Carbonated water is as hydrating as still water
CLAIM: Carbonated water doesn’t hydrate the body.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Carbonated water provides just as much hydration as still water and is acceptable to drink as a substitute, according to nutritionists.
THE FACTS: Indulging in carbonated water won’t dehydrate you, despite claims to the contrary shared online this week.
An Instagram user made the claims in a video this week, saying people who drink Perrier are “absolutely not getting any hydration” from it.
The post suggests that the acidity of carbonated water somehow affects its ability to hydrate people. In the video, the person pours a glass of yellow-colored seltzer water into a glass of blue-colored alkaline water, showing the mixture turning yellow. “It takes gallons and gallons of alkalized water to neutralize the acidic caused by carbonated water.” the caption reads.
But carbonated water is just as hydrating as regular water, according to nutritionists interviewed by the AP. And drinking acidic beverages doesn’t make the body too acidic, they said.
“For people who don’t like plain water, seltzer is a great choice despite rumors on social media,” said Lisa Young, an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Melissa Majumdar agreed, saying the volume of fluid consumed — whether through drinks or foods containing water, like fruit — is generally a more important metric than what kind of fluid. An exception is alcohol, which is a diuretic and interferes with hydration, she said.
Majumdar said the only way in which carbonated drinks could be less hydrating would be in cases where the bloated feeling of finishing a bubbly drink deters people from drinking enough volume.
“For most people, the flavor and the bubbles make it more enticing and therefore they drink more of it, and quicker,” she added.
It’s true that carbonated drinks can be more acidic than still water, which is associated with some health concerns when consumed in large amounts. For example, dentists have warned that drinking too many fizzy drinks can break down the protective enamel on your teeth.
The person in the widely shared video raised the issue of acid in carbonated water to claim drinking it can give someone acidosis.
But acidosis is an excess of acid in body fluid that occurs when someone is on a very low carb diet, has kidney failure, is dehydrated, or has diabetes or other serious medical conditions, Majumdar said. It is not caused by drinking seltzer water, she added.
“Your body is programmed to stay in a tight pH, or acid, balance and drinking carbonated water will not impact this,” she said. “Carbonated water has a similar acid level to orange juice.”
Majumdar said she didn’t know what was being mixed in the cups in the video, or what it was trying to show, but confirmed that “your body will not have a problem remaining in balance after drinking carbonated water.“
Nutritionist and dietitian Leslie Bonci agreed, saying, “Our body is able to maintain a pH of 7.35-7.45 regardless of foods and beverages consumed.
Young said she would not recommend carbonated water for people with irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal issues, because it can cause bloating. But for the average person, the benefits of hydration through seltzer water outweigh any potential downsides, especially if you wouldn’t otherwise drink enough fluids, the experts said.
“If a carbonated water helps somebody drink more volume, then I think it’s a great solution,” Majumdar said.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.