Article by Andrea Cole, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
A RealFoodToronto.com customer recently asked if she had to worry about the sodium content in sparkling water. In this article I will answer that question, discuss pH, common bloating, as well as provide an overview of the major brands of sparkling waters on the market.
When I refer to “sparkling water” I’m referring to naturally sourced mineral water that is carbonated in some way, and not Club Soda or Seltzers. And by “mineral water” I’m talking about water taken from underground springs, mountains or other physically protected water sources. It seems that generally the European sparkling waters have higher amounts of minerals compared to the Canadian contingent in this article (Eska), but all have at least 250 parts per million of dissolved mineral solids including Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Bicarbonate, Sulfate, Nitrate and Silica. Minerals are a necessary part of our diet, but our bodies only need small “trace” quantities. Certainly if you are consuming whole foods, you’re getting enough minerals and I would not go as far as to say drinking sparkling water is beneficial for its mineral content.
Since mineral waters are naturally sourced, the sodium comes from natural sources as well which we know to have health benefits. The amounts are not huge, anywhere from 3mg/L (Eska), 12mg/L (Perrier), 32mg/L (Pellegrino) to 118mg/L (Grolsteiner) (3) – none will put you over the recommended intake of sodium. The Recommended Daily Amount for sodium is around 1300-2300mg/day (2), and as long as you are eating a diet based on whole foods and not solely consisting of processed or restaurant foods, you’re probably well within that limit.
We know that our bodies need to maintain a very narrow pH range of 7.35-7.45 (this range is effectively neutral, or very slightly alkaline – since the range is from 0 – acidic to 14- alkaline). Having too many acidic foods and drinks, or acid-causing foods and drinks, will disrupt this balance. Now, our bodies will maintain balance no matter what otherwise death occurs. But, is it harder on our kidneys, digestion, teeth and bones to have acidic things? Maybe. In the case of mineral water, it seems it is only a small concern. They are only slightly acidic, not anywhere near the acidity of colas or other sweetened carbonated drinks:
|Sparkling Mineral Waters in this article||5.3-6|
|Normal range for surface water systems||6.5-8.5|
The bottom line is there is no concern from a pH perspective in drinking naturally occurring mineral water that has been carbonated. The carbonation does make the pH more acidic, but nothing to be concerned about.
Most, if not all people, will experience some degree of bloating from drinking carbonated beverages of any sort. This really depends on your body and how much you’ve consumed. I realize that the feel of the bubbles in your mouth elevates the water to something special, but obviously, if you’re experience uncomfortable bloating after drinking sparkling water, than don’t drink sparkling water.
An overview of major brands and our in-house taste tests:
I have not assigned an official rank since taste is subjective. From our panel of 8 judges tasting the following four waters, Pellegrino, Eska and Perrier were all ranked as favourites amongst the judges. Only Gerolsteiner did not receive top ranking from any judge.
QUOTES FROM OUR JUDGES
|From the foothills of the Italian Alps near Bergamo, Italy and has added CO2 from a natural mine.||“That’s Pellegrino!”, “Minerally aftertaste in mouth”, “Fine bubbles”|
|From underground at the St. Mathieu Esker, Quebec from underground glacial rock. CO2 is added at bottling.||“Clean taste, fine bubbles”, “Fizzy, tangy, tingles on the tongue”, “Tastes and feels more carbonated”.|
|Perrier||From the Vergeze spring in France, it is naturally carbonated but the CO2 is removed and re-added for consistent carbonation.||“Milder”, “Very bubbly”, “Mineral aftertaste”.|
|Gerolsteiner||From a volcanic crater lake in the Eifel region of western Germany. It is naturally carbonated.||“Very Club-Soda-ish”, “Tasted like bar soda from a gun”, “flat”.|
Try your own taste test and see which you like, but feel free to enjoy sparkling water without worrying about salt or acidity. We all need to stay hydrated and pure, clean natural water benefits our health with needed minerals too!
- Spritzler, Franziska. Carbonated (Sparkling) Water: Good or Bad? Authority Nutrition. Jan 10, 2017. http://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/differences-mineral-water-tonic-club-soda-seltzer-article
- Government of Canada. Sodium: The Basics. 2013. Web. Jan 18, 2017. http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating-saine-alimentation/nutrients-nutriments/sodium/basics-savoir-eng.php
- Reinagel, Monica. Is Mineral Water Good For You?. July, 2010. Jan, 18, 2017. http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating/is-mineral-water-good-for-you
Asprey, Dave. Mineral Water Benefits: Why Drink Bubbly Mineral Water Every Day. Web. Jan. 10, 2017. https://blog.bulletproof.com/mineral-water-benefits-pellegrino-sulphates/
Dukor, Matt. The Differences between Mineral Water, Tonic, Club Soda, Seltzer Water. Epicurious.com, Feb. 2015. Web. Jan. 11, 2017. http://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/differences-mineral-water-tonic-club-soda-seltzer-article
Gunnars, Kris. Authority Nutrition. The Salt Myth – How Much Sodium Should You Eat Per Day? Web. Jan 11, 2017. https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-sodium-per-day/
Llyod, Robin. Livescience. Acids in Popular Sodas Erode Tooth Enamel. March, 2007. Web. Jan 18, 2017. http://www.livescience.com/7198-acids-popular-sodas-erode-tooth-enamel.html