Water Carbonated water is unhealthy

Mineral water: how healthy is carbon dioxide?

Status: 07/19/2019 3:57 p.m.
Many like the sparkling carbon dioxide in mineral water.

Mineral water has no calories and is popular as a thirst quencher: in 1970, consumption in Germany was 12.5 liters per capita, in 2016 there was an average of 148 liters of mineral and medicinal water per inhabitant. The carbonic acid they contain ensures the sparkling taste of many mineral waters. This has different effects on the body: Carbon dioxide can lead to heartburn and, when applied externally, is said to promote blood circulation in the skin.

Minerals provide the taste

How healthy mineral water is depends on the minerals it contains. In many mineral waters, their content is lower than, for example, in Hamburg's drinking water from the tap. Mineral water from northern Germany is characterized by a low mineral content and therefore has a rather neutral taste.

Mineral water is created when rainwater seeps into the ground and collects in deep underground reservoirs. These can be several hundred meters underground. Each reservoir has its own mineral properties. The reason for this is the different layers of rock that the rainwater passes through on its way to the subsoil. The water is cleaned, filtered and enriched with minerals.

Why does water need carbonic acid?

In the 19th century, mineral-rich medicinal water was recognized as a medicine against diseases. In order to be able to offer the healing water in pharmacies, carbon dioxide was used for preservation: It stabilizes the minerals and has a slightly disinfectant effect - the water does not cloud.

Carbon dioxide can escape in plastic bottles, which is why the minimum shelf life is shorter than that of glass bottles. Anyone who bubbles their own water should use chilled water, because it absorbs more carbonic acid than uncooled water.

Natural product sparkling water

Natural carbonic acid in mineral water is mainly found in regions where volcanoes used to be active. The carbonic acid helps the water to dissolve minerals from the rocks. That is why mineral water with natural carbonic acid usually has a higher mineral content. During the bottling process, carbonic acid may be removed from or added to the water. In order to preserve the natural purity of mineral water, it must be bottled directly at the source.

  • Natural carbonated water: The water contains the same amount of its own source carbonic acid in the bottle as at the source outlet.
  • Natural mineral water mixed with its own carbonated spring: The water contains more carbonic acid than at the source, but carbon dioxide comes from the same source.
  • Natural mineral water with carbonic acid: Carbon dioxide from other sources.

Carbonic acid and carbon dioxide in the water

Carbonic acid (H2CO3) is the combination of water (H2O) with the gas carbon dioxide (CO2). But mineral water contains very little of this real carbonic acid. Most of the carbon is present as carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolved in water.

Under high pressure, i.e. with the bottle closed, the CO2 remains dissolved in the water. When the bottle is opened the pressure is reduced and CO2 can escape as a gas.

The pearly bubbles that rise in the water and tingle in the mouth are not carbonic acid, but carbon dioxide. While tap water and still water have a neutral pH value around 7, sparkling water can have pH values ​​around 5.5. Chemically, they are therefore in the slightly acidic range. This is not harmful in itself, as the stomach naturally has a very acidic environment with pH values ​​between 1 and 2. However, gas bubbles that rise from the stomach back up the esophagus can cause acidic gastric juice to rise as well, leading to heartburn.

Fizzy heartburn

If we drink sparkling water, the small vesicles tickle our mucous membranes. This is said to stimulate the production of digestive juices. Once in the stomach, the gas finds its way out:

  • Part of it gets into the blood through the digestive tract and goes unnoticed through the lung exhaled.
  • Part escapes through Belching, this can cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus and cause heartburn.

People who have easy stomach acid flowing into the esophagus (reflux) should drink still water. Even those who often have a bloated stomach should avoid carbonated water. If you have a sensitive stomach, you should drink water with a lot of hydrogen carbonate - it neutralizes excess acids.

Does carbonic acid make you fat?

According to a study by scientists in Palestine, the pressure of CO2 on the stomach wall is said to cause the body to produce more appetizing ghrelin hormones. Whether carbonated drinks can lead to obesity is questionable and needs to be further investigated in larger studies.

Carbonic acid promotes blood circulation in the skin

The fine bubbles of carbonic acid massage the surface of the skin and act like a fine peeling, and they are also supposed to promote blood circulation in the skin. For example, you can put chilled mineral water on a towel and place it on your face or neck for a few minutes.

Cooking with sparkling water

Carbonated mineral water can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen:

  • Substitute for baking powder: carbon dioxide acts as a leavening agent in the dough. The fermenting effect can reduce the amount of yeast.
  • Calorie-free alternative to cream: For vegans, mineral water can replace cream and milk. Mineral water high in calcium can help vegans with calcium intake.
  • Makes desserts, sauces and dressings creamy.
  • Makes skimmed quark creamy, scrambled eggs light.

Important: Pay attention to a low mineral content, otherwise the taste will be adulterated.

Alcohol-free cocktail recipe

Delicious non-alcoholic cocktails can be conjured up with sparkling water. The ingredients for an Indian Summer Breeze (two 300 milliliter glasses):

  • 60 ml sea buckthorn juice
  • 60 ml orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 30 ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 10 ml agave syrup
  • Sparkling water

Experts on the subject

Prof. Dr. Sascha Rohn, food chemist
Institute of Food Chemistry
Martin-Luther-King-Platz 6, 20146 Hamburg

PD Dr. Jutta Keller, gastroenterologist
Head of functional diagnostics
Israelite Hospital Hamburg
Orchideenstieg 14, 22297 Hamburg
Tel. (040) 51 12 50

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Visit | 07/23/2019 | 8:15 pm