Health & Wellness

The Facts About Fizzy Water

By Isabelle Huot


Sparkling water is available in many varieties—flavoured or not, with fine bubbles or big bubbles—but what do you really know about it, and can it meet your hydration needs?

Bottled fizzy waters are all the same.

FALSE. You can find bottled sparkling spring water and mineral water. Both varieties come from groundwater, but their mineral salt content isn’t the same. In Quebec, for example, the Food Products Act stipulates that min- eral water must contain more than 1,000 mg of mineral salts per litre (1,000 ppm); below that level, it’s considered spring water. (For reference, tap water in Montreal contains around 116 mg/L.) Sparkling or not, mineral water is recommended for boosting hydration following a bout of gastroenteritis or a rigorous workout in hot and humid conditions.

Gas can be naturally present in water.

TRUE. There are natural sparkling waters. Even when gas is already present in spring water, carbon dioxide (CO2) may be added to the liquid to boost its natural fizziness. This process involves the formation of bubbles and produces carbonic acid, which lowers the pH of the water from 7 to around 4.

Plain fizzy water is better for your health than flavoured versions.

TRUE. Plain sparkling water is a good alternative to still water. Flavoured versions often contain added sugars, sweeteners, and additives. Check the list of ingredients.

You can drink as much fizzy water as you want.

FALSE. Some sparkling waters contain a fair amount of sodium. As a general rule, it’s not a problem if you have one glass, but if you drink several each day, the sodium can quickly add up. For those who need to limit their sodium intake, it’s better to choose water that contains very little.

Drinking fizzy water with a straw can give you a stomach ache.

TRUE. Drinking a liquid that contains a lot of bubbles can cause bloat- ing and gas, especially if you use a straw—you’ll swallow more air that way. People with gastrointestinal troubles or acid reflux should avoid fizzy drinks.