Good or Bad: Seltzer

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Interested in staying hydrated with options beyond flat water? Effervescent seltzer may seem like a refreshingly healthy choice, but how healthy is it? Find out.

Good

Thirst quenching and often more appetizing than plain old H20, seltzer can be a refreshing alternative. The carbonation and flavorful varieties lead many folks to take in more fluid, improving their hydration. Seltzer can also be used to cut the calories in other beverages, as it’s a great mixer for juices and cocktails. Thanks to handy gadgets like SodaStream, you can even concoct your own custom sparkling creations.

Contrary to swirling rumors, there’s a lack of scientific evidence to support that carbonated water ruins tooth enamel or has a negative effect on bone health. Some dentists will caution against an abundance of seltzer because it is more acidic than water — and there’s certainly a risk to oral health if your bubbly beverage of choice is sweetened with sugar. As for bone health, as long as your intake of calcium and vitamin-rich foods and beverages is coming in elsewhere, there’s no need to be concerned about seltzer working against you.

Bad

Not all seltzers are created equal, so it’s worth a peek at the label. Some brands use sugar and artificial sweeteners, which adds calories and chemicals, respectively. Furthermore, all that carbonation can aggravate digestive conditions like frequent heartburn or reflux in those who are prone. If you notice an increase in tummy woes, it may be time to reduce your seltzer intake or cut it out altogether.

Bottom Line: As long as your bubbly water is free of added junk and doesn’t upset your stomach, feel free to sip away.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.