Seltzer water is a popular and healthy alternative to sodas offering the same fizzy satisfaction. A reader contacted me recently concerned about carbonation in sodas and in water having heard that it’s bad for you. There are some concerns about tooth enamel erosion and low bone mineral density associated with carbonation – carbonated water is thought to prevent calcium absorption, thereby, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. The problem however, does not lie with the carbonation itself.
When carbon dioxide is dissolved in water, carbonic acid is formed making the water a little more acidic. Most water, tap water included, contains small amounts of calcium, magnesium and other minerals that not only strengthen your bones and teeth, but also buffer the effects of the carbonic acid and protect tooth enamel. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no evidence that carbonated water causes harm to bones or teeth. Drinking carbonated water has the same benefits as drinking still water. Research has found a connection however, with low bone mineral density and carbonated cola drinks. The acid in soft drinks like coke and pepsi will erode tooth enamel over time. The flavoring agents in flavored seltzer water increase the acidity and can possibly contribute to tooth erosion as well. You are better off drinking plain seltzer and adding a lemon or lime slice. You get extra Vitamin C that way too. The high amounts of sugar in soft drinks of course contribute further to their negative effects; artificial sweeteners in diet drinks are risky too.
What to do? As with everything in life, moderation is key. If you drink carbonated cola and other carbonated beverages, cut back the amount you drink and give seltzer water a try. I think you’ll find it just as refreshing.
In my effort to reduce, not just recycle and reuse, I’m considering getting a home soda maker. A good one starts around $100.00 and it’s easy (and fun) to do. Now that’s a good way to reduce carbon emissions and keep bottles out of the landfill.
Information compiled from www.mayoclinic.com and Monica Reinagel, M.S., L.D./N, nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com.