Have you ever asked yourself or your friend if sparkling water or carbonated water has sugar? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.
Sparkling water has quickly become one of the most popular drinks for American’s and nowadays is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US.
Sparkling water sales have skyrocketed in recent years, boosted by consumers’ demand for healthier beverages and alternatives to high-sugar carbonated drinks.
Many of the sparkling water products we find on our supermarket shelves are manufactured by the same companies that make the sugary, fizzy drinks we are trying to avoid.
This leads many to question, does sparkling water have sugar? No, Sparkling water or carbonated water does not have sugar. Typically, sparkling water is made by adding carbon dioxide gas to mineral water and no sugar is added. However, this is not always the case, and many brands will add sugars, minerals, or artificial sweeteners of flavoring to their products.
Always check the product package labeling for any added sugars or other ingredients that may be used to sweeten sparkling water.
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Does sparkling water normally taste sweet?
No, unsweetened sparkling water should not taste sweet at all, although it may taste a little different compared to mineral water or tap water.
This is because the carbon dioxide gases react with the water and produce carbonic acid (H2CO3).
Carbonic acid usually tastes slightly bitter to most people, although some people’s taste buds receive this taste as slightly sweet.
Is carbonic acid good for you?
While there is some commotion online stating carbonic acid is damaging to teeth and bones, Carbonic acid is simply the result of combining carbon dioxide with water and there have been no studies to indicate that sparkling water is bad for your health in any way.
What’s in sparkling water?
This will vary from one product to the next, but the most simplistic form of sparkling water will contain mineral water or still water and carbon dioxide gas, and will likely be labeled as “carbonated water” on the ingredients list.
The gas is infused with the water at high pressure and creates bubbles and effervescence in sparkling water.
The water component of sparkling water is typically mineral water. Mineral water offers some advantages over normal still water as it’s packed with minerals that offer some great health benefits for the body.
Mineral water has proven to lower blood pressure, provide heart health, reduce high cholesterol, and reduce symptoms of constipation.
Mineral water usually contains
- Calcium carbonate
- Magnesium sulfate
- Sodium sulfate
Are all Sparkling water products the same?
No, not all sparkling water is created equal, and many brands have added their own unique ingredients.
While some are used to remove heavy metals and chemicals from water (arsenic is one example), other brands have chosen to tempt customers with the age-old trick of sweeteners and flavor additives.
And it works! A recent study found that Sparkling Ice ranked as the leading bottled sparkling water brand in the US, with over $700 million in sales over 12 months up to May 2021.
For those who don’t know Sparkling Ice, they sell flavored water products that are marketed as containing “zero sugar” and “with vitamins and antioxidants”.
While zero sugar is added, a quick check of the nutritional facts shows that the drink gets its sweetness by using artificial sweeteners such as sucralose (commonly known as Splenda).
It also contains 1% natural fruit juice, but by FDA standards, this is considered “trace” ingredients and can be marketed as “zero” sugar.
Sugar and sparkling water
Sparkling Ice is definitely not the first nor will it be the last company to promote a “zero sugar” sparkling water product, and you should be careful as many often contain artificial sweeteners.
Some artificial sweeteners are providing a growing list of health concerns, and many studies have directly linked artificial sweeteners to a greater risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
If your sparkling water is even remotely sweet in taste, then there are likely additional ingredients added to improve the taste of the product.
When in doubt, check the nutrition facts label on any product.
Here are a few examples of some of the most popular sparkling water brands in the US.
La Croix Sparkling Water
A quick check on the nutrition facts reveals zero calories. The ingredients list offers little more information and only includes “Carbonated water (naturally essenced)”.
The FAQ for La Croix states that “There are no sugars, sweeteners, or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to our waters.”
San Pellegrino Sparkling Water
San Pellegrino Sparkling mineral water is sourced from the base of the Italian Alps and provides the minerals that give it’s water such a refreshing and unique taste.
The nutrition facts label states the water contains zero calories and the ingredients list mentions “carbonated water”.
Perrier is a famous French brand of natural carbonated bottled mineral water captured at the source in Vergèze, southern France.
It has no sugar and zero calories. In recent years, Perrier has added a range of fruit flavored water products.
Waterloo sparkling water company is based out of Austin, Texas, and offers sparkling mineral water that is naturally flavored with no calories, no sugar, and no sodium.
The company has also expanded their line of products to include flavored sparkling water products, with many containing added sugars or artificial flavoring and sweeteners.
Customers are constantly being bombarded by new and exciting flavors from their favorite brands of sparkling water, with many of these new flavors containing sugar, artificial sweeteners, or artificial flavoring.
For those looking for a sugar-free carbonated water, steer clear of these flavored waters.
The best way to check if your sparkling water has sugar is to check the nutrition facts or ingredients list. Natural (still) mineral water has zero calories and unsweetened sparkling water should also be zero calories.
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