Fizzy drinks filled with CO2 gas have never been more popular. According to the trade journal Beverage Industry’s 2020 State of the Industry report, seltzer and sparkling water sales accounted for an enormous 1.8 billion units of all bottled water sales in the United States in 2019. The UK-based market research company Mintel Reports noted that sparkling water is among the most rapidly growing non-alcoholic categories, as sales have steadily risen by 11% between the years 2013 and 2018. Whether you love Spindrift or LaCroix, Polar Seltzer or Topo Chico, Perrier or one of the hundreds of flourishing boutique brands, chances are, you’re guzzling more fizzy drinks than ever before.
But is it healthy for you to drink so many bubbly beverages? Well, for starters, if the drinks happen to also contain alcohol, sugar, or any other unhealthy ingredients, there’s a short answer: No. But is the carbonation itself bad for you? We set out to learn more, and what follows are just some of the side effects we’ve found of drinking too many carbonated beverages that you should be aware of. And if you feel as though you’re drinking too many soft drinks, specifically, don’t miss these 40 Dangerous Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Soda.
Your Acid Reflux Could Get Worse
Given that carbonated water can be acidic in nature, it can cause issues for drinkers who are prone to acid reflux. According to health experts, when all of those CO2 bubbles enter the stomach, they expand and can increase the amount of pressure put on the lower esophageal sphincter, which connects your esophagus to your stomach. All of that added pressure can force stomach acids to creep back into the esophagus, potentially intensifying reflux symptoms. If you’re among the millions of Americans who suffer from digestive disorders, you’d be wise to forgo seltzers, sparkling waters, sodas, and other carbonated beverages.
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It Could Make Your IBS Worse
It’s a known fact that drinking carbonated beverages can lead to bloating and gas. (This is why at least one leading nutritionist says that the single worst time of the day to drink a soda is before you exercise.) According to a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, among the many diet recommendations for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome—including establishing a firm eating schedule and getting sufficient fiber—is avoiding carbonation.
“Water and other non-caffeinated drinks, for example, herbal teas, are recommended as a beverage for patients with IBS,” says the study. “In contrast, carbonated water and other carbonated beverages should be avoided by IBS patients, because they may cause symptoms. One study reported more [gastrointestinal] symptoms from carbonated beverages among IBS patients compared with controls.”
Yes, You Could Erode Your Teeth
Many health experts remain divided on the question of whether or not all carbonated beverages cause tooth decay. If you’re drinking a carbonated beverage that contains added ingredients such as sugar or citric acid, it’s definitely the case. Research from the Birmingham Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry in the UK, for example, found that prolonged exposure to flavored sparkling waters adversely affected the surface of teeth.
Your Bones May Lose Density
If you’re regularly drinking darker variations of sodas—or any soft drinks, for that matter—there are plenty of reasons to stop. But there’s at least one side effect to drinking too many darker beverages that you may not be aware of.
According to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking colas, specifically—not other forms of carbonated beverage—was associated with low bone mineral density in women. “The only drinks that cause bone loss are dark colas, which have phosphoric acid that leads to losing calcium in your bones,” says Lori Welstead, MS, RD, LDN, of the University of Chicago School of Medicine. “Sparkling mineral water has calcium in it, which can improve bone health. And the carbonated mineral waters with magnesium and calcium may have bone-boosting benefits.”
There’s a Small Risk of Infection
In 2017, medical experts from the popular TV show The Doctors tested the tops of aluminum beverage cans gathered from gas stations, vending machines, and grocery stores. Though most came up clean, some from the groceries were positive for E. coli, which can cause diarrhea, respiratory illness, and pneumonia.
In 2013, a CBS TV station in Texas took swabs of the top of cans in gas stations, restaurants, colleges, and vending machines and found that they were infected with stenotrophomonas maltophilia, pseudomonas luteola, and enterobacter cloacae. These harmful pathogens can cause illness and infections in immune-compromised folks.
And for more news you need to know, don’t miss The #1 Danger Sign You’re Drinking Too Much Soda, According to Experts.