5 Signs You're Drinking Too Much Seltzer Water, According to a Dietitian

Here are a few things to look out for if you can't get enough of this bubbly beverage.

Seltzer water may be a much-loved staple in your fridge. The sweet-and-bubbly sip can make for a refreshing drink and serve as a lower-sugar carbonated alternative to soda. But even with all its appeals, is it possible to overdo it? In this article, we'll share the harms of having too much seltzer water, signs you may be overdoing it and if you should cut back.

Potential Downsides of Too Much Seltzer Water

Even something as benign (and enjoyable!) as seltzer water can have side effects. Most of the bubbly-bev-provoked issues are mild and short-lived; however, chronically overconsuming seltzer water may lead to some unpleasant, long-term effects.

a photo of a glass of seltzer water splashing out of a glass with a lemon slice on the rim
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The harms of overdoing seltzer water are partly due to its acidic pH. While still water has a neutral pH, seltzer water is acidic. Why? The addition of carbon dioxide to water creates carbonic acid.

In the short term, seltzer water's carbonation and acidic pH could lead to gas, bloating and acid reflux.

In the long term, drinking too much seltzer water may also cause dental erosion. That's because acidity wears down your tooth enamel, making you more susceptible to cavities. While all seltzer waters will have a slightly acidic pH, those with citric acid or acidic juices will likely have an even higher pH. And those with added sugars may be especially risky when it comes to dental health.

You may also want to consider the ingredients in your seltzer water. Sugar-sweetened options contribute to your added sugar intake, something the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends keeping below 10% of your total calories for the day. A high intake of added sugars is associated with chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

5 Signs You're Drinking Too Much Seltzer Water

Wondering how much is too much? Pay attention to these clues that you may need a seltzer break.

1. You Have Excess Bloating or Gas

The carbonation in seltzer water results from carbon dioxide added to water. When you drink seltzer water, the bubbles you swallow are gas. You might burp some out, but excess gas can remain in your stomach, leading to bloating. This is especially true if you drink it from a straw, as you may swallow more air that way.

If you're noticing a lot of gas or bloating you weren't feeling before, consider cutting back on seltzer water and seeing if your stomach symptoms improve. If you have gastrointestinal problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may be more likely to have bloating.

2. You Have Weaker Tooth Enamel

Get a poor report from your dentist at your last appointment? Acidity can weaken tooth enamel; as mentioned earlier, seltzer water is slightly acidic. Flavored seltzer water is generally even more acidic, although not as much as orange juice, coffee or soda.

An easy fix: Rinse your mouth out with still water after you're done sipping the seltzer, which can help neutralize the pH. You can also try drinking out of a straw to bypass the teeth. (But then, bloating.)

3. Your Urine Is Very Clear

Just like overconsuming regular water, overconsuming seltzer water can contribute to excess hydration, leading to very clear urine. This can indicate that your overall fluid intake is greater than it needs to be. While mild overhydration usually isn't harmful, if you really overdo it, it can lead to water intoxication or hyponatremia, which require immediate medical attention.

4. You're Urinating Often

Frequent urination is another sign of overhydration that could be caused by excess seltzer water intake. For most people, urinating every two to three hours is a sign of adequate hydration. Urinating more frequently may signal you are more hydrated than you need to be and may benefit by cutting back on fluid intake.

5. Your Appetite Is Suppressed

The carbonation in seltzer water can contribute to a feeling of fullness, dulling your appetite. If you're in recovery from an eating disorder or struggle with low appetite in general, you may need to be especially mindful of this. Seltzer water typically does not have many calories or nutrients, so don't let this bubbly beverage get in the way of meeting your body's energy needs.

How Much Seltzer Is OK to Drink?

There's no hard-and-fast rule for how much seltzer water to have in a day, so tune in to your body's cues. For example, if you have a gastrointestinal condition like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or IBS, you may do better with a low intake of seltzer water to prevent excess bloating, gas or reflux. If you already struggle with low appetite, you, too, may need to be especially cautious about overdoing seltzer water to ensure you consume enough calories.

Overall, if you're sensitive to the carbonation and acidity of seltzer water, you may want to limit yourself to one can or glass per day and see how you feel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to drink seltzer water every day?

For most people, drinking seltzer water daily is perfectly OK and can be a fun way to hydrate. If you have a GI condition, sensitive teeth or low appetite, you may want to be mindful of how much you're drinking or cut back if necessary.

What are the side effects of too much seltzer water?

Consuming a moderate amount of seltzer water generally won't lead to side effects. However, higher amounts can lead to bloating, excess gas, tooth erosion, suppressed appetite and overhydration.

Does drinking too much seltzer water cause reflux?

Because seltzer water is acidic and carbonated, it can lead to reflux when consumed in excess. Those with chronic reflux or GERD are especially at risk.

Is seltzer water bad for your kidneys?

Most of the research on carbonated beverages and kidney health has studied soda or diet soda, not seltzer water. These studies, such as an older one published in 2007 in Epidemiology, have found a higher risk of kidney disease in those who consumed more soda and diet soda, particularly colas. However, this is probably because of the phosphoric acid and added sugars in these products. Since seltzer water typically doesn't contain either of these ingredients, it likely does not have the same harmful effect on kidney health. However, if you have kidney disease, talk to your doctor.

The Bottom Line

Seltzer water can be a fun way to add variety to your hydration routine. Unsweetened options can give you the carbonation from soda without the added sugars. A modest amount of seltzer water daily should be safe for most people, but excess consumption can lead to side effects like bloating and excess gas. Lean into your body's cues to see if seltzer water is giving you issues, and adjust your intake accordingly.

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