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2017-06-01 / OnCall

Testing the Waters

Virginia Wray, DO, CNSC

Q: Does calorie-free carbonated seltzer water like LaCroix count toward your daily water intake?

A: Many people overlook the importance of water in their diet, not realizing that water is an essential nutrient. Water is needed by every cell in our bodies for normal metabolism. A drop of just 2 percent of our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, muscle weakness, trouble concentrating and focusing, and shortness of breath. In fact, mild dehydration is one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. Properly hydrated, your body can function at its peak and your liver will be much more efficient at helping you burn extra fat. But we are talking about pure water, a molecule containing one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. When any chemical is dissolved into water, it changes the chemical structure of water, thus reducing the free water and hydration properties. To make seltzer water, carbon dioxide gas is dissolved into water under pressure, creating carbonic acid, which lowers the pH of the water. No associated health risks are known, other than possible gas or bloating and being mildly erosive to teeth (not nearly as bad as cola with added phosphoric acid making it 100 times more erosive than seltzer). However, seltzer water is undoubtedly less hydrating than pure water. It can be safely enjoyed, but should not displace your pure water intake. If your recycle bin is full of LaCroix cans, you may not be doing your metabolism any favors.

Virginia Wray, DO, CNSC
Bariatric Medicine
Mount Nittany Physician Group

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