From La Croix to Spindrift, we’re all loving the lightly flavored fizz that is sparkling water. Not only are celebs loving it (and, from the looks of it, everyone you follow on Instagram), but earlier this summer, an artist showcased a collection called "9 Cans of LaCroix" to perfectly capture the fervor.
But if you glug can after can of sparkling H2O all day long, is that okay?
Actually, it probably is totally fine, says Keri Glassman, R.D., founder of NutritiousLife.com. “If you’re choosing sparkling water that has no sugar or artificial sweeteners in it, then it’s completely fine," she says. "We love LaCroix in our house and they do count toward your fluid intake to keep you hydrated."
But if you read the alarming headlines saying that “fizzy drinks could make you fat,” then you may be wondering about the study everyone was talking about recently. Newly published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, the authors found that the carbon dioxide gas in carbonated waters altered levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, possibly upping your appetite and spurring weight gain.
They concluded that, along with added sugar, it may be one reason that soda is linked to obesity. But the study was small, and way more research is needed to suggest you should overhaul your habits. For the most part, if you feel good while drinking sparkling waters, then keep sipping. But if you start experiencing some side effects, then that’s a signal your body’s throwing at you to scale back.
“Because of the bubbles, some people get bloated, gassy, and constipated,” says Glassman. If these symptoms sound familiar, drink less carbonated water, and see if that helps your stomach troubles.
The other question many people have about flavored seltzers revolves around the ambiguous term “natural flavors.” If drinks are unsweetened and calorie-free, it begs the question: Where is that flavoring really coming from?
We don't really know, says Glassman. “'Natural’ doesn’t mean much," she says. "However, of all the ingredients in your food to worry about, I wouldn’t stress out about it or avoid drinking them just because of natural flavors,” says Glassman.
The best option is to grab plain club soda and cut your own chunks of fruit to infuse the water, says Glassman, but it’s far more convenient to pop the top on a can—so it's understandable if you'd rather choose that option. Your best bet is to examine the ingredients list and nutrition label of your sparkling H2O of choice. Make sure yours has no added sugar or artificial sweeteners and is low in calories. (Spindrift, for instance, flavors with fruit juice and puree and contains fewer than 15 calories per can.)