Do you watch what you eat, avoid inflammatory foods, stick to a healthy exercise routine, and still struggle with belly bloat on a regular basis? It could be a "healthy" drink that's to blame—one you might consider cutting out of your diet altogether. Unfortunately, you're probably not going to want to.
Though many of us turn to carbonated water for a healthy alternative to harmful sodas (La Croix, anyone?), it turns out that it might not be doing our stomach any favors. When Australian publication Body+Soul reached out to accredited dietitian Charlene Grosse to weigh in on the subject, she gave them some unfortunate news: "sparkling mineral water simply contains natural gasses, or has been artificially carbonated by pumping carbon dioxide through it. Therefore, carbonated water can cause a buildup of air that can move down the digestive tract and into the colon, causing bloating and gas."
It feels kind of obvious when you think about it, but you also shouldn't worry too much—drinking sparkling water every now and then isn't going to be a significant detriment to your health. At the end of the day it's just gas, and that means it's temporary. Not to mention, it's better for you than something sugar-laden like juice or soda. If you're using sparkling water as a replacement for either of those, you should be proud that you are making a healthier choice.
Regardless, that still doesn't mean there aren't negatives to drinking sparkling water. So if you're really, really looking to end any kind of bloat or finally achieve a flatter tummy, avoiding sparkling water is a good bet. Drinking a large amount of anything carbonated also has the potential be an issue for those with IBS or any similar maladies. "If you have stomach issues and experience these after drinking carbonated water, you may be better off eliminating it," she says. If you still want your bubbly fix, mineral water beats out soda water or seltzers because it's naturally carbonated. Otherwise, fermented drinks like kombucha could be a refreshing way to enjoy some carbonation while also aiding with digestive health.