The health benefits of drinking sparkling (yes, SPARKLING) water

January is typically a time when many of us attempt to purge ourselves of the internal contamination and external baggage stockpiled at the tail end of last year. Those seeking a decent ‘detox’ will generally do well to drink plenty of water, one effect of which is to assist the flushing out of bodily pollutants via the urine and sweat. Water purists usually recommend that topping up on still water, rather than sparkling, is the route through to tiptop well-being. However, my eye was caught by a recent study which suggests that fizzy water may sometimes offer superior health benefits to flat.

The research in question, published in the Journal of Nutrition, was designed to assess the health effects of sparkling and still mineral water in a group of women. The study participants were asked to drink 1 litre of either the sparkling or still each day for two months, followed by two months on the other water. During the study, the study participants underwent a number of tests including blood pressure checks and measurement of a variety of blood components including cholesterol. Compared to the still mineral water, the drinking of sparkling water brought about significant reductions in the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (generally regarded as a risk factor for heart disease), as well as a significant increase in levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (generally taken to reduce heart disease risk). These and other biochemical changes induced by drinking sparkling water were estimated to reduce the women’s risk of developing heart disease over the next decade by about a third.

Quite what it is about sparkling water that accounts for its seeming heart healthy properties is not known for sure, though the explanation is unlikely to lie in the bubbles themselves. More likely, the benefits of the water used in the study are related to its high mineral content compared to the still water it was tested against. One mineral that the fizzy stuff was particularly high in was sodium – generally regarded as undesirable food constituent on account of its ability to boost blood pressure. However, studies show that low sodium diets may increase cholesterol levels. This throws up the possibility that the sparkling water’s relatively high sodium content might actually have played some part in its apparent ability to quell levels of unhealthy cholesterol.

Interestingly, the Journal of Nutrition study found that the drinking of the sodium-rich mineral water did not lead to any increase in blood pressure. One reason for this is that sparkling waters tend to be rich in bicarbonate, which is believed to help balance any negative effects sodium may have in the body. Personally, my belief is that individual keen to limit sodium in their diets need concern themselves less about foods and drinks that contain this mineral naturally, than processed foodstuffs that have had it added (often in considerable quantity) by food manufacturers. Sparkling waters rich in sodium may not have the healthiest of reputations, but research has bubbled up which suggests that they may actually offer considerable benefits for the body.

Dr Briffa’s new book ” Waist Disposal ” the Ultimate Fat Loss Manual for Men ” is now available. To learn more about the book click here.

To buy Waist Disposal from amazon.co.uk click here.

60 Responses to The health benefits of drinking sparkling (yes, SPARKLING) water

  1. Hellen Kerali 15 December 2007 at 8:30 pm #

    I think I am addicted to Perrier sparkling water – I can drink anything up to 5 – 6 pints everyday. I just wondered wether there is any side effect to drinking sparkling water. Right now I feel perfectly healthy and thoroughly enjoy it.

  2. Dr John Briffa 22 December 2007 at 7:36 pm #

    The main risk, as I see it, relates to sparkling water’s acidic nature and therefore its potential to cause ‘dental erosion’. Drinking it through a straw should mitigate against this risk.

    • Ashley 4 June 2014 at 5:26 am #

      Wow, I just realized how ancient this post is but I was just thinking about how while the sparkling water is acidic, couldn’t it be somewhat beneficial seeing as it has some pretty key minerals that are used in the re-mineralization process (magnesium, calcium) in order to repair the lattice work that becomes worn from cavities.

      Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I recall from my dentistry class on remineralization, but I thought that eating sugary foods/carbohydrates may be more damaging than something strictly acidic such as mineral water (or even black coffee for that matter, soda doesn’t count it’s acidic but supremely sugary). Just curious as to how much of this is true. I love to learn so let me know if I am incorrect in my thought.

  3. Tim 24 December 2007 at 9:40 pm #

    Dr. John is correct, however the dental decay for sparkling water is 100 times lower than that of regular soft drink beverages. So based on how many people drink soda and still have teeth, I would say that that effect is negligable

  4. JEN 2 April 2008 at 6:27 am #

    I am pregnant and all I want to drink is Sparkling Water. Is it safe to drink all this carbonated sparkling water during pregnancy? Thank you very much.

  5. Kim Zinke 2 October 2008 at 5:44 pm #

    I drink about 36 ounces of selter water per week–three twelve ounce cans of Seagram’s Seltzer Water. I notice one of the ingredients in the 12 ounce can is “potassium chloride.” This “chemical” sounds forbidding and foreboding. Is there any ill side effect in consuming this chemical in Seagram’s Seltzer water on a consistent basis as I do? Are there any seltzer or mineral water brands that do not contain some percentage of “potassium chloride” as an ingredient? Please respond when you have a moment…

  6. jones 29 October 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    San pellegrino

  7. Meg 18 December 2008 at 9:40 pm #

    I would like to see a study done on sparkling water that is a just that –a study on carbonated water. Just CO2 and water, no extra minerals or ingredients. A properly run test isolates and tests only one variable at a time, and in order to determine whether CO2 in carbonated water is helpful, harmful, or neither, the water would have to contain ONLY CO2, not a host of minerals and so forth.
    What was the source of the “sparkling water” in this study? Was it natural sparkling water? Because if so, that usually contains a host of beneficial minerals, and the test would then reflect the health effects of those minerals, not of carbonation or lack thereof. Such a shame so much of science is performed so sloppily.

  8. hb 1 February 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    I have read that the acidity of carbonated water causes the stomach to attempt to neutralize it by drawing calcium from the blood, which results in calcium being removed from the bones. I drink a lot of Canada Dry sparkling water.

  9. NICOLE 4 February 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Talking Rain sparkling water is absolutely fabulous. It is USDA Organic, Organic flavors, just enough to not be plain, not like pop at all, plus it’s 100% natural, no calories, no artificial sweeteners and NO sodium!!!!! Its perfect and addicting – since I love my pop, this has steered me from drinking so much (garbage) soda pops! I can only find it at Sams Club.

  10. Cat 12 February 2009 at 9:44 am #

    I recieved a soda water making machine as a Christmas present. You take regular tapwater and add CO2. It is absolutely fabulous! My husband and I love it. It tastes great and has no additives – just water and CO2. We are each drinking about 1-2 liters a day.

    Any problems with it other than dental erosion (I do drink mine out of a straw) and calcium delpletion? I have high calcium so I assume I am OK.

  11. Ibi 13 February 2009 at 1:25 pm #

    Meg: you’re totally right. Where is the answer, Dr Briffa?
    I quote from Meg: “…Because if so, that usually contains a host of beneficial minerals, and the test would then reflect the health effects of those minerals, not of carbonation or lack thereof”.

    So is there any benefits of the mere CO2?

  12. Dr John Briffa 13 February 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Ibi

    Have you actually read the blog post in its entirety?

  13. Ryan 26 February 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    Actually, potassium chloride is simple salt, much like its cousin, sodium chloride. Potassium chloride is often used as a no-sodium substitute for regular table salt. It also acts as a potassium supplement. All-in-all, having a little potassium chloride in your diet is actually a good thing!

  14. Nyaradzo 9 March 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    I’ve had spotty skin for years even though im now in my late twenties. I’m trying to stik to a strict diet regimen so would like to know if sparkling water is any better than sodas

  15. Jilly 20 March 2009 at 11:19 am #

    Since I began drinking a significant amount of sparkling mineral water on a daily basis, I have dropped about 30 pounds which I had gained after a back surgery. I drink at least a liter to two liters per day, however I have reached my weight goal lost more than I wanted. I will have to stop drinking the waters to see if I can gain a little weight back.
    I certainly don’t know if it works this way with everyone, but it certainly worked for me, and I discovered it unintentionally. as I have drank the occasional Perrier for many years, but daily began substituting Perrier and others for my regular water.

  16. Leon 23 March 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    I’ve been drinking the Schweppes lemon flavored soda water for about a month. I’m no longer addicted to the “diet” drinks! Has anyone tried it?

  17. rick sohn 28 March 2009 at 10:52 pm #

    i drink sparkling water because it isi satisfying, and replaces sweeter, caloric drinks. Is there any research on the low-sodium water, which I drink? It tastes better to me.

    my brand contains only 10 mg per 8 oz serving.

  18. Scorpio 8 April 2009 at 4:57 am #

    My personal experience with drinking more carbonated water in office. i used to take one glass (200ml) after lunch or when ever i feel heavy on my tummy (3 to 4 glasses with separate intervals of time in a day).
    while drinking we will feel very relax and enjoy the taste but the problems i faced are.
    1. Damaged the teath the white colour become reddish/gray.
    2. Increases the blood pressure causes continues pain in heart area.
    4. feel put on more weight even though doing exercise.
    5. taking more sodium water causes the increase of blood pressure. which may effects failures of kidneys, heatstroke’s …etc.

    kindly don’t drink regularly…at most weekly once or twice is ok.

  19. Mrs Harvey 3 July 2009 at 10:06 am #

    I lost my husband 5 weeks ago, and have turned to White Wine as a ‘comfort’. I am drinking 4 or 5 glasses per day, and know it is too many, especially as I have had Nephrotic Syndrome for 35 years now.
    Some-one has suggested I put Ice and Soda Water in my glass, about 50/50 with the wine.
    Is this a good idea for me?

  20. Chuck Turner 5 August 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    Where can I purchase Vichy Celestine mineral water. I cannot find it since I moved away from New Orleans. Thank you

  21. Gingham Girl 3 October 2009 at 11:47 pm #

    Yes, please read the entire post before you comment on it. The issues of minerals vs. plain water/carbonation was clearly discussed in the original post.

  22. Jilli 27 October 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    I consume about 2 litres of soda water a day. I prefer it to water. I rarely if ever drink flavored drinks. I have read the whole blog and it seems to indicate that the consensus is that tooth enamel is the main sufferer. I drink about 3 cups of coffee and one or two of tea apart from my soda water. Am I doing myself any damage? I have strong bones so no problem there.

  23. tauri 29 October 2009 at 6:34 am #

    about a year or so ago i became addicted to perrier (preferably citron flavor). i only drank plain water before, literally only water, but now substitute plain water for sparkling water and i love it! recently though, the past couple of months, i have put on a few pounds and am trying to find the reason why before i put on too much and am wondering if weight gain may be a side effect of only drinking sparkling water?!? i haven’t changed anything else in my diet and exercise regimen that i can think of and just want to find the source. thanks!

  24. Kristen 4 November 2009 at 2:13 am #

    To the posters wondering about (or suggesting) a link sparkling water and weight gain: the answer is no. If you’re concerned with feeling bloated, it may be that your water isn’t sodium free (try la croix – the lime flavor is great and it is sodium free), but weight gain is a calories in vs. calories out issue and sparkling water is calorie free. The last dietary thing you should blame for weight gain is your calorie-free water!!! :)

  25. Thad 10 November 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    I started drinkin San Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral water. Is it healthy to drink daly? I love the tast, If it is bad is there something else out there I should be drinking? Will it make me gain weight if I’m drinking about 2 liters/day?

  26. Barry Chmura 11 December 2009 at 12:48 am #

    My only concern is who paid for the study/research that appeared in the Journal of Nutrition???

  27. Julie 22 January 2010 at 4:41 am #

    My friend and her family have got me hooked on the Sam’s Club brand sparkling water. I tried to cut out everything and just drink plain water. That didn’t work out so well. Since I have been drinking the sparkling water, I have noticed that my skin has improved. My pores are smaller, and my skin is so much softer. I have also always had little bumps on my upper arms since I was a baby, I have noticed that these are also going away. I am not positive, but I think these are results from the sparkling water. My friends family has also noticed these changes in them too!

  28. David 25 February 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    Is there a danger of getting higher blood pressure from drinking 2 or 3 small bottles of perrier, or other sparkling waters with sodium content?

  29. David 25 February 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    Forgot to say on a daily basis

  30. David Mpora 27 February 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    As you all know, drinking that stuff really is an acquired taste. Is there any sweetener that is free from all poison in all the sweeteners i know ( Or just any thing else anybody knows out there) that can make sparkling water a little bit more enjoyable? Even the flavoured ones taste gross.

    David Mpora

  31. zena 3 March 2010 at 3:58 am #

    I love the mandarine orange flavor sparkling water from poland spring.I purchase it from My organic market of Rockville.Its calorie free,sodium free,infact everything is 0% and it tastes so good no need for soda.

  32. Leanna 11 March 2010 at 12:29 am #

    I am hooked on Safeway’s brand of Sparkling Water, lime flavored. I drink up to 80 ounces daily, and nothing tastes better. There is no sodium, no sweetners and no calories. I was never a water drinker before this, so I was glad to hear that there are no “awful” affects from consuming so much. I have not read anywhere in this article, if anyone is experiencing increased flatulence.

  33. TGrady 8 April 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Julie I’m happy to hear that. I will see if carbonated water does anything for me

  34. eric 13 September 2010 at 1:56 am #

    Nestle – PureLife – Sparking Lemon- Carbonated Spring Water – Contains: Spring Water, Carbon Dioxide, Natural Lemon Flavour. (No Aspertame, 0 Calories, 0 Sugar, 0 Sodium.

    I like this stuff, but I wonder whether it is made with “natural lemon flavor” or with “natural lemon” flavour?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  35. Kelly 20 September 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    I had borderline high cholesterol for quite a few years, just under 200. I stopped eating meat for a year and just ate fish and exercised 4x a week and still my cholesterol stayed the same. I now eat wild game and local meat, but have started drinking sparkling water (La Croix lime, Perrier lime, Canada Dry lemon/lime) with dinner every night, or whenever I feel like having a soda (maybe 2x/week). The last time I had my cholesterol checked it went down 40 points. I couldn’t figure out how in the world that was possible, but after reading this article I’m going to credit the sparkling water. My BP and pulse are low so I’m not too concerned about the sodium.

  36. Matt 10 November 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    I’ve just started to use sparkling water (supermarket own brand) with the squeezed juice of a lemon or lime in a 2l bottle. As a replacement to sugar-free pop surely it’s a healthier alternative and one I find more enjoyable than forcing myself to drink still unflavoured water.

    The label show no nutrional information so I think it’s safe to assume there is no added anything.

  37. Ann 8 December 2010 at 2:46 am #

    Well I’m a big Champagne drinker and since I’ve started drinking Perrier, my desire or cravings for champagne has virtually gone away. I also have more energy and just can’t get enough of Perrier Lime flavored. I very rarely drink soda’s now. I went to their website and they say that there’s much needed trace minerals in this water. We don’t get enough mineral’s in our diet so I was thrilled to hear this. Plus I like the fact that Perrier comes in glass bottles, No cancer causing estropherogens, I’m sure I didn’t spell that right. To your Health!!!

  38. summer 11 December 2010 at 7:18 am #

    im been drinking perrier for about 3 years had no problems . But i had espholagal problems and had very bad acid reflex and know i feel great since i started drinking perrie water. i take no meds for acid reflex anymore since the water helped me. I drink about 1 bottle a day. And i feel great….

  39. neal 14 December 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    I had kidney cancer almost 3 years ago and I started to derink Pellegrino after one of my kineys was removed due to the cancer. it helped me stop smoking, drinking sodas, energy drinks… My remaining kidney even grew 2x’s the original size! my health is great! I was even able to loss almost 30 pounds after my surgery! its odd, there will be weeks when I crave the water daily then there will be weeks when I don’t even touch it! what a great drink! and to think.. its water…….

  40. Chip Baker 15 January 2011 at 2:16 am #

    I’ve heard that drinking and eating acidic food and water increases acidity in the body. The body is suppose to be slightly alkaline to remain healthy. When the body is acidic, cancers and other diseases take hold and and dammage the immune system. Is this a factor to be considered when drinking sparkling water?

  41. Mark 19 February 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    I have recently tried to cut back on drinking too much fresh coffee at work and opted for sparkling water. Trying also to diet to lose a little weight I have found sparkling water actually fills me up more, and saves me snacking and also hydrates me to balance out the diuretic effect of the coffee. Just a personal note on moving onto fizzy H20. enjoyed reading AOTA

  42. Andrew 23 February 2011 at 11:32 am #

    I have been drinking at least 2 litres of coke a day.The last 3 days i have been drinking sodawater as we have a sodastream (CO2) carbon dioxide.I have noticed that i dont feel as tired in the mornings as i used to,i have less cravings for sweet stuff and i dont feel thirsty all day.I have also noticed that i dont need vitamin supplements every day as before.

  43. Donna 17 March 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    I Love Love Love Kroger’s Big K Sparkling Water in a can! I usually use a flavor infuser packet (can be any flavor I want) and go. It has the fizz of soda without the calories or other bad properties. Big K also isn’t high in sodium. Another added bonus.

  44. Sarah 29 July 2011 at 1:18 am #

    I am 7 months pregnant & have tried everything natural for heartburn that I can think of. Finally, I tried mineral water San Pellegrino. It is amazing! Usually I can’t drink water wiyh meals because it diltes the digestive enzymes. At first, I wasn’t sure if I could stand the taste, but it worked fo the heartburn! Then, at my local health food store, I found Sweet Leaf liquid Stevia (chocolate)!I use about half a dropper full in it, & it is delicious! It’s like an iced Italian soda!I drink it through a straw. Now, I just read not to take mineral oil while pregnant. I will have to call my midwfe tomarrow to see if mineral water is safe during pregnancy!

  45. DJ Caudell 29 July 2011 at 2:07 am #

    I use to drink Kroger’s flavored water in the liter bottles but I have gotten away from it because so many people say carbonated water was bad for you. It had just 10mg of Sodium. Now I have seen Kroger’s has this All Natural Vitamin Enhanced Sparkling Water. I bought a few to try and I am drinking the Orange now and it tastes fantastic. It has all the Vitamins in it up to 10% but it has B12 to 100% per bottle. Does anyone think this would be bad to drink because I was buying the plain 16oz 24 pk of water and using flavor packs.

  46. Kim 31 August 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    I’m 13 and I’m doing a project on sparkling water. It’s sort of just a paper about it and I was wondering if there are any significant tooth decay related issues- if I were to drink two sparkling waters per day for like, say, a month, would I have to be careful about protecting my enamel and stuff? I read from other places its good for your heart on here and stuff but I can’t really come to a conclusion of any statistically and, i dunno, scientifically proven health benefit. If you replaced your regular six cups of water a day, with three cups of sparkling water and three cups of regular a day, just for an example, would you get the same benefits? (no, thats not my question haha don’t worry;P)

  47. Vanessa 2 September 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Hi, to the concerned people about the effects of CO2 and weight gain… You have to know that only sugar will make you gain weight. If you are drinking a sparking water that contains no sugar in the ingredients then you will not gain weight. Although, you might feel bloated if your body is not used to it but this simple effect of the CO2 in your body will soon after disappear.

  48. Hypotenuse 19 September 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    I don’t get referring readers back to the original post for questions hoping to isolate the sole effects of dissolving CO2 in the water. The original post clearly states that the sparkling water had a higher mineral content than the still water: “More likely, the benefit was associated with the high mineral content of the sparkling water compared to the still water it was tested against.” Testing a high mineral content sparkling water against a lower mineral content still water muddies the question, failing to test the effects of either the higher mineral content or the carbonation. Similarly, comparing dental erosion from sugary carbonated soft drinks to plain water speaks nothing of the erosion due to simple carbonation! Yes, Dr. Briffa, I read the entire post, forwards and backwards, repeatedly, and found no evidence-based statement isolating the health effects of simply carbonating water. As you present them, the studies compare apples and oranges! Where is the answer regarding carbonation? What is the answer regarding carbonation? Who is designing these studies which vary all the constituents but claim the results can be attributed to only one? Why not use the same still water source for carbonating, if results for carbonation are sought, or vary the minerals if results about minerals are sought? The conclusions you have presented do not seem evidence-based at all. Why test apples against oranges and make claims about bananas?

  49. mariapili 20 September 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Good afternoon! My concern is for my BF he is 45 years old has diabetes. He consumes pellegrino everyday 1 to2 bottles a day. He has been complaining about his body aching more especially his bones . Do you think the water has something to do with it?

  50. mariapili 20 September 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Good afternoon! My concern is for my BF he is 45 years old has diabetes. He consumes pellegrino everyday 1 to2 bottles a day. He has been complaining about his body aching more especially his bones . Do you think the water has something to do with it? Please advice me on what to do. Thank you

  51. andrew 30 September 2011 at 11:48 am #

    There is nothing wrong with drinking sparkling water, but worrying can kill you. The brand I buy in New Zealand has a little bit of baking soda added which can be a nice touch, especially if you want to bring the bodies acidity down. Also, some nice flavours are to add some mint leaves or any other edible leaves or herbs that you like, I add flat leaf parsley even though my neices think I’m mad. Also, soaking some herbal tea bags, spearmint, chamomile, fruit, berries or anything is also a nice way to go if you are feeling really daring… and doesn’t add acidity or calories, or as we call them here in NZ kilojoules. Drink up, also its a lot cheaper to order in a bar than their overpriced drinks but you’re still buying something, ah being cheap is great.

  52. calvin 7 October 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Sparkling water is very essential to the heart. i sometimes experience the symptoms of high blood pressure,and at times my heart would beat irregularly and fast. i wud feel like choking;running out of air, all sorts of things.Lately that feeling came back again.i tried all sorts of things to control it but it stayed on.And then that evening it happened that i was at a filing station doing a mini grocery.sparkling water wasnt on my list nor or my mind.i looked at the bottle in the fridge and something just told me that water could help stabilize my heart..well, truth of the matter is it really did help! my heart stopped complaining.i recommend it to people who experience what i used to. thank you

  53. bear 29 November 2011 at 1:20 am #

    i have been drinking carbonated mineral water for three weeks and i dont crave alcohal any more. i also do heavy conditioning with a sauna suit on every day for three or more hours at a time and feel it helps keep my body from depleting the wrong stores of energy in my body.thank you

  54. kiwi guy 5 December 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Hey,water people,.! In my country NewZealand on national T v they done a documentary on bottled water, according to the experts it is no different to the water out of the tap. well I guess what it boils down to is water is water, I am sure natural spring water put in a nice glass/plastic bottle would be alot healthier than city supply out of a treatment plant. Oh and guess what there was even talk about banning bottled water because of the contaminating effects of the plastic bottles???

  55. Wanda 14 December 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Hello everyone, i started drinking the Deer Park Sparkling Water and the only thing it makes me do is go to the bathroom i have not felt any side effect yet, but if i do i will stop drinking the water.I not a big water person, but i was told to drink the Sparkling Water.Have anyone tryed the Deer Park Water.What is your story.

  56. puja 19 December 2011 at 11:41 am #

    hey, I have stomach acid problem is it good to drink naturally carbonated spring water to reduce it ?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. oodles of goodles » Blog Archive » Sparkling Water Drink Recipes - 25 September 2009

    [...] for digestion, contains silica – a vital trace mineral in the formation of tough bones, and has heart-friendly properties. It’s a great drink for those who just want a little kick in their water or for those who may [...]

  2. Oodles of Goodles » Blog Archive » What’s All The Fizz? - 27 September 2010

    [...] in the formation of tough bones (because it contains silica – a vital trace mineral), and has heart-friendly properties. It’s also great drink for those who want a little kick in their water or for those who may just [...]

  3. Are Fizzy Drinks Bad For Us? - 6 November 2012

    [...] Journal of Nutrition study, discussed by Dr Briffa, found that drinking of sparkling mineral water did not lead to an [...]

Leave a Reply