It is no secret that water is good for us. Our bodies need water to survive. In fact, we can go longer without food than we can water. Without water, the body would dry up and stop working, and sparkling water is just another way to get that water in. Most health officials agree that drinking sparkling water is better than drinking no water at all. But there are some differences between sparkling water and regular water, though it may surprise you to find out that the differences are few.

Sparkling Water vs. Regular Water. Sparkling water, also called soda water or seltzer, is plain water that has carbonation added to it. Carbonation makes the water fizzy and is the same exact ingredient that makes soda pop fizz. Regular water is just water in its natural form.

Effects of Sparkling Water on the Body. A recent study found that women who drank sparkling water in place of regular water had lower percentages of heart disease than other women. This study was based on the fact that sparkling water has more minerals and sodium than regular water.

Sparkling Water and Hydration. Sparkling water hydrates the body just as well as regular water. The only difference, as mentioned in section one, is that sparkling water has carbon dioxide added to it. Many athletes, though, won't drink enough sparkling water to rehydrate after workouts, because the carbonation makes them feel full well before they have replaced the water they lost during exercise, so maintain caution and don't use sparkling water as your only rehydrating method after exercise.

Effects of Carbonation. It has been believed that carbonation has been the culprit to stealing calcium from the bones. However, new studies have shown that it is caffeine that affects the calcium in the bones and teeth, not carbonation. So even though sparkling water is carbonated it is not the same thing as soda pop. Soda pop has large amounts of phosphates, caffeine, and sugar. Sparkling water has no more added phosphates than bottled water. It also has no caffeine or sugar.

Purpose of Sparkling Water. Many people drink sparkling water because it makes drinking water just a little more fun. Some like the taste but may not want all the calories and sugar that come with drinking soda pop. The effervescent nature of sparkling water makes for a refreshing beverage and a healthier alternative to sugary soda. In fact, it's so reminiscent of soda, due to the carbonation, that you might wonder if there are any detrimental side effects. When it comes to your health, carbonated water provides plenty of benefits with few consequences.

Health Myths. As mentioned, there's a myth that carbonated drinks of any kind can leach calcium from your bones or damage your teeth; however, the claims are unfounded. Only cola drinks have been connected to low bone mineral density, and although carbonated water has slightly more acidity than plain water, it won't significantly damage tooth enamel. A study published in 2001 found that although sparkling mineral water had a slightly more erosive effect on teeth than still water, it was 100 times less than soda.

Side Effects of Bubbles. The carbonation of sparkling water could have a negative effect on some people. According to physicians, those with irritable bowel syndrome might experience bloating and gas because of the CO2.

Check the Label. Bubbly water is plain, carbonated H2O. Tonic water looks similar to plain carbonated water, but it contains sugar, while club soda contains additional sodium. Some flavored carbonated waters have artificial sweeteners. If you're trying to avoid any ingredients other than simple water, read the label before purchasing canned or bottled carbonated water./