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Behind Sparkling Water

2 Comments 30 June 2010

Behind Sparkling Water

Do you love to drink bubbles but you feel a little guilty about all the sugar contained in you favorite soft drink? If you are desperately thirsty but you won’t give up on the bubbles, sparkly water might be the answer for you! Did you know that sparkly water is also called fizzy water, soda water or carbonated water. While you might hear real lovers of sparkly water call it straight by the name of their brand of preference: Voss Water (Norway) or Gerolsteiner (Germany).  Many have declared that sparkling water is many benefits for the body, while others believe that an excessive consumption can have negative consequences on the long term.

While bubbly water is growing in popularity in the United States, in Europe it has become a main consumption good in demand almost as much as plain water. At a first glance, this seems like a recent trend, yet, don’t be fooled, the first drinkable glass of carbonated water was invented in 1767 by Joseph Priestley, an English chemist and clergyman, he loved to experiment with science. (Source: Priestly was a very active man involved in politics, philosophy and science. “He invented carbonated water and the rubber eraser, identified a dozen key chemical compounds. ” (Source: This scientist and friend of Benjamin Franklin, is mostly known for being the man who discovered oxygen.  He discovered that “air” is  not an elementary substance by is composed by a mixture of elements, one of them being “dephlogisticated air” which  today we know as “oxygen”.  This breakthrough presented an important step for the future of science and enabled other scientists to discover other chemical elements.  Oxygen was only the first step that enabled him to created carbonated water at the end on the 18th century.  It is important to keep in mind that before Priestly’s invention, Mother Nature had already done its part, mineral water could be found in some natural springs around the world. Carbonated Water gained its popularity around the 1830s, when John Mathews – an English-born American inventor and soda water manufacturer; known as “The Soda Fountain King” - invented a new apparatus for creating carbonated water that he later manufactured and started selling to soda fountains owners. Often in partnership with a local pharmacy, soda fountains served as a meeting point for citizens of big and small cities. Soon after, sparkly water, of the natural or artificial kind, started being considered a healthy habit. Pharmacists in America that were selling mineral water started to add medicinal or flavored herbs to the water. The demand for this flavored bubbly water grew rapidly and soon enough people wanted to have this “healthy water” even at home. This gave the starting input to the soft drinking bottling industry (Source:

Today, most carbonated water on the market is created artificially by forcing carbon dioxide into the water.  It is important to make the distinction that sparkling water is not necessarily natural mineral water. Most sparkly water is created artificially. “ Mineral water is defined as water that contains more than 250 parts per million of a dissolved mineral source. Though some mineral water can be sparkling water with the addition of carbonation, not all sparkling water is mineral water” (Source:  Often, flavored syrups are added to sparkling water to give it an extra sweet taste, while maintaining the quantity of sugar still lower than the one found in the majority of soft drinks.

A lot of controversial studies seem to believe that drinking a lot of carbonated water can have negative effects on our body and health. Sparkling water contains dissolved CO2 gas that some people believe to be harmful to ingest. “Claims have been made that carbonated water erodes teeth and bones, leaches calcium and increases acidity in the stomach” (Source: ). When CO2 reacts with water, a chemical reaction occurs and the result is carbonic acid (H2CO3). Some have said that this excess acid can be dangerous for consumers; yet the stomach is much more acid and overrules the acidity of any carbonated drink. When it comes to calcium loss, studies have so far failed to prove a direct connection between acidic ingestion from carbonated water and a significant calcium loss.  Finally, concerning the potential erosion of our teeth, one would have to drink a massive amount of carbonated water in order to risk dissolving the enamel of its teeth. “A study at the University of Birmingham found that carbonation had measurable, but small erosive characteristics, much smaller than the more acidic levels found in sodas, whose pH is driven lower by the addition of phosphoric acid (Source: ).  On a more positive note, many seem to argue that carbonated water is the magic way to cure an upset stomach.

Not enough studies have been made in order to determine the real consequences of carbonated water. This water has been around since the 18th century and yet no scientific proofs can be presented against this bubbly liquid. Consuming it in reasonable doses is most likely risk-free and surely much more health than soft drinks that are full of sugar and other chemicals.



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2 Comments so far

  1. Max says:

    i love sparkly water, now that i started i can’t go without it!!

  2. Jacob says:

    this post is so interesting! i had no idea sparkly water was discovered back in the days!

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