sparkling water, seltzer, hunger

Sparkling Water Won't Make You Eat More

Why one study isn't enough to suggest fit bodies skip the bubbly drink

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and nutrition research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness, nutrition, and health topics.

Today’s Topic: Does sparkling water make you hungrier?

The Science: A recent study published in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice suggests that drinking carbonated water makes you feel hungrier. Researchers found that rats given fizzy water to drink gained more weight than those who only drank flat water and also had higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that indicates hunger. The experiment was then repeated on 20 human participants and subjects who drank sparkling water showed ghrelin levels six times greater compared to those who only consumed still water. 

Expert Insight: "Generally, soft drink consumption is tied to obesity because these beverages are packed with extra sugars and nutritionally void, providing 'empty calories' that do not leave you feeling satisfied," says New York City-based nutritionist Claire Shorenstein, RDN, MA in clinical nutrition. "This study raises an interesting implication that carbon dioxide could be tied to weight gain, but there is not a large enough body of research to show that carbonation alone will cause someone to gain weight. There are so many factors that also affect the hunger and satiety hormones, such as how much you are sleeping or your stress levels, for instance, and you must also take into account lifestyle factors like physical activity and overall diet. And these components were not incorporated in the study performed on the rats," notes Shorenstein.

The Bottom Line: Don't give up your can of La Croix just yet. "More research is needed. The human trial was not a large enough sample size and the effect seen in rats might not be the same for humans," adds Shorenstein.