Is Seltzer Water Healthy?

Carbonated water can be a nice change from the ordinary, but there is so much confusion that surrounds it, begging the question—is seltzer water healthy? Let's examine this beverage and a few of its cousins.

is seltzer water healthy

Is seltzer water healthy? With minor exceptions, it hasn't been shown to harm your bones or teeth—although if you add lemons or limes or other citric flavors, it can become a concern.

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Although clean, filtered water is your best choice for hydration—some say reverse osmosis water is king— carbonated beverages offer a nice change from the ordinary. To spice up your life-dependent fluid intake, there are multiple choices on the market with seltzer water being among the most popular. But is seltzer water good for you?

Seltzer water in the traditional sense is simply plain water with carbonation added, making it a cheap alternative to sparkling mineral water. Seltzer gets its name from the German town of Selters, which has been known for its natural springs. Unlike tonic water and club soda, there is no added salt (sodium) or sweeteners in “real” seltzer water. There are naturally and artificially flavored varieties, however, plain, unsweetened seltzer water is your best seltzer option. You can try adding fresh berries, other fruits or herbs to your seltzer for flavor.


Reverse osmosis water systems use a process “that reverses the flow of water in a natural process of osmosis so that water passes from a more concentrated solution to a more dilute solution through a semi-permeable membrane,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Pre- and post-filters are often incorporated along with the reverse osmosis membrane itself.”

Is Seltzer Water Bad For Your Teeth?

Some studies have shown that carbonated beverages in general (not just seltzer water) can harm tooth enamel, but those beverages tend to be sweetened soft drinks.

Carbonic acid forms when carbon dioxide is dissolved in water, which in large amounts can lead to weakened tooth enamel over long periods of time. Generally speaking, the more acidic the beverage, the more harmful it is for your teeth. Carbonic acid is a fairly weak acid compared to citric or other acids, making it less of a concern for your teeth. It’s more of a concern when carbonated water is flavored with citric or other acids. Having said that, if you’re going to drink carbonated beverages, drink them in moderation.

Can Seltzer Water Harm Your Bones?

Your bones should be safe with seltzer, according to research. One study with 2,500 participants looked at the relationship between consuming colas and other carbonated beverages and bone mineral density (BMD). Not surprisingly, cola beverages were linked to lower bone mineral density while the other carbonated beverages did not have the same connection. It is well known that most cola beverages contain phosphoric acid, which can lead to calcium loss in your bones. Calcium, of course, is an important mineral for strong bones.

Is Seltzer Water Good for You?

Among carbonated beverages, seltzer water is free of sugar, salt, additives, and caffeine found in cola. It’s not harmful to your bones, and when consumed in moderation, it’s of minor concern for your teeth. Carbonated water has even been shown to improve indigestion and constipation, making seltzer worth raising your glass to!

Is Carbonated Water Good for You?

In addition to seltzer water,  there’s club soda, mineral water, sparkling water, and tonic water. Let’s quench your thirst about these drinks and look at what sets them apart:

1. Mineral water

Mineral water is natural, and unpolluted water that is sourced from a natural spring (giving it its other name, spring water). Any carbonation it has is naturally occurring. It also contains small amounts of naturally occurring minerals (including sodium) that come from the rock the water flows through. Due to its source (usually Europe), mineral water can be on the pricey side. The Evian brand is an example of mineral water.

2. Sparkling water

Sparkling water is mineral water with a bit of fizz to it. Like regular mineral water, it can be pricey. The carbonation in sparkling water may be naturally occurring, or in some cases it may be added. Perrier (often touted for its price point) is an example of sparkling mineral water.

3. Club soda

Club soda, also know as soda water, is essentially carbonated water with the following additives: sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and potassium sulfate. Club soda intake should be limited due to its high sodium content.

4. Tonic water

Tonic water is typically sweetened with sugar or corn syrup. It also contains additives and preservatives such as citric acid and sodium benzoate. The Schweppes brand bottles tonic water. With a slightly bitter flavor from the additive “quinine,” it pairs well with gin, making tonic water a staple at your local bar. Unfortunately, quinine can interact with some medications, so if you take medication, ask your doctor whether tonic water is safe for you.

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Lisa Cantkier

Lisa Cantkier is a nutritionist, educator, and writer who specializes in living well with food allergies and special diets. She enjoys learning about and sharing the latest research findings on … Read More

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