If you’re like me, you love drinking sparkling water. It’s refreshing, fizzy, and tastes great. But if you’re also like me (and my daughter), you might notice your stomach feeling full or uncomfortable after a few drinks. You might even need to burp or fart more than usual. And this can make a workout feel impossible. So what’s going on? Why does sparkling water make you feel bloated?
The answer lies in the bubbles. Sparkling water is carbonated, meaning it has carbon dioxide gas. Some of that gas escapes your mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines when you drink it. There, it can build up pressure and cause bloating.
Bloating is the feeling of fullness or tightness in your abdomen. Bloating is caused by many things, such as eating too much or too fast, swallowing air while eating or drinking, having certain medical conditions, or taking certain medications. And a common cause is gas, like carbon dioxide from sparkling water.
Gas is a normal part of digestion. It’s produced when bacteria in your gut break down the food you eat, especially carbohydrates like sugars and starches. The fermentation of carbohydrates produces hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane in the colon. Some foods, such as beans, cabbage, broccoli, and dairy products, are more likely to cause gas than others.
Usually, gas passes out of your body through burping or farting. But sometimes, it can get trapped in your digestive tract and cause discomfort. Trapped gas can happen if you have a slow food transit time, if you have constipation, if you have a bowel obstruction, or if you have a condition that affects how your muscles contract (such as irritable bowel syndrome).
Sparkling water can make bloating worse by adding more gas to your system. The bubbles can also stretch your stomach and intestines, making them more sensitive to pressure changes. And if you drink sparkling water with meals or snacks high in carbohydrates or fiber (which also produce gas), you might end up with even more bloating.
So what can you do to prevent or relieve bloating from sparkling water? Here are some tips:
- Drink sparkling water slowly and sip it rather than gulp it down.
- Avoid drinking sparkling water with straws or bottles that make you swallow more air.
- Limit the amount of sparkling water you drink per day.
- Drink plain water instead of sparkling water if you’re already feeling bloated.
- Choose low-carbonated varieties of sparkling water.
- Avoid drinking sparkling water with foods that cause gas.
- Eat smaller portions and chew your food well.
- Exercise regularly to help move gas along your digestive tract.
- Try over-the-counter remedies such as antacids or simethicone (such as Gas-X) to reduce gas production or break up bubbles.
Bloating caused by sparkling water is fine and isn’t believed to cause short- or long-term health problems. It’s just uncomfortable. Sparkling water is a great way to stay hydrated and satisfy your thirst without adding calories or sugar to your diet (but check the label to be sure). But if it makes you feel bloated, try some of these tips to enjoy it without discomfort.
Do you drink sparkling water? How does it affect your digestion? Share your thoughts in the comments below!