Sparkling water is often a favorite simply because it's tasty and fun to drink. It feels like a treat without the added calories. "Makes you feel like you are drinking something with a taste sensation. It easily bloats you, so it will make you feel full," says Dr. Goglia, cofounder of G-Plans, the first online nutrition platform based on a user's metabolic body type.
So why does this sparkling water — which is still water, of course — help with keeping us feel full? "When you drink enough fluid (I recommend 12-16 ounces immediately before and after each meal if persistent hunger is an issue), it stretches your stomach," says Paul Salter, RD, MS, Bodybuilding.com nutrition editor, and the founder of Fit in Your Dress.
"When this happens, the nerve endings lining your stomach wall become stimulated. When this happens, they send satiety signals to your brain. Carbonated fluid enhances the stimulation, and, thus, the strength of satiety signals sent to your brain," Salter says.
However, while satiety can be a great benefit of sparkling water if you're trying to curb hunger, there are also negative effects to drinking carbonated water, like the dangerous impact on our smiles. Sparkling water is made by putting CO2 in water, which produces carbonic acid. "The problem is the pH, which is the measure of acidity," says Dr. Kenneth Magid of Advanced Dentistry of Westchester. "The normal pH of water is 7 on a scale of 1-14, and most sodas have a low pH somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5. The problem is that low pH (acidic liquids and foods) work to remove the enamel of the teeth, they dissolve the enamel," says Dr. Magid.
In moderation, this is less of a problem, but "people who drink a lot of sparkling water can damage their teeth by removing the enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body and the protection for the tooth structure," says Dr. Magid. "If you combine sparkling water with parafunctional habits such as teeth grinding, then it's even worse because if you grind your teeth after the acid in the sparkling water has eroded the teeth, it makes it much more likely that you will remove the enamel from the teeth."
Sipping sparkling water all day long will expose your teeth to the acid for a much longer period of time, which is problematic. "The worst thing you can do is brush your teeth right after drinking sparkling water — the acidic water softens the enamel and then brushing works to remove the enamel," says Dr. Magid, who added that ways to protect your teeth if you do drink a lot of sparkling water include prescription-level fluoride, which tends to protect the teeth from acid. "There are other materials we dispense, such as MI Paste, which works to protect the teeth from acids," says Dr. Magid.
Dr. Goglia added that, "As carbonated water is more difficult to digest, due to the bubbles, it can lead to dehydration and put a strain on the kidney. Carbonated water is also considered acidic and can cause problems with weak digestive systems, which are prone to ulcers. It can also lead to an absorption of calcium, which can make your bones weak."
Regular water seems to be a better choice in the long run, but if you drink a carbonated beverage (soda, sparkling water), then do it in moderation and try to limit the exposure of time you drink it. "For example, when someone drinks soda, I tell them to buy a can, not a bottle. A can you drink at once, whereas a bottle it sits and you re-cap over a longer period of time," says Dr. Magid.