Is carbonated water as hydrating as regular water?

We are all familiar with the rule of thumb that drinking eight glasses of water a day helps keep us hydrated, especially in the heat of summer. But what if you’d prefer bubbly H20 instead? Cracking open your favorite carbonated water can be a refreshing reprieve on a steamy day. 

The nation’s thirst for sparkling water is reflected in the skyrocketing sales as more Americans turn away from soda and other sugary drinks. The upsides to the effervescent, calorie-free, sugar-free drink are crystal clear, if you ask Katie Johnson, registered dietician and certified health and wellness coach.

“Carbonated water absolutely counts for hydration,” Katie said.  

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study comparing hydrating effects of different beverage options, including sparkling water. The research found no lesser effect of hydration with sparkling water in comparison to regular still water.

Both have the same base ingredient, however, sparkling water includes carbon dioxide — which is what gives it its effervescence. Those extra bubbles don’t necessarily play a role in its hydration abilities but may make a difference in the amount some people can consume without feeling too full. 

The bubbles may cause a build-up of gas and lead to bloating and discomfort but Katie said in some cases, it may also aid in digestion. 

For those looking to put some variety in their regular water intake, the CDC recommends drinking sparkling water as a healthy alternative to sugary, calorie-filled beverages to help prevent obesity. 

In fact, Katie said because of that feeling of fullness, you’ll consume less, as well — thereby reducing the consumption of additional calories. That said, you’ll also want to keep hydration in mind, continuing still water, as needed. 

“If people are worried about recognizing signs of proper hydration, I tell them to watch for signs of dehydration like headache, fatigue, moodiness and dark urine. Light-colored urine is good sign that you are where you should be,” Katie said.

Whether you’re reaching for regular still or sparkling water, the Mayo Clinic outlines how to gauge how much water you need to keep your body healthy each day, recommending people adjust their water intake based on several factors. 

Exercise: Mayo Clinic says if an activity makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss, especially before, during or after a work-out.

Environment: Consider hot or humid weather. Sweating it out in high temperatures requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.

Overall health: If you are sick, your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor's recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Bladder infections and urinary tract stones are also conditions that require more water intake. 

Pregnancy or breastfeeding: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need additional fluids. Recommendations for pregnant women increase to 10 cups of fluids daily, and women who breastfeed even more, with 13 cups of fluids each day. 

However you choose to meet your daily water intake, leading research gives you permission to go ahead, guzzle down the fizzy stuff and raise your can towards a healthy, hydrated summer. 

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