Carbonated water looks harmless. It’s just water with bubbles, after all. What harm can it do?
The truth is that it can have serious health issues. The fizziness comes from a colorless gas called carbon dioxide. In the body, carbon dioxide poses several dangers.
Other names for carbonated water include seltzer, soda water, club soda, sparkling water, and carbonated mineral water. Whatever you call it, this bubbly drink comes with these seven side effects.
Burping or belching is the most common side effect. It’s also the most obvious!
While burping is totally normal, carbonated water makes it worse. The bubbles add extra air to your stomach. As the air accumulates, it comes back out in the form of a burp.1
2. Gas And Bloating
If the air doesn’t leave through your mouth, it’ll have to come out the other way. This means you’ll have gas – lots of it.2
Sometimes, the gas can build up and lead to bloating. It might also accumulate in the top left portion of the colon, causing pain that seems to come from the heart.3 Either way, these effects of carbonated water will feel uncomfortable and embarrassing.
[Read: Side Effects of Soft Drinks]
3. Tooth Decay
When you drink carbonated water, carbon dioxide turns into acid, that weakens the dental enamel. This makes your teeth prone to cavities. And if you drink too much? That dental enamel can be permanently destroyed.
It doesn’t even matter if the carbonated water is “sugar-free”. You need to watch out for those acids.4
4. Poor Oral Wound Healing
Beyond your choppers, carbonated water will irritate your mouth. This can be bad news if you already have a cut or sore. Carbonation not only delays proper healing but also has pro-inflammatory effects on the mucosal membrane.5
5. Acid Reflux
If you’re prone to acid reflux, avoid carbonated water. The carbonation can significantly weaken the lower esophageal sphincter. This side effect will spark a backflow of acid, leading to burning and discomfort.
Acid reflux might even turn into gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. No wonder researchers think that carbonated drinks contribute to the development of GERD.6
6. Increased Food Consumption
You might think that carbonated water makes you full. But this isn’t true!
Carbon dioxide gas actually increases ghrelin. This “hunger hormone” stimulates the hunger response and makes you hungry. It’s even thought to play a part in obesity.7
If you’re trying to lose weight, avoid these health risks by ditching carbonated water.
7. Increased Heart Rate
Drinking carbonated water also affects your heart. Compared to normal water, carbonation can speed up your heart rate in just five minutes. Researchers think that this is caused by a sensory reaction to the acids.
On the other hand, non-carbonated water actually slows down heart rate, making it the healthier choice.8
A Silver Lining
Despite these health risks, carbonated water has a few benefits.
For elders that have problems swallowing, carbonated water can improve it. Afterward, swallowing normal water becomes easier, emphasizing the lasting effect of carbonation.9
After vomiting, a little bubbly will relax your stomach. It’s also useful for treating constipation and tummy troubles.10
In moderation, carbonated water can be part of a healthy diet. Don’t overdo it if you want to avoid these negative side effects. Otherwise, regular non-carbonated water is always the best choice.
|↑1, ↑3||Belching, Bloating, Flatulence. American College of Gastroenterology.|
|↑2||Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑4||von Fraunhofer, J. Anthony, and Matthew M. Rogers. “Dissolution of dental enamel in soft drinks.” General Dentistry 52, no. 4 (2004): 308-312.|
|↑5||Fahim, Ayesha, Muhammad Sharjeel Ilyas, Fahim Haider Jafari, and Fauzia Farzana. “Effect of carbonated drinks on wound healing of oral epithelium.” Journal of oral biology and craniofacial research 6, no. 1 (2016): 50-54.|
|↑6||Hamoui, Nahid, Reginald V. Lord, Jeffrey A. Hagen, Joerg Theisen, Tom R. DeMeester, and Peter F. Crookes. “Response of the lower esophageal sphincter to gastric distention by carbonated beverages.” Journal of gastrointestinal surgery 10, no. 6 (2006): 870-877.|
|↑7||Eweis, Dureen Samandar, Fida Abed, and Johnny Stiban. “Carbon dioxide in carbonated beverages induces ghrelin release and increased food consumption in male rats: Implications on the onset of obesity.” Obesity Research & Clinical Practice (2017).|
|↑8||Wakisaka, Shiori, Hajime Nagai, M. U. R. A. Emi, Takehiro Matsumoto, Toshio Moritani, and Narumi Nagai. “The effects of carbonated water upon gastric and cardiac activities and fullness in healthy young women.” Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 58, no. 5 (2012): 333-338.|
|↑9||Morishita, Motoyoshi, Sanae Mori, Shota Yamagami, and Masatoshi Mizutani. “Effect of carbonated beverages on pharyngeal swallowing in young individuals and elderly inpatients.” Dysphagia 29, no. 2 (2014): 213-222.|
|↑10||Cuomo, Rosario, Raffella Grasso, Giovanni Sarnelli, Gaetano Capuano, Emanuele Nicolai, Gerardo Nardone, Domenico Pomponi, Gabriele Budillon, and Enzo Ierardi. “Effects of carbonated water on functional dyspepsia and constipation.” European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 14, no. 9 (2002): 991-999.|