Have you ever wondered does sparkling water hydrate you? Is sparkling water as hydrating as regular water?
Here you will find a detailed answer to your question as well as a look into what ingredients you should look out for in your drinks from a dietitian’s perspective.
This article will also include some myth-busting about caffeine and coffee, natural and artificial flavouring, and a couple of suggestions for alternative carbonated drinks made in Canada.
Does sparkling water hydrate you more than plain water?
Yes, sparkling water will hydrate you as much as any other kind of water will. Tap water, bottled water, distilled water, mineral water and sparkling water all hydrate you equally.
The fact is, sparkling water is simply liquid water with carbon dioxide gas molecules dissolved in it. The carbon dioxide does not change the nutritional value of water. Both are equal in volume, but one has more chemosensory effects (or bubbles).
So sparkling water is hydrating!
This may lead you to wonder what drinks may not quench your thirst. Here are some ingredients that should be considered.
Less hydrating drinks:
Alcohol is a diuretic. A diuretic is a substance that triggers the kidneys to expel more fluid from the body. When the body loses more fluid, you may also find yourself feeling thirstier afterwards.
Although these drinks may not hydrate as well compared to water, having a can of soda or beer (when following Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines) every once in a while is not detrimental to overall health (in the context of no pre-existing chronic health conditions).
Instead, if you choose to enjoy these drinks, do so in moderation while drinking water afterwards to ensure you are staying well hydrated each day. If you are ever in doubt about whether a beverage is hydrating, you can always follow with a glass of water.
Myth: Caffeine is a diuretic which makes it dehydrated the body.
This statement is not completely true. A 2014 study conducted on 50 males who were regular coffee drinkers found that the habitual consumption of caffeine up to 4 cups a day could still be comparable to drinking water.
To sum this up, research has shown that caffeine acts as a diuretic only under certain conditions, for example, when individuals are not regular caffeine drinkers or if they are consuming more than 4 cups of caffeinated beverages a day.
When you are choosing a healthy and hydrating beverage to drink, here are some other things you may want to consider in the ingredients list.
Drinks with HIGH sugar (i.e. sugar-sweetened beverages, energy drinks)
When the body is hit with a lot of sugar at one time, it will be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and raise your blood sugar levels quickly.
To compensate, the body will trigger the kidneys to get rid of that excess sugar more often. If you’re going to the bathroom more often, your body will be losing fluid each time therefore, you may feel dehydrated.
When choosing hydrating drinks…
Aim for less ADDED SUGARS
Notice in the ingredient list if added sugars are one of the top ingredients. No matter the source, whether it is coconut sugar or honey, at the end of the day, our bodies will digest and absorb it as glucose (one of the most common and smallest forms of a sugar molecule). As mentioned earlier, this increases your blood sugar level quickly.
Unlockfood.ca provides a good reference for types of added sugars to look out for. Heart & Stroke is another good resource that helps put into perspective the quantity of added sugars in one can of pop compared to the recommended limit of intake per day (one can of pop makes up 85% of the recommended maximum daily added sugar intake).
Aim for less HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (HFCS)/glucose-fructose
This is an ingredient commonly found in soft drinks and sweetened juices. It is a sweetener made from cornstarch. Just like all added sugars, it can quickly and unexpectedly add extra calories to your intake when the original goal of the beverage was to hydrate instead. More information about how HFCS or glucose-fructose affects the body can be found on Unlockfood.ca.
There has been controversy about whether natural or artificial flavourings are detrimental to good health. Natural flavourings are extracted from a plant source. Artificial flavours are made in a lab to mimic the natural alternative. Both kinds of flavourings have the same function in food–to boost flavour–and the same outcome in the body broken down and absorbed by the digestive tract. The only difference is how it was made.
The Bottom Line
Drinks are meant to quench your thirst throughout the day and keep your body functioning at full capacity! Whether you like fizzy water, regular water, or any other beverages, choose what you enjoy while being mindful of the ingredient list.
This year is a great opportunity to support local businesses in the area. If you are in the mood to try something new, here are some Canadian brands that may be worth trying out.
President’s Choice Free & Clear Sparkling Waters
If you enjoy sodas or fizzy drinks, try these clear bottled sparkling waters that feature different fruity flavours. The drinks are sweetened with stevia, which is a non-caloric, plant-derived sweetener; a healthier alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. Not only is this drink low in added sugars, but it is also very affordable from your local Canadian grocery stores. A personal favourite is the black cherry flavour.
White Claw Hard Seltzer
While an alcoholic beverage may not be as hydrating as water, this option may be a healthier choice for those special occasions with friends, family or by yourself when alcohol is the go-to. This hard seltzer is low in sugar, with each can containing less than 5 grams of added sugars and an alcohol content comparable to a regular beer. Currently, there are 4 fruity flavours on the market (black cherry, mango, natural lime, and ruby grapefruit) which are all quite tasty.
Now that you’ve read this article you no longer have to wonder “does sparkling water hydrate you?” There are lots of options for beverages that help with hydration, and only a few that don’t.
This article was written by Kristine who is a Dietetic Student at the University of Alberta and Esther Lac, RD of Trellis Nutrition.