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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Benefits of drinking seltzer water


Can of La Croix seltzer water.

As a long time consumer of seltzer water—or soda water, or sparkling water, or club soda, or whatever else you may call it—I am here to sing its praises. Seltzer is a perfect choice for those who do not like to drink water because it is so plain, but desperately need to hydrate.

Even though how much water one needs to drink per day varies between individuals, in general, men need 15.5 cups of fluids per day, and women need 11.5 cups of fluids per day. Though this amount of fluids does not merely need to consist of water, water is one of the healthiest ways to stay hydrated [1].

Even though soda and juice can make up part of the array of fluids that you need each day, drinking mostly soda or juice is not the healthiest way to hydrate. Soda and juice contain extra calories and sugar [1], which can be detrimental to your health. Seltzer is an especially attractive alternative to soda because, like soda, it is carbonated, and it can also provide more flavors than just plain water. 

Now, this begs the question: Why not just add an enhancer to your water to make it more appetizing and to meet your daily water quota? Water enhancers usually have few or zero calories, grams of fat, or grams of sugar, just like seltzer. However, liquid enhancers like Mio and Crystal Light often contain some sneaky additives that give them their signature taste without the sugar, calories, or fat.

Among these unhealthy ingredients are sucralose and aspartame [2], and food dyes, like Yellow 5 in Mio and Red 40 and Blue 1 in Crystal light [3,4]. The artificial sweeteners sucralose and aspartame sometimes can have adverse short-term effects such as headaches and diarrhea [5]; though the long-term effects of consuming these artificial sweeteners are contested, some believe they lead to unfavorable effects down the road [2]. Food dyes are also not a healthy ingredient; Yellow 5, Red 40 and Blue 1 may cause hypersensitivity reactions, while Yellow 5 and Red 40 are linked to containing benzidines or other cancer-causing agents [6].

Now that I may have ruined some of your favorite water alternatives, it’s only fair that I give you a new one, and you guessed it: It’s seltzer! Not only does seltzer not contain calories, sugar, or fat, but it usually only consists of two ingredients: carbonated water and natural flavors. [7] 

Though “natural flavors” can be a bit deceptive—the FDA defines it as “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis” of products like spices, fruits, vegetables, juices, edible plant materials, dairy products and more—”natural flavors” are certainly better than the synthetic chemicals found in the “artificial flavors” of sodas and liquid enhancers [8]. If you are still averse to the idea of “natural flavors,” you can get seltzer water that is plain, or make your own.

Besides being calorie and sugar-free without the addition of unhealthy artificial ingredients, seltzer has a myriad of benefits that not only make it better for you than other drinks, but actually distinguishes it as its own healthy drink.

Carbonated water can be helpful in digestion, as it aids in swallowing ability, helps to relieve constipation, and increases feelings of fullness. Though not many studies have been conducted, seltzer also has the potential to reduce your risk of heart disease [9].

The purpose of this article is not to advise you to never drink your favorite sugary beverages again, but rather to provide you with a healthy alternative. Seltzer is an excellent way to stay hydrated, and provides health benefits of its own. Next time you’re thirsty, try cracking open a can of seltzer!