly cautious, as sparkling drinks often make their symptoms worse.
You'll probably need to experiment for yourself to see how your body reacts to seltzer water. This is always the best approach, as we're all so different from each other, so the best foods and drinks for one person aren't necessarily great for another.
Often Comes In Plastic Bottles
Bottled water has become a huge industry, one that’s awful for the environment and mightn’t do your health any favors either. There are many concerns about chemicals in the bottles leaching into your water.
PFAS compounds are one type that’s particularly concerning. These aren’t regulated in the United States, but are thought to contribute to various health problems. They can be found in many types of bottled water, with sparkling water containing more of the compounds than still water.
There are plenty of other chemicals in the bottles too.
What this means for your health is unclear. The levels of concerning chemicals could be low enough that there are no serious issues or reports of problems may be overblown. On the other hand, plastic bottles could come with more risks than we currently know.
Because there are no clear-cut answers, you’ll need to decide for yourself how much you want to rely on plastic bottles. Perhaps you’ll choose to still use plastic bottles, but only sparingly, and try to avoid them whenever possible.
The Bubbles Might Harm Your Teeth
There’s the chance that sparkling water harms your teeth as well, especially as the carbon dioxide makes it more acidic than still water. There isn’t much research into this effect though, so we don’t know how much of an effect the bubbles truly have.
What is clear, though, is that sparkling water has much less impact on your teeth than soda, as soda is more acidic and contains much more sugar.
You can reduce the risk of any enamel damage even further by drinking seltzer water through a straw. However, this trick won’t work for everyone, as using a straw tends to increase gas-related side effects.
What About Flavored Seltzer Water?
Flavored seltzer water keeps you hydrated just like regular seltzer water. It can even be a better choice, as the extra flavor makes the water easier to enjoy.
However, the health effects vary depending on the product that you choose. In particular, some companies rely on artificial flavors and artificial sweeteners to make the water taste more interesting.
While artificial flavors have passed safety tests, they’re highly controversial. Many people are concerned about how these chemicals influence our health, including suggestions that they increase food sensitivities, cause stomach pain, and even lead to side effects like vomiting and diarrhea.
Realistically, there are still plenty of gaps in our knowledge of artificial ingredients. They might be harmful or might not, but we know that they don’t offer any benefits. As such, it’s best to avoid them whenever you can.
Watch out for companies that add sugar or high fructose corn syrup as well. Such products are often still healthier than soda, but the sugar won’t do your health any favors at all.
The best products are those that use fruit essences or a tiny amount of fruit juice for extra flavor.
Is Hard Seltzer A Good Choice?
Hard seltzers contain alcohol, so they come with all the risks of other alcoholic drinks, including the way that too much alcohol can increase disease risk and promote unhealthy behaviors.
That said, low to moderate alcohol intake could offer more benefits than harm, and hard seltzer is lower in calories than many alcoholic drinks. While we can’t really say that hard seltzer will improve your health, having a glass or two every so often isn’t likely to be a problem.
Can You Make Your Own Seltzer Water?
If you’re interested in sparkling water, but don’t want to deal with plastic bottles, making your own seltzer water is a good alternative. Doing so isn’t difficult.
There are now plenty of machines that are designed to carbonate your water. SodaStream is the most famous example, although other types can be just as good.
Making seltzer water yourself means less waste than buying bottles of water regularly and you’ll save money at the same time. You could even carbonate water that you filter at home, to give you control over every step of the process.
Seltzer water is simply water with bubbles, so there’s no doubt that it’s good for you.
Many of the benefits come from the fact that we’re talking about water and water is essential to life. Staying hydrated offers many benefits, including helping to decrease heart disease risk, providing energy, supporting weight loss, and keeping our bodies functioning well.
While seltzer water isn’t more powerful than regular tap water, it isn’t worse either. The bubbles also make it enjoyable, which could make drinking water much easier.
The biggest issue is that you’re typically buying seltzer water in plastic bottles. Those bottles aren’t good for the environment and chemicals in them could leach into your water. Thankfully, making your own seltzer water is easy and avoids this issue entirely.