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Is sparkling water good for weight loss?

If you like carbonated beverages, sparkling water presents a healthy alternative.

Is Sparkling Water Good For Weight Loss? | Juniper

If you’re looking to kickstart your health and weight loss journey, chances are you’ve already taken a discerning eye to your diet — including what you drink.

With its high sugar content contributing to excess calorie intake, a preference for soft drinks can lead to weight gain. Not surprisingly, these beverages have been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

It's not all bad news, though. If you enjoy the sensation of carbonated beverages, sparkling water presents a healthy alternative. The key is choosing plain carbonated water, not flavoured options that may contain artificial sweeteners or added sugars. 

You may have heard of other alternatives in the sparkling water category. From club soda to tonic water and seltzer, these beverages often fall under the sparkling water category — but there is a clear distinction. Club soda and tonic water can have additional ingredients, whereas seltzer water has a neutral taste and no added minerals.

Though you won't lose weight directly if you drink soda, there are a range of benefits that mean it can help in your weight loss journey. Here, we'll dive into the world of sparkling water to give you an understanding of the key benefits, calorie intake, and what to look out for when purchasing.

What are the health benefits of sparkling water?

You need only head to the beverage aisle of your local supermarket to see that you're spoilt for choice. But as far as healthy options go, suddenly a wealth of options becomes increasingly limited. Thankfully, sparkling water is a healthy drink option that reigns far superior to soft drinks and sugar-laden fruit juices. 

Though sparkling water shouldn’t come to replace regular water, it’s a refreshing drink option that offers a number of health benefits. These include:

  • Hydration: The body must be hydrated for important functions like digestion, circulation, and temperature regulation. Much like regular water, sparkling water helps contribute to our overall hydration.
  • Zero calories: Where other soft drinks can be high in sugars and artificial flavours, sparkling water is calorie-free and a great option for those looking to maintain or lose weight without adding extra calories.  
  • Dental health: If you’re switching from regular soda to sparkling water, you’re doing wonders for your dental health. It’s far less acidic than soda and doesn’t contain sugar, which means it’s less likely to contribute to tooth decay and cavities. 
  • Satiety: Sparkling water has been found to contribute to feelings of fullness due to its fizzy, carbonated nature. This can help curb appetite and prevent unnecessary snacking and overeating.
  • Digestion: The carbonation in sparkling water has been found to help many with indigestion or provide relief for those experiencing an upset stomach.

Does sparkling water have calories?

If you’ve purchased a bottle of sparkling water only to question its nutritional information, the fact that it contains fewer calories than soda can be astounding. That’s right: no calories, no sugar, and no ingredients. It might seem too good to be true, but we’re talking about a beverage that is just water infused with bubble carbon gas. 

However, it’s important to note that this only applies to plain carbonated water.

Flavoured sparkling waters or sugar-sweetened beverages with ingredients like sweeteners or fruit extracts likely contain calories and some sugars. These should be avoided where possible, as they can hinder your weight loss goals by adding empty calories to your daily intake. 

Can sparkling water help you lose weight?

Drinking sparkling water can help with weight loss. When it comes to losing weight, hydration is vital. Not only does it help promote feelings of fullness, but it’s also important for digestion. With no calories or sugars, it makes for a better option when hydrating compared to other beverages like fruit juice, soda, and diet sodas. 

Here are the many benefits of sparkling water that can help with your weight loss:

  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is crucial for optimum health. Aside from the benefits to your skin and bodily organs, it’s also important for digestion and can help you stay regular. 
  • Boost metabolism: Drinking cold sparkling water forces your body to heat it, which in turn serves to boost your metabolism. It also activates your body's digestive process, helping break down foods and process them through your body faster.
  • Weight management: Given that the body can’t tell the difference between thirst and hunger, ensuring you’re getting adequate water is important. Carbonation takes up more space in the stomach and has been shown to increase both gastric activity and heart rate. What this means is that it contributes to feelings of fullness. A 2012 study in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology found that drinking carbonated water on an empty stomach is more filling than drinking plain water [5].
  • Improved digestion: Given its impact on the digestive system, it’s believed that those experiencing digestive problems might find relief with sparkling water. Some research has shown that sparkling water can help soothe the symptoms of constipation [1].

According to a study of 19 healthy young women, those who drank 250 mL of sparkling water reported higher scores of fullness compared to those who drank sparkling water [2]. So, while sparkling water can’t directly help with weight loss, the feelings of satiety it promotes can certainly help fight unplanned snacking. 

Can carbonated water trigger the hunger hormone ghrelin?

Ghrelin is one of several hormones linked to hunger and appetite. When your stomach is empty, ghrelin sends a signal to your brain saying it’s time to eat. Ghrelin levels increase between mealtimes before decreasing when your stomach is full. 

If you’re wondering how it relates to carbonated water, studies published in the National Library of Medicine found that carbon dioxide in carbonated beverages induces ghrelin release which then increases food consumption in male rats [3]. Given past studies showing a correlation between rising obesity and an increase in soft drink consumption, the trigger of ghrelin by carbonated beverages was championed as a potential factor. 

So, should you be concerned? Not exactly. A recent paper published by the University of Chicago Medicine suggests more research into this area needs to be done [4].

As researchers were quick to note, it’s been found that carbonated water can actually help improve feelings of satiety or fullness, having the complete opposite effect than that of triggering the hunger hormone. In fact, many have come to see carbonated beverages like sparkling water as a good alternative to regular soda for people who constantly feel hungry. 

Does sparkling water cause bloating?

The carbon dioxide gas in sparkling water means some people can experience gas and bloating. 

It’s advised that if you experience acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and have dealt with extra gas, bloating, or heartburn, you switch to non-carbonated beverages like plain water. If you drink carbonated water with a straw, this can also increase gas and bloating. 

Can you drink sparkling water every day?

So it's a healthier alternative to sugary drinks and diet soda, but is sparkling water safe to drink every day?

Sparkling water should never replace plain water entirely, but it’s a great option for those looking to stay hydrated with a calorie-free beverage. As long as you’re choosing plain sparkling water that’s calorie-free and doesn’t contain any added sugar or high fructose corn syrup, it’s safe to drink sparkling water every day.

Be mindful of your individual tolerance, as some people may experience gas, bloating, and some discomfort from the carbonation. If you experience any of these symptoms, adjust how much you’re consuming. 

Ultimately, sparkling water can be a great tool in aiding your weight loss, but it isn’t guaranteed to see you get the results you want. More important than simply switching up your drinking preferences is looking at long-term behavioural changes that can also be applied to your diet. 

With Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme, you’ll receive expert guidance and access to ground-breaking medication to ensure you hit your weight loss goals. With an expertly designed program led by seasoned medical professionals and health coaches, you can approach weight loss from a holistic view which is sure to set you on the path to success.

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