Carbonated Water And Your Health

Carbonated drinks are everywhere these days to the extent that they are almost becoming part of our lifestyle. It has become so bad, that some people find it difficult to drink regular water just because they are addicted to carbonated water. This week, i wish to share with you the history/origin of carbonated drinks/beverages, a brief of the process, the side effects and encourage you on what to do.
Last week, i promised you that I would write about drinking carbonated beverages in between meals but again, i felt i should shed light on what exactly carbonated beverages are.
Come along.
A carbonated drink is a beverage that has had carbon dioxide dissolved into it for some reason, most often to improve the taste, texture, or both.
Carbonation or fizz is the process of dissolving carbon dioxide in a liquid. The process usually involves carbon dioxide under high pressure. When the pressure is reduced, the carbon dioxide is released from the solution as small bubbles, which causes the solution to become effervescent, or fizzy. An example of carbonation is the dissolving of carbon dioxide in water, resulting in carbonated water.
Carbonated water seems like a great alternative for people who don’t like the taste of still water, but who want to stay hydrated throughout the day.
The question is,
But is the bubbly beverage just as good for your body as the stuff that comes out of the faucet?
Basically, yes. “Sparkling water can be just as hydrating as regular water,” according to Jennifer McDaniel, a registered dietician and certified specialist in sports dietetics.
Carbonated or sparkling water is made by dissolving carbon dioxide in water, creating carbonic acid. This process just adds bubbles — it does not add sugar, calories, or caffeine. Tonic water, club soda, and mineral water are all types of carbonated water, but these have added sodium, vitamins, or sweeteners, so it’s important to read the label.

There are however some common health concerns associated with drinking carbonated water — for instance, that it leaches calcium from the bones, causes kidney stones, and strips the enamel from your teeth — but these are not supported by clinical research.
“In reality there’s no good evidence that carbonated water causes harm to your bone,” registered dietitians Jennifer Nelson and Katherine Zeratsky  “The confusion may arise because of research that found a connection between carbonated cola drinks and low bone mineral density.”
While artificially carbonated water is slightly more acidic than still water, it’s not as acidic as sugary sodas, and does not seem to significantly damage tooth enamel. A 2001 study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation that compared the affect of sparkling mineral waters with still waters on human teeth, noted that the “carbonation of drinks may not be an important factor per se in respect of erosive potential.”
The only issues with guzzling sparkling waters are that “some people get gas and burp, especially when they drink it fast,” says Ruth Frechman, a registered dietician and author of “The Food Is My Friend Diet.” Frechman also warns that fizzy water may not be the best post-workout beverage since the bubbles may create a sense of fullness that causes some people to drink less.
Let me say here that soda is sometimes used as the term to represent all varieties of carbonated drinks excluding alcohols.
You might as well need a bit of history here,
Carbonating beverages, introducing CO2 into the drink mix under pressure, makes the drink slightly more acidic (carbonic acid), which serves to sharpen the flavor and produces a slight burning sensation.  It also helps preserve the drink longer without going bad.
The first known reference of the term “Pop”, as referring to a beverage, was in 1812 in a letter written by English poet Robert Southey; in this letter he also explains the term’s origin: “Called on A. Harrison and found he was at Carlisle, but that we were expected to supper; excused ourselves on the necessity of eating at the inn; supped there upon trout and roast foul, drank some most admirable cyder, and a new manufactory of a nectar, between soda-water and ginger-beer, and called pop, because ‘pop goes the cork’ when it is drawn, and pop you would go off too, if you drank too much of it.”
The term “soda-pop” was a moniker given to carbonated beverages due to the fact that people thought the bubbles were produced from soda (sodium bicarbonate), as with certain other products that were popular at that time.  A more correct moniker would have been “carbonated-pop”.
In ancient cultures, people believed that bathing and drinking mineral waters from springs, which were naturally carbonated, could cure many diseases.  As such, scientists and inventors sought ways to artificially produce these mineral waters.  Artificially produced carbonated beverages get their start from this; the first carbonated beverages were just non-flavored carbonated water sold as mineral water tonics.
The first flavored carbonated drinks were created in the United States in 1807 by Townsend Speakman.  The purpose of adding flavor wasn’t just to make it taste better, but also to improve on the supposed natural curative properties of mineral water.  Popular ingredients to add were birch bark, dandelions, ginger, lemon, coca, and kola (the latter two combined ended up producing Coca-Cola, which was originally formulated by Dr. John Styth Pemberton and first sold on May 8th, 1886).
The father of the soft drink industry is generally held to be German-Swiss jeweler Jacob Schweppe, who was the first large-scale producer of aerated water around 1783.  Although, there were many before him that produced aerated water, such as William Brownrigg from England, who created the first artificial mineral water in 1741.
Keeping aerated drinks in a bottle was a huge problem for a long time in the distribution of soft drinks.  As such, until the advent of crown cork (crown cap), carbonated beverages were generally only available in pharmacies (hence why many of the most popular soft drink flavors that survived to this day were invented by pharmacists).
Over 1500 types of cork and other bottle stopper patents were filed to attempt to stop aerated drinks from losing their carbonation too quickly. Finally, in 1891, in the United States,  William Painter invented the “crown cork”, which gave the first truly effective, mass producible, way to stop the carbonation from escaping from bottled carbonated drinks.   This allowed, for the first time, people to buy carbonated beverages they could store at home.
However, at the time of this invention, glass bottles had to be made by hand by glass blowers.  This changed in 1899 with the invention of an automatic glass blowing machine which, in a very short span, increased annual glass bottle production from about 1500 bottles a day to 57,000 bottles a day in the United States.  This further drove down the price and helped popularize bottled carbonated drinks.
Most modern carbonated beverage bottles are designed to hold as much as 20 atmospheres of pressure before bursting.  The carbonation itself though is only introduced at about 2 atmospheres of pressure, though this varies slightly from drink to drink.
If you were to let all the CO2 out of a typical carbonated drink, at 1 atmosphere of pressure it would fill a volume about four times that of the original drink container.
Glass bottles make significantly better containers for carbonated beverages due to the fact that air can diffuse through plastic, allowing the CO2 to escape.  Thus, carbonated beverages stored in plastic containers have a much shorter shelf life than their glass counterparts.
The first mass produced, non-tea/coffee, soft drinks were non-carbonated, appearing popularly around the 17th century.  The most popular of these were made from water, lemon juice, and honey.  At one time, in France, a company was given a monopoly for selling this lemonade concoction to thirsty Parisians.  The sellers would literally walk around with cups and small tanks on their backs and sell this non-alcoholic flavored drink to anyone who wanted it.
Almost all of the food energy in soda-pop is from refined cane sugar or corn syrup.   Each serving of a typical carbonated soft drink contains more than the recommended daily allotment of sugars
Let’s take a look at some of the other major components of a can of soda and how it affects us:

Phosphoric Acid: Which can interfere with the body’s ability to use calcium, leading to osteoporosis or softening of the teeth and bones.
Sugar: It is a proven fact that sugar increases insulin levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, premature aging and many more negative side effects. Most sodas include over 100 percent of the RDA of sugar. Sugar is so bad for your health in so many ways.
Aspartame: This chemical is used as a sugar substitute in diet soda. There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures.
Caffeine: Caffeinated drinks cause jitters, insomnia, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, elevated blood cholesterol levels, vitamin and mineral depletion, breast lumps, birth defects, and perhaps some forms of cancer. Every carbonated drink or beverage contains caffeine.
Clearly, the over-consumption of sodas and sweet drinks is one of the leading causes fuelling the world-wide obesity epidemic.
One independent, peer-reviewed study published in the British medical journal The Lancet demonstrated a strong link between soda consumption and childhood obesity.  They found that 12-year-olds who drank soft drinks regularly were more likely to be overweight than those who didn’t. In fact, for each additional daily serving of sugar-sweetened soft drink consumed during the nearly two-year study, the risk of obesity jumped by 60 percent.

Here’s another sobering fact if you’re struggling with weight issues: Just one extra can of soda per day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over the course of a single year!
Other statistics on the health dangers of soft drinks include:
One soda per day increases your risk of diabetes by 85 percent
Soda drinkers have higher cancer risk. While the federal limit for benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb), researchers have found benzene levels as high as 79 ppb in some soft drinks, and of the 100 brands tested, most had at least some detectable level of benzene present
Soda has been shown to cause DNA damage – courtesy of sodium benzoate, a common preservative found in many soft drinks, which has the ability to switch off vital parts of your DNA. This could eventually lead to diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson’s disease.
It is important to make mention here that addiction is a great outcome of too much consumption of carbonated drinks.
i hereby advise that you stay away from carbonated drinks as much as you can and take regular water. Perhaps you wonder how does this affect your eating habit or why you shouldn’t take it while eating. Not to worry, watch out for this space next week.


Toluse Francis

Toluse Francis believes a healthy lifestyle is paramount for everyone. He is a long -time volunteer with Solid Foundation Teens and Youth Ministry. He loves to care for people. Toluse Francis is a Health Coach and author He is interested in seeing people eat healthy and get productive. He believes a healthy lifestyle is paramount for everyone.

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