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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Seltzer Water vs. Tap Water?

We drink a lot of seltzer water in our home and have been wondering about the positive and negative effects of drinking Seltzer versus other types of waters. Jennifer, my wife, brought it up because she likes the Vintage Seltzer water versus tap or bottled water. So I went to some medical sites and did some research late last night.

Seltzer water is plain water into which carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved. The process of dissolving carbon dioxide gas is called carbonation. It results in the formation of carbonic acid (which has the chemical formula H2CO3). In the past, soda water was produced in the home by "charging" a refillable seltzer bottle by filling it with water and then adding sodium bicarbonate.

This is what I found:

- Seltzer water that has NO added ingredients (except carbonation) is nothing more than water, and on that basis seltzer water of this type is just as good as any other water. – John Hopkins – Dr. William Sazar MD

- “Seltzer is the popular name for filtered, carbonated tap water. Unlike mineral water, it does not have any added minerals. Unlike club soda and sparkling water, it does not have added salt. Plain seltzer would therefore have the same 'water' value as regular water.” - Dietitian Lois Maurer, RD, CDE

- Carbonation (carbon dioxide forced into water under pressure) could make you feel full but does not impede absorption of the water into your system. –

- "Many curative properties have been attributed to effervescent waters (e.g., aiding digestion and calming nerves), but few have been scientifically tested...Today, however, seltzer is simply well-filtered tap water with artificially added carbonation." – WebMD, Seltzer Water Heals (November 2002)

- Carbonation is known to kill bacteria that may cause infection. You may choose carbonated water if you are traveling in a foreign country to prevent a negative reaction to the country’s bacteria. – USA Weekend Magazine (September, 1994)

From reading many websites I found that Seltzer water has the following effects:

1. Aiding digestion (scientifically proven John Hopkins study)
2. Calming nerves (not scientifically proven could be urban myth)
3. Feeling, which causes you to feel full faster and thus drink less water. (This could impede your water intake, or perhaps be good diet advice - to have a glass of seltzer before every meal?)
4. Kills some bacteria that causes infection (good while traveling or sick)
5. In some cases has caused esophagus irritation leading to bloating or indigestion.
6. Can increase absorption of alcohol into the system

There really was no downside to Seltzer Water. Old mineral waters turned into Club Soda did have problems with calcium disruption in the body. This is not an issue with today's seltzer water. The only other issue is in flavored waters that have sugar.

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