Flavored sparkling water drinks have gained enormous popularity recently, and you'd be hard-pressed to find an office fridge or grocery store that isn't stocked with the things. They're super refreshing, after all. But the little-known dangers of drinking flavored sparkling water may give you pause. There are a few ingredients you may want to double-check in these tasty, fizzy beverages.
Now, I'm not about to bash these bubbly drinks. I totally understand the appeal, and there's at least three different brands of the stuff in my fridge right now. Particularly for people who are trying to kick a soda habit, these sparkly sips can be a big help. After all, you can get the benefits of extra hydration alongside a little zip of citrus or berry flavor. It's a seemingly harmless treat.
But you may want to read the nutrition label a little more carefully, because some of the ingredients can be concerning. Some brands can contain added ingredients that are less than healthy, or at least ingredients whose health effects are not yet totally understood. Basically, it's smart to make sure you know what you're getting with these drinks. Read on to see whether these flavored sparkling water drinks are OK for your health needs in particular.
1. Tooth Decay
Occasionally sipping on a plain carbonated water won't give your dentist much to worry about. But flavorings such as citric or other fruit acids can lead to tooth erosion, or "the incremental dissolving away of the enamel on the teeth, which, over time, can affect their structural integrity, making them hypersensitive to temperature and potentially more cavity-prone," said consumer adviser for the American Dental Association Edmond R. Hewlett in The Washington Post. Check your label.
2. Added Sodium
It's important to check the label on your particular brand of sparkling water, because some of them contain ingredients you might not expect. For instance, some flavor enhancers may include ingredients such as sodium, acids, and sweeteners, according to Healthline. If you're watching the sodium content in your foods, then don't overlook the flavored waters.
3. Bloating & Gas
All those bubbles have to go somewhere. To get that signature fizz, "sparkling mineral water simply contains natural gasses, or has been artificially carbonated by pumping carbon dioxide through it. Therefore, carbonated water can cause a buildup of air that can move down the digestive tract and into the colon, causing bloating and gas," said accredited practicing dietitian Charlene Grosse in myBody+Soul. If you're experiencing some stomach issues, then see whether cutting back on the sparkling water helps.
4. Added Vitamins & Minerals
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, it's entirely possible to have too much of a good thing. If you are already taking over-the-counter supplements, then drinking water loaded with vitamins and minerals might cause you to accidentally overdo it, according to Shape. If you're concerned about proper vitamin intake, have a chat with your doc.
5. Artificial Sweetener Overload
Then there's the whole topic of artificial sweeteners, particularly those that don't add any extra calories. They can pack a ton of sweet flavor into these drinks, which might ultimately lead to other health concerns. "A miniscule amount produces a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, without comparable calories. Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,” said obesity and weight-loss specialist Dr. David Ludwig in Harvard Health Publishing. The worry is that people who regularly enjoy these hyper-sweet drinks may start to find regular foods, such as fruits and vegetables, far less palatable. Your taste buds might be too overstimulated for healthy food, in other words.
6. Natural Flavors Intake
If natural flavors are listed on your water's ingredient list, then just note that it could mean a lot of different things. "'Natural flavors' can mean something as simple as the essential oil of a product that's been heated, but it can also mean flavor-adding chemicals from artificial sources, which manufacturers don't have to list on their labels as additives because they might contain a partial 'natural' element," said nutritionist Stephanie Middleberg, RD, in MSN. This isn't necessarily a cause for alarm, but it's good to know that the natural label can be vague at best.
Not all of these flavored sparkling water drinks are calorie-free. Although delicious, some popular flavored sparkling water drinks contain 150 calories and 33 grams of sugar each, according to Today. Although they can be a refreshing addition to your overall diet, these drinks aren't going to totally replace regular old water any time soon.