Seltzer vs Sparkling Water: Which is Healthier?

In this day and age, people are becoming more and more mindful of their health, and this affects our choices. This is very much reflected in our food and drink choices, particularly as we have grown to be more conscious as a whole of taking better care of our bodies.

We all know that hydration is a big factor in one being one’s healthiest self. More and more, people are becoming more committed to reaching their recommended daily hydration goals. Hydration is vital. Staying hydrated is vital. And everyone is looking for ways to be able to keep themselves hydrated all throughout the day.

A stellar way to encourage regular hydration is to provide more beverage options. We are in a day and age where the industry is just teeming with so many new-age flavored beverages and carbonated waters.

This uptick in choices comes from the increase of consumers who grow more health-conscious by the day. Shoppers are searching for drinks that will still taste as yummy as their diet soda addition but without all the artificial ingredients — and two great examples are seltzer and sparkling water.

Seltzer and sparkling water are options that many health-conscious individuals reach out for. But between seltzer vs sparkling water, which is healthier? Let’s check out the health benefits of each one!

What is Seltzer?

What Is Seltzer?

Seltzer is said to be the most basic form of all carbonated waters. This is because, in a nutshell, all that seltzer is: Water that has been carbonated. So for most people, seltzer is used to refer to carbonated water. But technically, if any flavoring, additive, or alteration is mixed into the carbonated water, then purists no longer refer to that as seltzer.

This bare-bones characteristic of seltzer is why it is the one most commonly used when it comes to mixing cocktails as well as drinks. Seltzer exclusively adds in water and carbonation and does not contain any sugars, minerals, or other additives that may potentially alter the flavor of the beverage.

One thing to note is that the carbonation added to water in the seltzer is made artificially. Seltzer was said to have been borne out of the desire to replicate the magnificent fizziness of water from a natural spring — without the natural spring. Infusing carbon dioxide gas or CO2 into the water creates carbonic acid. And it is this reaction that gives the water its distinct, characteristic fizz.

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What is Sparkling Water?

What Is Sparkling Water?

Sparkling water is a term that can be quite confusing because oftentimes, it is used to refer to any form of carbonated water. It has become kind of an umbrella term for all fizzy water options. Any water that has undergone carbonation is referred to by many as sparkling water. So for some, sparkling water can mean seltzers, mineral water, club soda, tonic water, and the like.

However, purists will tell you that sparkling water is different. What sets sparkling water apart from seltzers and such is the fact that its carbonation occurs naturally.

Another difference that they point out is that sparkling water is flavored bubbly water — but again, the flavor is natural flavor. This natural flavor that is added to sparkling water is derived from the natural compounds that are found in fruits.

What is Natural Flavor, you ask?

Well, by definition, natural flavor means “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis. It contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof. Its significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

The Main Difference Between Seltzer vs Sparkling Water

The Main Difference Between Seltzer vs Sparkling Water

The definitions for both seller and sparkling water as well as other forms of carbonated waters, can often become very, very fuzzy. Sometimes it’s a challenge to even find the distinctions for each one.

In order to maybe make things a little clearer, let’s approach this from a different angle — the legal angle. Legally, and by this, we mean dependent on the FDA, there is one main difference that sets seltzer and sparkling water apart from each other.

The one main difference between sparkling water and seltzer is the source of carbonation. The two differ when it comes down to where exactly their carbonation comes from.

  • If it is artificial carbonation, then it is probably seltzer. It can also be club soda. These artificially-carbonated waters are regulated the same as soda.
  • If it is a naturally-occurring carbonation, meaning the bubbles come straight from the source, then it is classified as sparkling water. This is the reason why, confusingly, sparkling bottled water is actually classified as bottled water and not soda by the FDA.

And to add some clarification to the second point, sparkling bottled water is classified as bottled water because both sparkling bottled water and sparkling mineral water contain the same amount of carbonation as it has at their source.

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Seltzer: The Potential Health Benefits & Risks

Seltzer has risen in popularity in recent years as a healthy and refreshing alternative to soda drinks. Seltzer is water that has been artificially infused with carbon dioxide gas, which is what causes it to bubble.

Potential Health Benefits

Many savor the sensation and delight of drinking carbonated beverages. Unlike soda or tonic water, however, seltzer contains no sugar, which makes it a much healthier alternative. Here are some potential health benefits that drinking seltzer brings:

1. Dental Health is Improved

Seltzer is slightly more acidic than just plain water. But this level of acidity will not damage your teeth’s enamel. Actually, studies have discovered that seltzer is 100 times less harmful to the teeth than sodas. Sodas are among the leading causes of gum disease and tooth decay.

2. Digestive Health is Improved

Those who are having digestive problems may be able to find some relief from seltzer. Experts say that drinking seltzer can help to soothe the symptoms of constipation like irregular bowel movements and stomach pain. Seltzer is also known to aid in relieving indigestion.

3. Hydration

Health experts say that seltzer is every bit as hydrating as regular water, making it a great choice for keeping hydrated.

4. Healthy Weight Management

Perhaps the most prevalent of all health benefits that seltzer brings is its lack of calories and sugar. This makes it a good, refreshing replacement for sugary drinks like soda, which can raise the risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Seltzer’s hydrating qualities also help in promoting healthy weight loss as well as weight management. Research even shows that seltzer can help in promoting the feeling of fullness. This can reduce overeating and other eating habits that are unhealthy.

Potential Health Risks

Seltzer is generally safe to drink, but it can bring about some side effects. One notable one is:


People who experience GERD of gastroesophageal reflux disease should steer clear of seltzer because this may trigger symptoms like acid reflux and increased gas.

Sparkling Water: The Potential Health Benefits & Risks

Sparkling water is another very refreshing alternative for those who crave soda. It has become a very popular option to choose over soda, and it gives a fun, fruity twist to your daily hydration habits.

Plus, since it is defined as having naturally-occurring carbonation as well as natural flavors, sparkling water is a stellar pick for those who are conscious about always trying to choose the natural option.

Potential Health Benefits

If you wish to kick that nasty soda habit or you are struggling to drink plain water on the regular, then a good alternate option for you would be sparkling water. Sparkling water gives more hydration and much fewer calories compared to soda. This extra hydration brings with it some notable health benefits:

Healthy Weight Management

Keeping hydrated is a significant factor when it comes to losing weight. If you are feeling hunger pangs, this may actually just be your body telling you that it is dehydrated because sometimes the body cannot tell the difference. If you drink enough water, you will feel satisfied and satiated for longer periods. This will help you to consume fewer calories as you go about your day.

Improved Digestion

Plenty of research has shown that sparkling water is a good tool in relieving digestion. Studies have also shown that drinking sparkling water is able to relieve both constipation and indigestion.

Potential Health Risks

If you are not particularly enamored with plain water, a good alternative is a sparkling water. It is also the better option when you are thirsty, especially over fruit juices and sugary sodas.

Of all sparkling waters, the healthiest type is that which is unsweetened and unflavored. So watch out for products that include sweeteners or additives. These kinds of sparkling water may cause these side effects for some people:

Tooth Decay

Sparkling water that is high in sugar may cause tooth decay. But keep in mind that plain sparkling water, on the other hand, will have minimal effect on your teeth, particularly in comparison to drinking soda.

You can even prevent tooth decay further by maintaining good oral hygiene by alternating sparkling water and regular water to help cleanse your enamel. To clarify, sparkling water with natural flavors isn’t really a cause for concern in this aspect.

However, some drinks will market themselves as sparkling water though they have artificial ingredients. This is where tooth troubles can kick in. So stay vigilant and always read the label.

Bloating And Gas

Sparkling water is, as we know, water that is carbonated. Carbonation can cause some people to have bloating and gas. So if you are drinking sparkling water and you notice that you have excessive gas, it’s best to switch back to regular water for a while.


So which is the healthier choice? Well, both seltzer and sparkling water bring a bunch of health benefits and are very good alternatives to sodas and other unhealthy beverages. These two are also great options for those who do not really like regular water. It all boils down to what you prefer — the important thing is to find your fizzy water of choice and sip away!

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