The Elemental Guide to Water

Seltzer and Your Health: All Your Questions, Answered

Everything you need to know about bubbly water and your body

Maya Kroth
Published in
13 min readDec 4, 2019

This story is part of The Elemental Guide to Water, a five-part special report on the health benefits of water, the science behind seltzer, the truth about fancy H2O, the safety of tap water, and how much water you really need to drink.

SSparkling mineral water, seltzer, club soda — whatever you call it, carbonated water has permeated the market to the point of canned cocktails and anti-aging face wash. But how does it match up to regular water? Is it healthy for your body (or your skin)? Can you drink too much of it?

Health experts, for their part, aren’t complaining about your insatiable appetite for LaCroix — though they do wonder why nobody can muster as much excitement for tap water, arguably one of civilization’s greatest achievements. (Unless you live in, say, Flint, Newark, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, or Milwaukee.)

Anything that gets people drinking more water is a good thing, says Melissa Majumdar, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Seltzer is absolutely a good choice in moderation,” she says between swigs of a can of bubbly water made by a brand whose name she is not professionally allowed to identify. “We want to consider straight water as the gold standard of hydrating fluids, but a lot of us need some help in having some taste or flavor in our water to help us drink more. That’s where seltzer has gained popularity.”

Herewith, everything you ever wanted to know about sparkling water’s effect on health, wellness, skin — even your ficus.

What’s the difference between seltzer, sparkling water, club soda, and tonic water? Is one better for you than another?

Not all transparent fizzy liquids are created equal. (Just ask poor Crystal Pepsi.) Though these terms are used interchangeably in a way that has muddied the distinctions between them, there are, in fact, distinctions.

The word “seltzer” has its roots in a German spa town called Selters, whose naturally…



Maya Kroth

Itinerant journo, ex @fulbrightprgrm Spain & @sipiapa_oficial in Mex, interested in siesta, travel, food, journalism, bicycles & bourbon.

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