I love carbonated drinks. I have a soda stream, so my fizz of choice tends to be simply diluting juice with added sparkle. The question I really have to ask, is should I really be drinking any fizz at all?
We all know the sugary fizzy drinks, otherwise known as soda, pop, or ale depending on where in the country we live in, are really bad for us, and I keep reading that the diet versions are horrendous too.
I used to be addicted to Diet Irn Bru. I say addicted as it was all I drank. I’d get through at least 2 x 2 litre bottles in a day. Weaning myself off the drink took nearly two weeks and lots of headaches, but I can now happily take a coffee, Diet Irn Bru or Diet Coke without getting a caffeine headache, although caffeine does give me acid reflux.
My concern exists as I prefer my drinks sparkly to still, and people keep telling me that all carbonated water is bad. I thought I’d have a look to see what I could find on it.
So, Is Carbonated Water Bad for You?
With a quick Internet search, we could be forgiven for thinking that we are going to pop our clogs if we don’t stop drinking fizz, as our bones will deteriorate into a mess of osteoporosis, with rotten teeth, smelly breath, stomach pain, excess wind and possibly even cancer. All of those things really are food for thought.
The Truth About Calcium
I found no evidence that drinking fizzy water with added juice would do anything at all to my bones or my teeth. There is the possibility that the only reason people have calcium deficiency could really be just because they take in less calcium in their diet as a result of possibly only drinking fizzy drinks.
In 2005, the British Journal of Nutrition published the results of a small clinical trial comparing healthy postmenopausal women who drank about one quart of non carbonated mineral water daily with those who drank the same amount of carbonated mineral water. After eight weeks, blood and urine tests for bone turnover showed no difference between the two groups.
So, if drinking carbonated water doesn’t add to osteoporosis or teeth decay, what does?
Some studies report caffeine as the culprit, and as someone who was once addicted to caffeine, I can relate to the problem. There are suggestions that caffeine hinders the absorption of calcium in our bodies, even if we have ingested enough to be healthy.
All water, tap, mineral and spring contains small amounts of calcium and other minerals.
The Journal of Nutrition study, discussed by Dr Briffa, found that drinking of sparkling mineral water did not lead to an increase in blood pressure and may actually be beneficial for our bodies. I’m happy to live with that as fizz is a big part of my life.
What about flavours?
This is where we can easily fall down. Cola can strip a penny back to the shiny new piece of metal it once was. It will have caffeine, either sugar or sweetner, and possibly a whole raft of colourings, additives and flavourings. It seems a good idea to make sure that if we use flavourings, we look at what is actually on the label, and decide if that is what we really want to drink.
Will I keep drinking fizzy drinks?
After reading article upon article, I think I have enough of a handle on what it does and doesn’t do, so I can give an appropriate answer to the next person who tells me that my fizzy water is the root of all evil. I will also enjoy the fact that I have a better chance for lower cholesterol, and relish the knowledge that I am not harming my teeth and bones after all.