Carbonated Water: All Things Good and Bad


November 9, 2023

Carbonated water is a refreshing beverage which can be considered an excellent alternative to sugary soft drinks. Infusing carbon dioxide in water under pressure produces carbonated water. This infusion of carbon dioxide gives a fizzy feel to carbonated water. Along with carbon dioxide, sometimes a certain amount of other minerals are also included in carbonated water. The pH of carbonated water ranges between 3-4, which makes it slightly acidic. This article discusses all the necessary details, including the benefits, nutritional profile and side effects of carbonated water.

Nutritional Profile of Carbonated Water

The nutritional value of carbonated water is relatively minimal. There may be some added minerals in carbonated water, but primarily, they provide the benefit of additional taste only. There is no noticeable nutritional health benefit attached to the added nutrients as they are available in very few quantities.

Here is the nutritional content of 1 bottle or 500 ml of unsweetened, carbonated water:

  • Calories: 0 
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Protein: 0 
  • Sodium: 106 mg
  • Potassium: 10.1 mg
  • Calcium: 25.4 mg
  • Magnesium: 5.07 mg

Types of Carbonated Water

On the basis of added flavourings and minerals, the common types of carbonated water are as follows:

  • Soda water: In the preparation of soda water, sodium bicarbonate and other acidity-regulating compounds are added along with carbon dioxide and water.
  • Mineral water: Mineral water is spring water treated with different minerals, including sulphur compounds and salts. Another way to artificially make it is to aerate distilled water with carbon dioxide or add salts to increase the carbonation. The mineral water has different levels of naturally occurring carbonation.
  • Tonic water: This type of carbonated water contains additional quinine. It is slightly bitter, which gets masked using sweeteners and flavourings.
  • Sparkling water: This type of carbonated water is made by filtering regular water and artificially carbonating it.


There are various kinds of carbonated water depending on the minerals and added flavourings. Different levels of natural carbonation are present in mineral water. Soda water is made by adding carbon dioxide, water, sodium bicarbonate, and other substances that control acidity.  While sparkling water is created by purifying ordinary water and adding artificial carbonation, tonic water has extra quinine.

Benefits of Carbonated Water

Carbonated water, often referred to as sparkling water or soda water, is a popular beverage known for its fizzy quality. While it is not necessarily a “healthy” drink, it does have certain characteristics that may offer advantages when compared to highly sugary alternatives. It’s important to note that one should consume carbonated water in moderation, and its benefits should be understood in context. 

Here are some potential advantages:

Alternative to Soda and Other Sugary Beverages

Carbonated water serves as a better alternative when compared to sugary beverages like soda, fruit juices, and sweetened cold drinks. Unlike these high-calorie and high-sugar options, carbonated water is calorie-free and sugar-free. Choosing carbonated water can help reduce your intake of excess sugars that are associated with various health concerns.

Helps Reduce Nausea

The process of carbonation in carbonated water helps reduce nausea and settle people’s uneasy feelings. Therefore, keeping carbonated water handy is suggested for people who face nausea as a common issue. That is why cruise ships serve carbonated water as a remedy for sea sickness. 

Improves Swallowing Ability

Consuming small quantities of carbonated water may enhance swallowing function in individuals of various age groups. The carbonation in sparkling water can stimulate the nerves responsible for swallowing, potentially benefiting those with swallowing difficulties.

May Provide Relief from Constipation

Carbonated water provides relief for the symptoms of indigestion, stomach pain and constipation. Carbonated water may help alleviate constipation by stimulating a natural response in the digestive system. When you consume carbonated water, the carbon dioxide gas dissolved in it can create bubbles and increase pressure in the stomach. This pressure can promote burping or belching, which, in turn, helps release trapped gas from the digestive tract. Additionally, the effervescence of carbonated water may encourage movement in the gastrointestinal tract, aiding in the passage of stool. However, it’s essential to consume carbonated water in moderation and not as a primary remedy for chronic constipation.

Increases the Feeling of Fullness

Compared to regular water, carbonated water may provide a more pronounced feeling of fullness after meals. Carbonated water can contribute to a greater sensation of fullness due to the carbon dioxide bubbles present in the liquid. When you consume carbonated water, the gas bubbles expand in your stomach, creating a distending effect that signals to your brain that your stomach is filling up. This increased sense of satiety can potentially assist with portion control and weight management. However, carbonated water cannot be a replacement for regular water.

Less Damaging than Other Sugary Beverages

When opting for carbonated water over sugary drinks like diet sodas, it can be less harmful to dental health. That is because carbonated water generally contains fewer acidic and sugary components that can erode tooth enamel.


It’s essential to recognise that carbonated water is not a “healthy” drink, but it does offer certain potential benefits when compared to excessively sugary alternatives. These advantages include serving as a calorie-free and sugar-free substitute, potential relief from nausea, improved swallowing function, relief from certain digestive discomforts, enhanced satiety, and reduced risk of dental damage. It is advisable to consume carbonated water in moderation and consider its benefits in the broader context of a balanced diet and lifestyle.

Additional Uses of Carbonated Water

Effective Cleaning Agent

Carbonated water is effervescent, which makes it an ideal and less damaging option for cleaning jewellery, removing rust, cleaning a decanter or removing red wine stains.

Making Other Flavourful Carbonated Beverages 

Carbonated water is one of the key ingredients in making soft drinks and beverages. Mix carbonated water, sweeteners and a flavouring agent. Plain carbonated water with pure fruit juice can be an alternative to bottled soft drinks.


Carbonated water is a substitute for plain water for preparing fluffy and light-textured batters and doughs. The lightness in the texture arises from the air pockets created by the carbon dioxide present in carbonated water, which gives a natural rise and expansion to the batter when cooked.

Potential Side Effects of Carbonated Water

While carbonated water is generally considered safe for most people, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects and risks associated with its consumption. Here are some possible disadvantages and side effects to consider:

1. Bloating and Burping

Carbonated water contains carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, which can lead to increased burping and abdominal bloating in some individuals. That is due to the gas bubbles released when you consume carbonated beverages.

2. Artificial Sweeteners

Some brands of carbonated water may include artificial sweeteners to enhance flavour. These sweeteners can cause digestive issues such as diarrhoea, and they may also impact gut microbiomes. It’s advisable to check the ingredient label for sweeteners and choose carbonated water with little to no added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

3. Not Suitable for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Individuals who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may find that carbonated water exacerbates their symptoms. The carbonation and gas in these beverages can contribute to abdominal discomfort and worsen bloating and cramping in people with IBS.

4. Slightly Acidic pH

Carbonated water tends to have a slightly more acidic pH compared to regular water. While this acidity is generally mild and not harmful, there is a small risk that frequent consumption of highly carbonated beverages could contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel over time. It’s advisable to be mindful of dental hygiene and, if concerned, consult with a dentist.


Carbonated water is a safe and enjoyable way to stay hydrated for most individuals. However, it should not be considered a complete replacement for regular water in your daily diet. It’s essential to be aware of potential side effects, including increased burping and bloating, the presence of artificial sweeteners, its potential impact on individuals with IBS, and the slightly acidic nature that may pose a minor risk to dental health. As with any beverage, moderation and mindful consumption are key to minimising any potential drawbacks. Always check the label for added ingredients and choose carbonated water that aligns with your health goals.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Try this DIY fruity carbonated water recipe to enjoy a refreshing drink while keeping your calorie intake under control. Take 4 cups of carbonated water, and 1 cup of ice cubes in a pitcher. Add in ½  cup blueberries, 1 cup strawberries, 1 sliced lemon, 5-10 mint leaves, and 5-10 basil leaves. Crush and muddle a few fruits first in a bowl before adding to flavour the water. Cover and refrigerate. Enjoy chilled! 

The Final Word

Carbonated water contains infused carbon dioxide in water, which adds a fizzy feel to it and helps in hydration. However, there has been a lack of clarity regarding the benefits and side effects related to carbonated water. Plus, it is essential to be mindful of the additional elements added to carbonated water, such as sugar, flavourings, and sodium. Although carbonated water may be considered the alternative to sugary drinks or alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, it cannot be an absolute substitute for regular water.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is carbonated water a healthy beverage choice?

A: Yes, other sugary beverages available in the market, such as soda drinks, fruit juices, and cold drinks with high calories and sugar content, may cause a lot of harm to the body. Since there are no carbohydrates or calories in carbonated water, it can be a replacement for all these sugary beverages.

Q: Does carbonated water have any health benefits?

A: Yes, carbonated water has multiple benefits, which include reducing nausea, increasing the feeling of fullness, providing relief in constipation, improving swallowing ability, and reducing the risk of dental damage in comparison to other sugary drinks.

Q: Are there any potential drawbacks to drinking carbonated water?

A: Carbonated water might cause side effects like burping, bloating, diarrhoea, and the slight possibility of eroding tooth enamel.

Q: Can carbonated water be harmful to your teeth?

A: Carbonated water is slightly more acidic than regular water. Hence, there is little risk of carbonation eroding the tooth enamel.

Q: Does carbonated water contribute to digestive issues?

A: Yes, carbonated water provides relief in the symptoms of indigestion, stomach pain and constipation.

Q: Can carbonated water affect bone health?

A: It is claimed that the calcium present in carbonated water may improve bone health. However, there is no scientific research to back this claim.

Q: Is it true that carbonated water can lead to weight gain?

A: In certain conditions, carbonated water may trigger the hunger hormone and may cause a slight increase in calorie intake. However, these effects vary.

Q: What is the impact of carbonated water on hydration?

A: Carbonated water provides almost equivalent amounts of hydration to regular water. However, it is not a complete replacement for normal water. 

Q: Does carbonated water have any impact on blood pressure?

A: Consumption of carbonated water may increase the cerebral blood flow. But there is no science-backed proof.

Q: Is there a connection between carbonated water and acid reflux?

A: The carbonation of Water may cause the acid from your stomach to rise into the throat and create an uncomfortable burning sensation.

Q: Can carbonated water trigger gastrointestinal discomfort?

A: Drinking excessive carbonated water may cause gas and bloating, causing gastrointestinal discomfort.

Q: What’s the difference between carbonated water and sugary sodas?

A: Sugary soda water and carbonated water are both made by infusing still spring water with carbon dioxide under pressure. However, soda water is further infused with bicarbonate of soda to create additional fizz.

Q: Is carbonated water a safe option for people with certain medical conditions?

A: Carbonated water might cause side effects. Hence, one must always check the label and be mindful of any added ingredients like sodium, sugar, and artificial sweeteners that may cause harmful effects on the body.

Q: Does carbonated water affect mineral absorption in the body?

A: There’s no scientific research to back the claim that carbonated water affects mineral absorption in the body.

Q: How does carbonated water compare to still water in terms of health effects?

A: Carbonated water may be considered an alternative to sugary drinks or alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, but it cannot be an absolute substitute for regular water.

Research Sources:

Data by the US Department of Agriculture on unsweetened carbonated water

Carbonated beverages and gastrointestinal system: between myth and reality:  A report by NIH 

Ingestion of carbonated water increases middle cerebral artery blood velocity and improves mood states in resting humans exposed to ambient heat stress.

Data of the US Department of Agriculture On carbonated Club soda

About the Author

Nahida is a registered dietician with 9 years of experience, working extensively with individuals dealing with obesity, diabetes, thyroid and PCOD. In addition, she has worked with NGOs supporting cancer patients by providing them with nutritional counseling. After completing her post-graduation in Dietetics & Applied Nutrition from Mumbai University, she went on to finish her MBA in Healthcare Services. Nahida is also a certified diabetes educator from International Diabetes Center. Currently a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe, Nahida is looking forward to let people take their weight off their mind and body by enjoying the journey.

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