Not all sparkling waters are healthy. Some contain loads of sugar while appearing to be a healthy option. Others include questionable ingredients that could harm your health or hurt your weight loss efforts in the long run. Your time is precious, so I’ve read the labels for you. Allow this list to guide your healthy sparkling water choices so you know you’re always making a great purchase!
The Offenders: Sparkling Waters That Are Not As Healthy As You Think
- San Pelligrino
- Sparkling Ice
- Polar Frost
- Vitamin Water
- Izze Fusion and Sparkling Juice (decent, but high in sugar)
- Gatorade, Powerade, etc
- Some store brands- read your labels!
Some of the questionable ingredients include
- Sugar: linked with weight gain, Type II Diabetes, cancer, mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and memory issues to name a few. Save your sugar rations for something delicious and not your sparkling water.
- Splenda: although regarded as safe, this sweetener has been very controversial in recent years. It’s inertness, ability to raise blood sugar levels, how it affects your gut bacteria, and how safe it is when heated are all under question.
- Sucralose: (See above for Splenda)
- Aspartame: also regarded as safe, but many people have experienced awful side effects from a reaction to this sweetener.
These are the most common ones I’ve seen on labels, but you can also be on the lookout for other artificial sweeteners: Acesulfame Potassium, Advantame, Neotame, and Saccharin.
You can come to your own conclusion about the safety of these, but research also shows that they could interfere with your body’s caloric regulation system, causing short-term weight loss but long-term weight gain. Other research shows that these will not help you lose weight unless you’re an avid calorie tracker and meal planner. And artificial sweetener consumption has been associated with Type II Diabetes diagnoses in non-obese adults. Yikes!
They can help you short-term to reduce your sugar intake and help with any withdrawals or cravings, but I personally wouldn’t recommend consuming anything that’s questionable- which I know is a full-time job! That’s why this list should make your life easier:
Healthy Sparkling Water Options
This list includes Sparkling and Flavored Water and Seltzer water. It is not an exhaustive list, but covers the top brands. Some are sweetened with stevia (which so far appears to be a safe sugar substitute), and others have no sweeteners at all.
Brands that are good:
- La Croix
- Hint “Kick” has caffeine
- Zevia (has a soda alternative as well as a sparkling water to choose from)
- Polar Seltzer
- Arrowhead Sparkling
- Poland Springs Sparkling
- Bai Bubbles
- Topo Chico Sparkling Mineral Water
- Coconut Water is all the rage right now, and Zico is a great choice!
- Some store brands are cheaper and acceptable- read your labels!
If packets to dump into a water bottle are on your list, most are crap. Go with:
How to Read Your Labels
If your brand isn’t on here, or you’re hoping to buy your grocer’s affordable store brand, here’s what to check for:
- Calories: you want as close to zero as possible, since that’s a common option :)
- Serving size: double check to make sure a serving size is 1 can or bottle so you’re not unknowingly drinking 2x the calories or sugar that you thought you were
- Ingredients: healthy ingredients will include something like carbonated water, natural flavors
- Stevia might be a sweetener (sometimes written: stevia leaf extract) – it’s not unhealthy necessarily, but if you think it’s gross, shoot for a sparkling water with no sweetener at all
- Unhealthy ingredients to watch out for: splenda, sucralose, aspartame, sugar, the other artificial sweeteners mentioned above, really anything weird that’s not carbonated water and natural flavors!
- Natural flavors can be questionable, but I’m not going there because they are in everything! If you’re concerned, check the company’s website, contact them, or just choose La Croix!
If it has anything questionable, look for another choice.
Is Sparkling Water Safe to Drink?
Crentist the Dentist
As for your pearly whites, it seems that plain sparkling water damages teeth only slightly more than still water, but 100 times less than sugar soft drinks. Studies show that sugary beverages, whether carbonated or not, are the ones to watch out for. Many people drink these to avoid soda, so this is still a better choice. If you’re concerned, rinse your mouth out after, or fight cravings even more by brushing your teeth more frequently throughout your day!
BPA and Blood Pressure
Ugh. I’m so tired of talking about BPA, but here we are again. Some studies and organizations claim it’s safe. Others show it causes a spike in blood pressure for up to 2 hours after consuming. It’s also suggested that BPA could disrupt your thyroid hormone.
BPA is found in both cans and plastic bottles. To avoid altogether, find a brand that produces in glass bottles, like Perrier, Voss, or Topo Loco (or La Croix if you’re a WI local- WHAT). This would be something to consider if you already have high blood pressure or thyroid concerns. I personally just limit myself to once a day, and I get my vitals checked a few times a year at various doctor appointments!
Good news! Sparkling waters have been linked with improved swallowing, improved digestion, improving heart health, and increasing feelings of fullness. Yippee! I personally have seen it used as great tool for many of my clients to decrease soda and sugar consumption and help with cravings.
You Do You
If you’re turning to flavored or sparkling water to kick your soda habit, it might help to start out with something sweetened with stevia or a little bit of sugar and work your way down to no sweetener! Do what you gotta do to be healthy! :) Sometimes it’s cold turkey, sometimes it’s baby steps. Do what works for you.
If the idea of reading labels or buying glass bottles stresses you out, just start where you are and go from there. It’s a healthy journey, not a healthy standardized test where you have one shot to know everything. Chill out and go at your own pace. Grab a six pack of one of the healthy options above and go from there.
I’d love to answer any questions you have about this, and please share with your friends who may be choosing an unhealthy option! Reading labels can be frustrating, so I’m hoping that highlighting go-to brands can help!
Share with me your go-to brands in the comments! And pin or share this for easy access.
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