Is Seltzer Water Bad For You?

Seltzer water is officially everywhere: It’s all over your social media feeds and on every store shelf in endless flavors. (Like your fizzy water with a kick? There’s a hard seltzer for that!)

But is seltzer water bad for you?

Let’s learn more about seltzer water and its potential effects on your body.

What Is Seltzer Water?

Seltzer water is water with added carbon dioxide.

The carbonation gives it a distinct fizz without adding any nutrition.

It goes by other names such as carbonated water, sparkling water, club soda, tonic water, or simply by brand name (#WhiteClaw).

Most of us tend to lump all carbonated water together, but for some, there is a distinction between seltzer vs. sparkling mineral water (think: Perrier).

Mineral water is taken from springs and contains natural carbonation, whereas store-bought seltzer water is artificially carbonated.

Also, seltzer water doesn’t contain minerals — calcium, sodium, and magnesium, to name a few.

While these minerals are helpful for human health, you can always get them through food.

Do Seltzer Waters Make You Gain Weight?

Short answer: No. Seltzer water won’t make you gain weight.

small study did find that drinking seltzer water increased ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” in male rats.

According to Brittany Crump, M.P.H., R.D. at Savor Nutrition, “Seltzer water is a good alternative to soda if you’re watching your weight. This is particularly true if you crave soda and want a no-calorie, zero-sugar replacement to stay hydrated.”

By swapping soda for seltzer water, you can still enjoy the fizz without the extra sugar and calories.

Is Seltzer Good for You?

As far as nutrition goes, seltzer water offers similar benefits compared to plain tap water, including hydration.

Keep in mind that the carbonation in seltzer water affects us differently.

Some downsides: you might find it can cause gas and bloat or worsen heartburn.

On the other end of the spectrum, some people find that the carbonation in seltzer water actually improves digestion.

Is Seltzer Water Bad for You?

But what does seltzer water do to your body that can potentially be harmful?

Seltzer may be hard on your teeth

Seltzer water can potentially harm teeth:

  • The carbon dioxide in seltzer water makes it slightly acidic with a pH around 3 to 4, which can erode tooth enamel.
  • Keep in mind that water has a neutral pH of 7, and that tooth erosion happens at below a pH of 4.

If you’re sipping seltzer daily, it’s time to rethink how much you’re drinking.

Mineral water may be a better alternative since you still get the carbonation with a pH of approximately 5.

Crump adds, “There isn’t much nutritional difference between one brand of seltzer water and another, but they do contain varying amounts of added artificial flavors, acids, sodium, and coloring.”

Some of these additions, namely citric acid or phosphoric acid, can further drop the pH of the drink.

How to Choose Healthy Seltzer Water

Glass of seltzer water with rosemary and lemon

When deciding which seltzer water brand to buy, always read the label to ferret out ingredients that you may want to avoid.

These include additives like artificial sweeteners, added sugars, or food coloring. Making your own seltzer water with an at-home carbonation machine is also an option.

To fancy up that fizz, try adding these to your drink:

Sliced fruit or vegetables

  • Strawberry
  • Orange
  • Lemon or lime
  • Cucumber

Herbs and other mix-ins 

  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Extracts or bitters (e.g., grapefruit, peach, lavender, vanilla)

(Pro tip: Gently mix or muddle to release flavor.)

You can also jazz up your seltzer with these easy fizzy water recipes:

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