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Fruity, Fizzy Waters Are Trendy—But Are They All That Healthy?

Sweetened, fizzy, fruity, flavored sparkling waters have been popping up on many grocery store shelves. It’s not hard to see why: these trendy drinks may be lower in calories than regular sodas, and they're more flavorful than plain water. As a result, many people enjoy them as healthier alternatives to quench their thirst.

But sweetened sparkling waters may not be as good for you as you think. Yes, they’re still better for you than sugary sodas, but they also have some drawbacks compared with plain water.

It’s true that some brands boast only a few ingredients. This doesn’t mean that flavored seltzer is the same as water, however. Fruity carbonated waters often include tart flavorings, such as citric and phosphoric acids, and sometimes artificial or natural sugars. Acidic beverages can wear down tooth enamel, contributing to cavities.

In addition, the more phosphorus you consume, the more calcium you need. A delicate balance of calcium and phosphorus maintains proper bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Too much phosphorus can also exacerbate kidney disease. So be sure to check the labels on flavored seltzers before you buy them.

Unsweetened mineral water, bottled at the source, contains natural effervescence and is a safe way to put a little fizz in your day. Lower-calorie and sugar-free carbonated waters are still a better choice than sugary sodas. If you do choose carbonated beverages, drink them along with a glass of water or with ice. This helps balance the acidity and increases your intake of good ol’ water!

Lynn Norton, RD is a registered dietitian at Barton Health. Make an appointment with a doctor’s referral by calling 530.543.5824.