What is Carbonated Water?

Written by Abigail Jolly
June 28, 2024 | Reading time 4 minutes

What is carbonated water?

At its essence, carbonated water is merely filtered water infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure. It is often savored on its own or used as a mixer in various beverages.

Carbonated water has surged in popularity as a refreshing beverage choice. Its distinctive bubbles and crisp taste provide a unique alternative to still water and sugary sodas.

This blog will delve into the origins, production methods, and potential health benefits of carbonated water.

Sparkling water vs carbonated water

Sparkling water and carbonated water are essentially the same thing—both refer to filtered water infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure.

The primary difference isn't in the creation process but often in the marketing terms used. Both types are made by dissolving CO2 in water under pressure typically using a soda maker at home.

Beyond just plain carbonated water, the local stores offer a variety of carbonated beverages tailored to different tastes and uses. We've written an in-depth article about the differences between carbonated waters available at the store from soda water to tonic water and everything in between.

Origins of carbonated water

The history of carbonated water dates back to the 18th century, when natural mineral springs were believed to possess healing properties. People flocked to these springs to drink or bathe in the water, hoping to cure various ailments.

The commercial production of carbonated water began in 1767 when English scientist Joseph Priestley discovered a method to artificially infuse water with carbon dioxide. This breakthrough led to the first artificially carbonated water and marked the dawn of its commercial availability.

Is carbonated water bad for your kidneys?

There is no substantial evidence to suggest that carbonated water is harmful to your kidneys when consumed in moderation.

In fact, carbonated water can be part of a healthy diet and is a great form of hydration.

Some myths suggest that carbonated water might negatively impact kidney function or contribute to kidney stone formation as carbonated water is compared alongside popular soda brands.

However, the bubbles are the only thing these beverages have in common. Studies have found that soda can contribute to kidney stone formation due to the presence of phosphoric acid, but scientific studies have not corroborated similar effects with consuming carbonated water as it does not contain phosphoric acid.

If you have pre-existing kidney conditions or other health concerns, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Carbonated water side effects

While carbonated water is generally safe and enjoyed by many, it may cause some potential side effects, though these are not common.

Some individuals might experience bloating or gas due to the carbon dioxide in the water, which can lead to a feeling of fullness or discomfort.

Additionally, those with gastrointestinal conditions like acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) might find that carbonated water exacerbates their symptoms.

Despite these potential side effects, it's important to highlight that the vast majority of people can enjoy carbonated water without any issues, and these reactions tend to be relatively rare.

As everyone is different in body composition, many potential health benefits have been linked to drinking sparkling water as well such as an improvement in satiety, better digestion, and a great tool for those intermittent fasting.

Carbonated water pH level

Carbonated water typically has a pH level of around 4, making it slightly acidic. This acidity results from carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolving in the water to form carbonic acid (H2CO3).

While carbonated water's pH is lower than plain water's neutral pH of around 7, it is still significantly less acidic compared to beverages like soda or fruit juices.

Related read: Is drinking sparkling water bad for your teeth?

What is carbonated water good for?

Beyond hydration and refreshing taste, carbonated water serves unconventional purposes:

  • Cooking: Creates light, fluffy batters for tempuras and pancakes
  • Art: Adds unique textures to paintings when mixed with watercolors
  • Education: Fun element in science experiments for children
  • Gardening: Great for watering plants at room temperature

Carbonated water's versatility extends into creative, culinary, and practical applications, beyond just health benefits.

Key takeaways

  • Carbonated water is filtered water infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure.
  • Sparkling water and carbonated water are essentially the same.
  • Carbonated water is safe for kidneys and part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.
  • Potential minor issues when consuming carbonated water such as bloating or exacerbating gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Carbonated water is slightly acidic with a pH of around 4, less acidic than many other beverages.
  • It can be used for an array of activities such as supporting hydration, cooking, art, education, and gardening.

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