Keep calm and carry a big bottle of seltzer.

By Laura Fisher and Betty Gold
Updated August 11, 2020
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There’s something about popping open the tab of a cold, bubbly can of sparkling water, especially on a hot summer day, that invokes an immediate sense of refreshment. Maybe you just recently jumped on the trendy wellness-boosting bandwagon, or maybe you’re like me and grew up drinking seltzer with a splash of juice alongside your dinner. Either way, if you’re drinking sparkling water, you’re doing something right.

Naysayers might say, what’s the big deal—it’s just water? But the truly obsessed know that with so many different brands and flavors out there, the possibilities of sparkling water are endlessly appealing. After all, who can deny that partaking in a coconut-flavored beverage invokes a hint of your last beach vacation? But beyond the flavor selection, is there anything else you should know about your daily fizzy drink habit?

Sparkling Water Is Generally a Healthy and Smart Choice.

The good news is that sparkling water is an excellent drink to enjoy on a daily basis. It’s a great alternative to soda since it’s calorie- and sugar-free, but gives you that same effervescent mouthfeel. Even if you’re a diet soda drinker, you might want to consider making the switch to sparkling water, since diet soda has been been linked to negative health implications. Choosing brands like La Croix that are free of artificial sugar and food coloring keeps you in the clear for any negative health effects from your bubbly habit.

There are a variety of flavored options to keep things interesting, including brands like Spindrift, which includes fresh-squeezed fruit for a little extra oomph. Maybe your sparkling water replaces your evening glass of wine, or maybe you choose to partake in a boozy option like Bon V!v—no matter what, you’ve got options. If you’re overwhelmed with the sheer volume of different brands and flavors of sparkling water, we actually tried 40 different seltzers and ranked them (so you don’t have to). If you want to DIY, try adding a squeeze of lemon or other citrus, or even some raspberries floating on top for a visually-appealing treat that will brighten up even the most mundane weekday afternoon.

Sparkling water is super hydrating (just stick to the sodium-free brands), and the carbonation can fill you up and take the edge off hunger between meals or while you’re preparing dinner and feeling the urge to nibble.

Are There Times When You Shouldn’t Drink Sparkling Water?

There is some evidence that drinking sparkling water could be worsening your tooth sensitivity. All carbonated water, even when unflavored, contains carbonic acid (that’s what makes it carbonated). According to Heather Kunen, DDS, MS, a New York-based orthodontist, the added acidity can cause enamel erosion. To be safe, or if you already suffer from sensitive teeth, you can use a straw to avoid the water touching your teeth and consider brushing after drinking or washing down with some regular water.

Drinking carbonated beverages during exercise probably isn’t the best idea, as they can cause discomfort and burping during vigorous activity. Stick to plain ol’ water during your workout, and enjoy a sparkling water after as a refreshing treat.

If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or a sensitive GI system, the acidity and bubbles in sparkling water can worsen inflammation, says Linda Lee, MD, chief of staff at John's Hopkins Aramco Healthcare and associate professor of medicine. While it won’t cause IBS, it could lead to a flare-up or discomfort, so it’s best to steer clear to be on the safe side.

The Bottom-Line: Most People Don’t Have to Overthink Their Sparkling Water Consumption.

The takeaway here is that the downsides of drinking sparkling water are pretty minimal unless you fall into one of the groups mentioned above. So go ahead—crack open a can and toast to a healthy and healthy hydrated summer.