There's no denying it — sparkling water is poppin' right now. But not everyone is a fan. We had two staff writer face off in a bubbly battle over America's most controversial beverage.
Banish the bubbles
Sparkling water is disgusting.
I won't even apologize, because why the hell would you drink that stuff?
I'm not just talking about the taste — I've tasted worse drinks before. But contrary to popular belief, that La Croix you're sipping right now is bad for you.
According to The Atlantic, fizzy water's acidity can lead to tooth decay — and flavored sparkling water is even worse for tooth enamel.
Thus if you were to drink sparkling water, you should drink in five- to 10-minute bursts so the tooth enamel can recover, according to the same New York Post article.
Research shows sparkling water in excess can also lead to weight gain.
According to a 2017 study in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, rats that drank sparkling water gained weight quicker than rats that drank regular water. The carbonated beverages caused their bodies to release the hormone ghrelin, which made them hungrier faster.
This study also looked at young men, and it turned out they had higher levels of ghrelin in their bodies as well.
Seltzer is literally not for everyone.
According to an April 2015 Healthline article, sparkling water can lead to bloating and extra gas, and it's not suited for those sensitive to carbonated drinks, especially those with stomach issues, digestion problems or irritable bowel syndrome.
In a society as beauty-obsessed as ours, it's contradictory to encourage people to spend money on everything from whitening strips to plastic surgeries while also pushing the idea that sparkling water is good for you.
News flash: it's not.
Health risks aside, I don't understand why you can't just drink water. It's not that hard. It's cheaper, it's cleaner, and it's better for you.
Nowadays, a gallon of water is basically free, and a pack of bottled water costs less than five dollars, whereas one La Croix is at least $3. Do we really have nothing more to buy than a crappy can of bubbles?
I can get three gallons of water for one La Croix that tastes nothing more than a Sprite with zero personality.
We're a developed country, which means most of us have access to clean and fresh water almost every day. Some countries are struggling to even get water at all, and you're sitting on your balcony sipping your grapefruit La Croix, pointing your finger and guffawing at the thousands who don't.
Basically, sparkling water is for people who don't want to be basic yet desperately want to fit in with the crowd.
But, who am I to judge, right? Sparkling water enthusiasts may argue that I just don't have the palate for the sophistication of this drink. But let's be honest: Do I even need a palate to know that sparkling water sucks?
– Balbina Yang, staff writer
In defense of the fizz
People who complain about sparkling water are a little bit like plain old tap water — boring, lukewarm and in endless supply.
For as popular as sparkling water has become recently — sales have gone up 42 percent over the past five years, according to NPR — the bubbly beverage has also garnered its fair share of haters, people who will stop at nothing to tell you that you're a pretentious piece of shit and also your teeth are gonna fall out and also you'll probably die of a bubble overdose.
But here's the deal — I don't really care.
I don't drink sparkling water because I'm an obnoxious post-millennial who owns a fidget spinner (ugh, true) and listens to SoundCloud rap (smh) — I drink it because I enjoy it.
It's light, refreshing, tingly, bubbly, energizing, tasty, sharp — all things you can call me too, for what it's worth.
Tap water is like someone who comes up to you at the bar and starts a conversation with absolutely nothing interesting to say. On the other hand, sparkling water is the thoughtful, interesting charmer who comes up, starts a light, friendly conversation about a suddenly discovered mutual interest and leaves 5 minutes later with no pressure or expectations. And if you see them at the bar two weeks later, you pick up right where you left off.
Even though sparkling water is far superior to its flat, faucet-born compatriot, tap water isn't even its main competitor.
I regularly drink Polar and LaCroix, but I still drink normal water every single day. Sparkling water is NOT an alternative to normal hydration, and I don't have a sink that adds bubbles — that's just not how it works.
However, sparkling water is a excellent alternative to soda and other canned beverages chock-full of sugar or artificial sweeteners. It's not as sweet or flavorful as those drinks, but it doesn't have to be. It's a nice middle ground between the hellish boringness of Deer Park and the sugar-rush heaven of Coke.
I know people who drink one, two, three Cokes a day. Maybe they should just try a less flavorful, sure, but far healthier alternative to seltzer's carbonated cousin.
And as for the "health risks" associated with seltzer — sorry, but nope. Unless you live in a self-contained, sterile bubble, you probably drink, eat and do things that are far worse for you on a daily basis. The most dangerous thing about seltzer is the can it's served in — sometimes the hole can be rather sharp after you pop open the can. Drink carefully.
I don't even feel the need to defend all forms of sparkling water — as much as I love the colorful, Lil Pump hair-look of LaCroix cans, no one is dying to drink orange or passionfruit or, God forbid, coconut. But every brand has delicious flavors; they might not hit you in the face with a hammer fashioned from fruits, but they might just teach you that subtlety is something to appreciated, not scoffed at.
*cracks LaCroix* Cheers <3
– Patrick Basler, Diversions editor