Between the zero-calorie label and the delicious flavour, sparkling water is a relatively healthy option for an afternoon refresher. But could drinking too much sparkling water give you gas?
While some people on the internet swear up and down that drinking too much carbonated water makes them bloated and gassy, the truth is a bit more complicated than that. For the most part, it’s a myth that carbonated water gives you gas, but if you’re downing a can of sparkling water beverage every hour or so, or if you’re prone to any digestive issues, you might want to curb your Perrier habit just a tad. Here’s why.
Drinking carbonated beverages like Perrier can lead to you swallowing air. That air usually comes out as a fart or belch, says Maggie Moon, MS, RDN, and author of The MIND Diet.
“Carbonated drinks release carbon dioxide gas, adding to the air in your esophagus that finds its way back out through belching. Most excess air that causes belching is trapped in the esophagus before it ever reaches your stomach—until it gets released through belching,” she says. “If the gas builds up before it gets to your stomach, the side effect is most likely belching. Extra swallowed air is almost never the cause of flatulence.”
Of course, as you learned in elementary school, if that air doesn’t come out on one end, it’ll invariably come out the other. If you do find that you’re farting excessively, the carbonation can play a role. But it’s likely more a “result of bacteria interacting with stomach acid, fatty acids, or unabsorbed carbohydrates (e.g. fibre, sugar alcohols),” says Moon, and not so much the fizzy drink itself.
In fact, if you love fizzy drinks and you find that you’re prone to gas, you should find brands that do not contain artificial sweeteners. Most soda contains those, which has been linked to causing more gas, says Moon. Because some brands don’t contain artificial sweeteners, it’s actually less likely to cause gas than other types of carbonated beverages.
That said, sparkling water isn’t 100% great for you. Beyond causing gas and minor bloating, drinking too much sparkling water has been linked to teeth erosion due to its acidity. Luckily, however, there are a few ways to minimize the burps and still enjoy each sip.
”Try drinking smaller portions, or try taking slower, smaller sips to cut back on swallowing too much air,” says Moon. She also suggests that you “keep your mouth closed between sips and skip the straw, as both can also introduce extra air,” leading to greater gas build-up. Overall, as long as you’re not drinking too much sparkling water or dealing with a gastrointestinal disorder, your Perrier habit is probably fine. Just keep these tips in mind to save yourself from some giggles at work.
By Isadora Baum