Carbonated Water

July 12, 2009

The low-down on Carbonated water – is it better?

Carbonated water is simply water that has been ‘injected’ with carbon dioxide. It is the foremost component of the majority of soft drinks and is the result of carbonation – dissolving carbon gas into normal water under pressure. The process creates carbonic acid (H2CO3) and can be man made or occasionally may occur natural as with Mihalkovo from the Bulgarian Rhodopes.

Also known as soda water, this ‘fizzy’ water can often contain a small amount of any number of chemical additives such as sodium or salt, bicarbonate, potassium citrate or potassium sulphate to name but a few. The type and quantity of additives depends greatly on the producer and how they carbonate their water.

The carbon dioxide forms very small bubbles which generate an effervescent ‘fizz’ effect which people either love or hate in unflavored water. Some liken it to drinking a remedy for hangovers rather than an enjoyable and refreshing glass of water. Whatever you call it – sparkling water, carbonated water or club soda, it is essential the same as non-carbonated or still water except for the bubbles.

The health benefits of naturally occurring sparkling spring and mineral water are legend, but the majority of carbonated water is created or processed artificially by injecting carbon di oxide. We can even create carbonated water ourselves at home by using a ‘SodaStream’ type device.

Whether drinking it to settle your stomach or for the legendary health benefits, drinking carbonated or fizzy water is a very distinctive experience. With or without added flavorings, top restaurants worldwide consider it worthy of adding to their menus.

As with carbonated soft drinks, exposure to air will allow the water to ‘go flat’. Once opened, a bottle of carbonated water is the exact same as bottles of Coke or any other carbonated beverage – they will go flat in a short space of time!

Joseph Priestley was one of the inventors of carbonated water when he discovered how to inject carbon dioxide into water. Born in England in 1767, Joseph was working at a brewery in Leeds when he worked out how to create ‘fixed air’ and impregnate the same into water. His Swedish counterpart, Torbern Bergman developed another solution when in ill-health, he discovered a method of recreating naturally occurring sparkling water which back in 1771 was believed to aid good health.

Some believe that carbonated water is a major cause of dental problems. However, most believe that it is with carbonated soft drinks containing amounts of sugar that the problem lies. As we have already inferred, the difference between carbonated water and naturally still water is negligible.

OK. Is sparkling water better for you than still water or not?

Nutritionally, it depends on the producer ;o) If you take two samples of water with the exact same composition but add CO2 to one of the samples then there will be no discernible difference to health benefits or otherwise.

Though some believe carbonation can help alleviate upset stomach and constipation, carbonated water isn’t necessarily any better or worse for you, nutritionally, than still water. It depends on the waters in question. A water rich in magnesium and calcium, whether carbonated or not would be ideal, so long as it contained little or no sodium chloride – or so the experts say. However, a good many experts also say that sodium in our water can have beneficial effects on our bodies when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels and cardiovascular issues in women post menopause.

We feel that it basically comes down to taste and personal preference.

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