Seltzer Water vs Sparkling Water: What's the Difference?

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Written by Abigail Jolly
July 09, 2024 | Reading time 4 minutes

What's the difference between seltzer water vs sparkling water?

Seltzer water and sparkling water are one and the same. Both are filtered water infused with carbon dioxide. Many confuse sparkling water with sparkling mineral water though, leading them to believe that seltzer water and sparkling water are different in their ingredients.

When it comes to enjoying a refreshing, fizzy drink, the terms "seltzer water" and "sparkling water" often cause confusion. Are they interchangeable, or do they refer to different beverages?

This blog aims to clear up the mystery surrounding these two popular drinks, delving into the distinctions and common misconceptions as many

carbonated beverages are popular these days.

Whether you're a casual drinker or a sparkling water enthusiast, understanding the nuances will help you make informed choices.

What is seltzer water?

Seltzer water is water that has been carbonated by adding carbon dioxide gas under pressure. It contains no added minerals, flavors, or sweeteners, making it simply fizzy water.

There are many seltzer water brands available in local stores that offer a variety of flavored seltzers though, such as lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit.

Sparkling water and seltzer water ingredients

In case you need it laid out visually, let's break down the ingredients in both seltzer water and sparkling water:

  • Seltzer water: Carbonated filtered water with no additives.
  • Sparkling water: Carbonated filtered water also with no additives.

Nutritional value of both:

  • Calories: 0
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g

As you can see, the ingredients for seltzer water and sparkling water are identical. Both beverages are simply carbonated filtered water.

Want to learn more? Check out the differences between soda water vs sparkling water!

seltzer vs sparkling water

Is seltzer water bad for you?

In general, seltzer water, just like sparkling water, is not bad for you and is considered a healthy alternative to sugary sodas and other sweetened beverages like juices.

While pure seltzer water is harmless to dental health, flavored varieties that contain added acids or sugars could potentially contribute to tooth enamel erosion over time.

It's always a good idea to check the ingredient label and opt for plain seltzer water to avoid any unwanted additives. Although, sometimes not present on a label are PFAS that have been found inside many popular seltzer water brands.

To ensure the cleanest and healthiest form of seltzer water and sparkling water would be to make it at home using a sparkling water maker and CO2 canisters.

How seltzer is made

The process of making commercial seltzer water is straightforward and involves a few key steps:

  1. Filtered water is collected to ensure the purity and taste of the final product.
  2. This water is then chilled to a low temperature, which helps in retaining the carbon dioxide (CO2) when it is introduced.
  3. The chilled water is then placed in a carbonation chamber or a commercial carbonation machine.
  4. Here, CO2 gas is injected into the water under high pressure, dissolving into the liquid and creating the effervescence that gives seltzer water its characteristic fizz.

At-home carbonation systems, such as those offered by popular brands like SodaStream and Soda Sense, operate on a similar principle. Users fill a reusable bottle with cold water and attach it to the carbonation unit. By pressing a button, CO2 is released into the water, resulting in instant seltzer.

seltzer vs sparkling water

Is seltzer hydrating?

Absolutely, seltzer water can be hydrating just like plain water. Since it is essentially water that has been carbonated, it still contributes to your daily fluid intake without adding any calories or sugars.

Read more: Does Sparkling Water Hydrate You the Same as Regular Water?

Origin of seltzer

The term "seltzer" originated from the German town of Selters, which was renowned for its naturally carbonated mineral springs.

Dating back to the 16th century, Selters water was bottled and sold as a health tonic. It was highly sought after for its purported medicinal properties and refreshing taste.

Over time, the word "Selters" became anglicized to "seltzer," and it was adopted to describe any carbonated water, regardless of its source.

Related read: Tonic Water vs Sparkling Water: What's the Difference?

Key takeaways

  • Seltzer water and sparkling water are the same; both are carbonated from still filtered water with no additives.
  • Ingredients for both seltzer water and sparkling water are identical.
  • The nutritional value of both beverages shows zero calories, fats, sodium, carbohydrates, or sugars.
  • Health impact: Pure seltzer water is not bad for dental health, but check for added acids or sugars in flavored varieties.
  • Making it at home with a carbonation system ensures the cleanest and healthiest form of seltzer water.
  • Seltzer water is effective for hydration, similar to plain water.
  • The name "seltzer" is derived from Selters, a German town known for its natural carbonated springs.

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