The authors hypothesise that the effect is probably down to caffeine and to the actions of phosphoric acid (not found in sparkling water) that are not yet well understood. Of course the mouth itself is a different environment from a jar, but so far the evidence for harm doesn’t seem to be very strong. In Sweden researchers compared short-sipping, long-sipping, gulping, nipping (whatever that might be) and sucking. So if you want a change from plain old water, then although it’s mildly acidic, so far there isn’t strong evidence to suggest that it’s harmful to your bones, your stomach or your teeth. But if you want to play safe and keep it away from your teeth, when you answer the question “still or sparkling”, perhaps you should also ask for a straw. But what about sparkling mineral water? So one alternative is to drink water. But when it came to the erosive potential of that weak acid on the teeth, the effect was 100-times less than that of some other kinds of fizzy drinks. At the University of Birmingham, Catriona Brown put extracted human teeth without signs of erosion into jars for 30 minutes with different kinds of flavoured sparkling water to see what happened. Disclaimer All content within this column is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. They didn’t feel uncomfortable and so fizzy water has been suggested as a way of avoiding overeating, because it makes you feel fuller. They had a group of women fast overnight and then slowly drink either still or sparkling water. And you might have heard people deliberately letting fizzy drinks go flat and then drinking them if they’re dehydrated after a stomach upset or vomiting or even a hangover. But if you drink through a straw the drink goes straight to the back of your mouth and there’s less opportunity for damage. This is known as the buffering capacity. However, some people are concerned that it may be bad for your health. The chances are though, that if you’re in a group at least one person will say sparkling water is bad for you, but is there any evidence for that claim? They found sparkling waters had a pH of between 5 and 6 (so not as acidic as some cola drinks which can be as high as 2.5), compared with still water which was neutral at 7. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Surely any acid, even a weak one, is going to erode the enamel on our teeth? But if sparkling water doesn’t damage your stomach, how about your bones? Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health. It’s possible that it might somehow block calcium absorption – but no one yet knows how. By taking slices of enamel and immersing them in different soft drinks for six, 24 and 48 hours, Poonam Jain at Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine demonstrated that the enamel does begin to erode. In other words, they are a weak acid, as suspected. If you notice that any type of sparkling water, including sparkling mineral water, increases or brings on any unwanted symptoms, discontinue drinking sparkling water. If you’re not brave enough to say “tap” then sparkling can seem like a nice change. But in 2001, the Birmingham team examined seven different brands of mineral water, again pouring them over extracted teeth to see what happened. Let’s start with the stomach. Read about our approach to external linking. The money we make from it is re-invested to help fund the BBC’s international journalism. They looked in detail at the different types of drink consumed by more 2,500 taking part in the study. Again, the evidence so far suggests not. If you drink a lot of sparkling water you might find you feel bloated, but researchers in Japan have found that this side-effect could be put to good use. Non fruit-based carbonated drinks such as cola came out as the most acidic (with diet versions doing slightly better), followed by fruit-based fizzy drinks, fruit juice and then coffee. A case study published in 2009 of a 25-year-old bank worker whose front teeth wore out after four years of drinking half a litre of cola a day, followed by three years where he upped that to a litre-and-a-half each day and added in some fruit juice, is enough to frighten anyone. But a review of this practice in children with acute gastroenteritis found there’s little evidence that it works and that compared with rehydration powders – specifically constituted to contain replacement salts and sugars in the right proportions – such drinks contain far lower levels of sodium and potassium than you’d find in rehydration drinks.
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