Wednesday, October 27

Sparkling water: more risks than benefits?

What are the benefits of sparkling water? What harm can sparkling water do? Is sparkling or still water better? Despite the fact that in Spain still water is more consumed, the version with gas has grown in recent years And it has gained some popularity, reaching 100 kilos in 2020.

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One reason for this increase is that health-conscious consumers are turning to this type of water as a healthier alternative to soft drinks and juices because it is often hailed as a better option.

What is sparkling water

Before entering into assessing whether it is better or not, it is important to know and know what exactly is sparkling water. In the first place, it is important to note that there are many types, as stated by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU): bicarbonated, calcium, sulphated, sodium, magnesium, chlorinated.

They all share their composition: water with dissolved carbonic acid, which is what gives it the bubbly appearance.

In addition to carbonic acid they contain other components such as calcium, sodium, chlorine, nitrogen and magnesium, a composition very similar to that of normal water. With a pH between 6 and 7, sparkling water has a particular acidity point. What differentiates these types of beverages depends on factors such as carbonation methods, water sources, and added ingredients.

We can also talk about two large groups depending on the elaboration: those that contain this carbonic acid naturally, from the spring, and the gasified ones, that is, to which this carbonic acid is added in the production process.

With a bitter taste, sparkling water has clear followers, but also clear detractors. Therefore, its particular organoleptic properties, which stimulate the taste buds, leave no one indifferent and generate all kinds of beliefs.

The reasons to drink sparkling water

Among the main benefits associated with this type of water, the following stand out:

  • It’s satiating: generates a certain pressure on the stomach walls that causes a feeling of satiety to occur, calming the appetite. Drinking one or two glasses before eating helps us control caloric intake. Therefore, they would be indicated for people with a tendency to be overweight or obese.
  • Facilitates digestions: carbonic acid stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and, therefore, facilitates digestion.
  • It is low in calories: sparkling water provides hardly any calories.
  • Hydrates as well as still water: various studies have shown that sparkling water hydrates in the same way as regular water. Although, as a negative point, bubbles can make us feel fuller and, therefore, reduce the amount of water we drink.

Sparkling water is a good way to hydrate ourselves, although it is important to read the label carefully to verify that it really is only carbonated water, with no ingredients or added sugars (soda style).

Sparkling water, does it have contraindications?

There is no evidence that sparkling water has harmful effects on health. It has been linked to negative effects on teeth due to the carbonation process, in which carbonic acid is introduced, which can have a slight erosive effect on the teeth if taken for a long time.

This may be so in the case of flavored carbonated waters because they contain small amounts of citric acid, but it hardly happens with sparkling water without added sugars or additives. According to research published in Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, sparkling mineral water is a hundred times less harmful for the teeth than a sugary soda.

Another major belief is that sparkling water is bad for bones because of its high acid content. It is an issue that is associated with sparkling water because carbonated soft drinks such as cola are related to a low bone density in women.

However, a study published in British Journal of Nutrition It said in 2007, after comparing the bone health of postmenopausal women who drank a liter of still mineral water a day with those who drank the same amount but sparkling mineral water, that there are no significant differences between the two groups.

The exception to the adverse effects of sparkling water is that it can make flatulence worse because, like other soft drinks, they aggravate symptoms such as gastrointestinal pain, bloating and gas. In this case, it would be more advisable to consume still water so as not to generate more gas in the digestive system.

This would also explain why the consumption of sparkling water is not recommended for people with hiatal hernia or the feeling of a bloated belly or abdominal distension.

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