You’d think a glass of Perrier would be pretty safe as far as digestion goes—I mean, mineral water is about as close to regular H2O as you can get.
Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice fizzy drinks for good if you want to live a bloat-free life. (Your LaCroix stash is safe!) Youkilis is pretty passionate about belly issues, so she knows exactly how to avoid that balloon feeling brought on by sparkling bevs.
Here, she breaks down the differences between sparkling water, mineral water, club soda, and kombucha. Warning: She very well might burst your health-minded bubble.
Keep reading for more on the connection between carbonated water and bloating.
The fizzy water showdown
There are essentially three types of sparkling water: seltzer, club soda, and mineral water. According to Youkilis, they aren’t all created equal, in terms of what’s best for your gut.
“Mineral water—so something like Perrier or Saratoga Springs—is going to be the mildest because it’s naturally carbonated,” she says. “Seltzer and club soda don’t have any minerals, and there’s also more carbonation in—which you can hear when you pop open a can. More carbonation means more potential for gas.”
Not only is mineral water the healthiest choice of the three, since it’s the only option infused with nutrients, but it can actually help digestion.
Not only is mineral water the healthiest choice of the three, since it’s the only option infused with nutrients, but Youkilis says it can actually help digestion. According to one study, the minerals help fiber work better in the gut, which, ahem, moves things along.
When you drink it matters
It’s not just about the type of bubbly water you reach for—timing is also everything.
“Drinking too much sparkling water—or even regular water—before, during, or after you eat can cause bloating because it dilutes the digestive juices in your gut,” Youkilis says. Yes, you read that correctly: Even plain H20 can make you feel uncomfortable post-meal.
Even plain H20 can make you feel uncomfortable post-meal.
Youkilis explains that you need those gastric acids for digestion to run smoothly, so the key is to sip water instead of gulping it down. Or, better yet, stay hydrated throughout the day so that you can save your glass of agua for an hour after you eat.
And then there’s kombucha….
Ready for your mind to be blown? According to Youkilis, even gut-friendly kombucha can cause bloating.
“For the majority of people, it’s wonderful for the digestive system because of the active probiotics that a lot of us simply need more of, but there’s also a lot of natural sugar and sometimes added sugar in there as well,” she explains. “So if someone has sugar or yeast issues, they should be careful with it.”
Youkilis recommends drinking your booch with portion control in mind. “You should really only be drinking between two and four ounces—and a normal bottle has more than double that.” Her tip: Pour your kombucha in a small glass and sip it.
“You should really only be drinking between two and four ounces—and a normal bottle has more than double that.”
To be clear, none of this means sparkling drinks are bad for you. In fact, Youkilis is all for them. “They’re a great choice, especially for people who are trying to cut out soda or sweet treats,” she says. “And the good news about all of this is that your body will tell you if sparkling water is making you bloated. If you drink it regularly and then cut it out, you’ll notice a difference if it’s affecting your gut.”
Youkilis says people with IBS or Crohn’s disease are a bit more susceptible to digestive probs, so they should pay extra close attention. But, really, it all comes down to listening to your body. So if you down cans of Spindrift on the reg and feel awesome, sip away!
Just like sparkling water, not all kombucha is created the same either. Here’s how to know if you’re sipping on a good one. Even if you consider yourself a healthy person, you could be sabotaging your diet without even knowing it.