There are a lot of myths and misconceptions in the debate around sparkling or still water. People get concerned about quite a few things:
- Digestion or gut health
- Tooth and mouth impact
While sparkling waters tend to act different for all of these, for the most part, the impact seems to be minor or not noticeable unless you are a true connoisseur of waters. The myths tend to grow as a result of sparkling waters and the flavors added – so let’s get some clarity (see what we did there???)…
Sparkling water that is just water and carbonation provides the same levels of hydration as still waters. Once flavors are added, then the myths begin to take on the shape of actual fact. Sparkling waters with citric flavors added (lemon, lime, etc. and either artificial or natural) can have a negative impact on tooth enamel if consumed in sufficient quantity. Even the USDA recommends plain sparkling water as a good alternative to other fizzy beverages – this removes the sugars and most of the artificial additives that concern the USDA.
The gut health thing is also a myth – when applied to plain sparkling water. There is even some schools of thought that the carbonation can help improve gut health – but the information tends to point to the minerals contained in the sparkling water (tough to draw conclusions about regular sparkling water when sparkling mineral water was used in the experiment!). This then begs the question – do mineral waters perform differently in their sparkling or still forms? Let’s explore…
All mineral waters provide an enhanced flavor experience over filtered or reverse-osmosis (RO) waters. In sparkling water, this tends to manifest in a slightly acidic “bite” while still mineral water provides a creamier mouth feel with enhanced flavors depending on the level of mineral content. As an example, Superior Natural Mineral Water provides the sensation of drinking a rich chardonnay (full, round moth feel) with some hints of flavors added by the minerals contained in our water due to the source – a Lake Superior aquifer. This makes our water a perfect pairing for lighter meat and seafood dishes where sparkling mineral water pairs better with more acidic dishes and (depending on bubble sizes found in the sparkling varieties) with hotter or sweeter dishes.
The final piece is hydration – do the two types of mineral water act differently? The answer is no – and yes! No because the hydration rates are pretty similar – so the body is taking in the water at the same rate. Yes because of the potential for bloating caused by consuming larger quantities of carbonated beverages. The studies we have seen point more towards sweetened fizzy beverages but that discomfort is not uncommon when active adults consumer carbonated plain water while “active” (exercising, walking, hiking, etc.). It appears that still mineral water – like ours – is still the overall best beverage for living an active lifestyle.
In conclusion – since you only get this one life, shouldn’t you make it Superior?
Link to pairing chart
Link to Mineral chart