Or is it one big, bubbly lie?
We all have that one friend who downs cans of La Croix faster than you can drink a bottle of water. Sparkling water lovers claim they drink more cups of water daily, the drink is totally calorie free, and it's a better alternative to drinking soda. But on the flip side, carbonated water has gotten a lot of negative attention due to studies claiming too much can destroy the enamel on your teeth, and questions have also been raised about sparkling water's hydrating power.
The truth is, carbonated water is totally fine and can hydrate you just as well as still water. The trick here is to be sure the sparkling water you pick up is truly 100 percent water and carbonation, says Cooking Light's Food and Nutrition Director Brierley Horton, M.S., R.D. As long as you're avoiding sparkling waters with added flavorings, sugars, and citric acid—and you're sticking to a well balanced diet—you're hydrating yourself well.
One study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined how effectively still water was able to hydrate compared to 13 other beverages. The study found there was little difference when it came to hydrating with still water, sparkling water, coffee, and many other popular drinks. The USDA even recommends both still and unsweetened sparkling water as good replacements for sugar-sweetened beverages, and says they could potentially reduce the risk for obesity.
If you're concerned about the health of your teeth, carbonated water is more acidic than plain water and has potential to mess with your enamel. Most people will not consume enough sparkling water to cause damage, but you can reduce risk by always eating food when drinking carbonated beverages or carbonating your water with fluoride.
Sparkling drinks that have any added or natural flavorings or sugars can absolutely mess with your mouth, and are not preferred for daily hydration. Most brands will use a citrus-based flavoring to enhance the drink, and this can erode the enamel of your teeth if consumed in excess.