Back in the old days (i.e. when your good doctor was a kid) we used to get a weekly delivery of bottled seltzer. These were the old fashioned glass bottles that had a spray top. This stuff was under very high pressure so you always had to be careful than bottles didn’t explode. However, when you sprayed the seltzer and drank it, the biggest burps ever would come out of your mouth. Watching my father and uncles drink the stuff was hilarious because all you would hear would be these old guys burping (and then farting) like crazy. When you are a kid, that scene is incredibly funny. Also, almost every episode of the Three Stooges had a scene where Moe squirted Curly with Seltzer orCurly squirted Larry.
Let’s move away from the 1960’s and get to the present day. There are a myriad number of carbonated drinks available to us, including sodas, seltzers, waters, energy drinks and a bunch of others. So, the question: Are carbonated drinks healthy or harmful?
We have all heard stories/whispers about carbonated drinks causing bone loss, enamel destruction of teeth and/or gastrointestinal problems. Looking deeper into these potential issues, studies really do not show bone loss caused by carbonated drinks unless those drinks contain phosphorus, that may lead to calcium loss from bones. Concerning teeth enamel damage, similarly, unless there are added chemicals such as acids, carbonation in and of itself does not cause enamel loss. Another issue is acid reflux/bloating that may occur but this does not happen to most people
Concerning weight gain, there are some questionable studies about the appetite-increasing hormone ghrelin being enhanced by consuming carbonated drinks. However, these studies are not conclusive and small studies were only done in males.
The bottom line: If your carbonated drinks are sugar/calorie free, and these break up the monotony of plain water, feel free to incorporate these into your dietary plan. However, try to keep the phosphorus and acid contents as low/non-existent as possible.
And here is a special one for you Three Stooges Fans…Watch this and try not to laugh.