Bursting Bubbles: Is Sparkling Water Good for Weight Loss?

Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Reviewed by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Written by Vanessa Gibbs

Published 05/08/2024

Sparkling water — aka seltzer water or fizzy water — is hydrating, satisfying, and tasty. But is sparkling water good for weight loss? It can be!

Sparkling water might make you feel fuller than plain water, helping you eat fewer calories and lose weight. And if you swap sugary drinks (like fruit juice and soda) for sparkling water, you’ll reduce your sugar and calorie intake further.

Below, we’ll dive into the science to find out if sparkling water can help you lose weight, including the benefits, potential drawbacks, and alternatives to consider.

Sparkling water might help you lose weight. Then why is sparkling water good for weight loss?

Plain water has been linked to weight loss because it can promote lipolysis (the breakdown of fat for fuel) and increase satiety, the feeling of fullness. Swapping sugary sodas or juices for sparkling water can also help you consume fewer calories overall.

There aren’t many studies looking into sparkling water and weight loss or comparing sparkling water to plain ol’ water.

Here’s what we know.

  • A 2012 study found that drinking carbonated water made participants feel fuller compared to drinking non-carbonated water. This study was small, though — it only included 19 women.

  • Another 2012 study of 318 people with overweight or obesity found that replacing caloric beverages with water or diet drinks led to an average weight loss of roughly 2.5 percent of participants’ body weight.

  • A 2018 study looked at 71 women with overweight or obesity. Some participants swapped diet beverages for water, and others continued drinking diet beverages five times a week. After 12 months, those who swapped diet drinks for water lost more weight and had a greater reduction in BMI (body mass index) than those who kept drinking diet drinks.

Sounds promising, right? But those last two studies looked into replacing other drinks with plain water, not sparkling water.

However, water might not be king (or queen) when it comes to weight loss. 

A 2016 study had some interesting findings. It looked at drinks sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS), or sweeteners that don’t have calories.

More than 300 participants with overweight or obesity drank either 24 ounces of water or NNS beverages every day for a year while following a weight loss program.

Here’s what happened: 

  • Those who drank water lost about five pounds.

  • Those who drank NNS drinks lost around 14 pounds.

It’s unclear why NNS drinks led to more weight loss, but there are a few theories. 

First, the group drinking water reported more hunger than the group drinking NSS drinks, which may have led to consuming more calories. 

Another theory is that limiting sweeteners by only drinking water may have led to participants wanting sweetness from other things. This could have resulted in eating more sweet foods, potentially contributing to a higher calorie intake and less weight loss.

You might get that satisfied feeling from drinking sparkling water over plain water, especially if it’s got some natural flavors in there. 

Sparkling water may be a great tool for weight loss and weight management — but how does it work, exactly?

Here’s how sparkling water might help you lose weight: 

  • It can help you feel fuller. Drinking water before meals may help you feel fuller and eat fewer calories. It might also keep hunger in check, helping you stick to healthy meals and snacks and avoid overeating. A 2022 review of studies found that drinking 17 ounces of water before meals could improve weight loss by two to five pounds over three months. As sparkling water may make you feel fuller than regular water, this effect could be even stronger — although more research is needed.

  • It can increase fat oxidation. Water may increase the rate of lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy.

  • It can increase your metabolism. Water might boost thermogenesis (heat production in your body), which requires energy. Research shows that water can increase your metabolic rate — how fast your body burns calories — by 30 percent.

  • It can reduce your overall calorie intake. Swapping soft drinks, alcohol, and fruit juices for calorie-free sparkling water can help reduce the amount of calories you consume overall, promoting weight loss.

  • It keeps you hydrated. Sparkling water health benefits go beyond weight loss. It counts toward your overall daily water intake, helping you stay hydrated. Staying hydrated can boost your energy, helping make exercise and day-to-day movement, like walking, feel easier. It can also reduce the chances of health issues like headaches, constipation, and kidney stones. Plus, your body can confuse dehydration for hunger, so hydration can keep hunger levels in check.

  • You may prefer it to plain water. You can get these benefits from tap water or mineral water, but some people just don’t like the taste of still water. The carbonation in sparkling water may make it easier to drink enough H2O or swap out soda or diet soda for sparkling water. Either way, it’s a win for weight loss.

Check out our guide to drinking water for weight loss to learn more.

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There aren’t many risks of drinking sparkling water, but there are a few things to be aware of if you’re sipping it regularly in an effort to lose weight. 

Here’s what to know: 

  • Some sparkling water drinks have added sugar. Wondering about sparkling water calories? Just because it’s not soda doesn’t mean it’s sugar-free or zero calories. Watch out for club sodas or tonic waters with added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. These sugar-laden drinks can make weight loss harder, as you’ll be drinking extra calories. Plus, high sugar intake can increase your risk of health conditions and dental decay. Opt for plain sparkling water or those with natural flavorings, if possible.

  • Gas and bloating. The carbonation that makes sparkling water so enjoyable can cause bloating and gas. It may not be a good alternative to still water if this happens a lot. Gas and bloating can be uncomfortable and lead you to drink less water overall.

  • Potential worsening of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). For some, sparkling water — or any carbonated beverage, for that matter — can make symptoms of GERD, like acid reflux, worse. But this isn’t true for everyone. A 2010 systematic review found that carbonated drinks didn’t promote GERD or make it worse. Score. Everyone’s different, though, so if sparkling water aggravates your condition, swap it for the still stuff.

Does Sparkling Water Increase Hunger Hormones?

You might have heard that sparkling water can increase the hunger hormone ghrelin. That’s not entirely true.

In one study, rats that consumed carbonated drinks had higher ghrelin levels than rats that consumed non-carbonated drinks, and this led to more weight gain over a year. 

But, crucially, this study was done on rats — and only 20 of them at that. Studies on humans show carbonated water may make you feel fuller, not hungrier. 

Can You Drink Sparkling Water Every Day? 

Yes, you can drink sparkling water every day. You might not want to drink only sparkling water, but as long as you’re choosing sugar-free options, there’s nothing wrong with drinking sparkling water every day.  

If you experience side effects like gas and bloating, consider drinking a little less sparkling water and more non-carbonated water instead.

Sparkling water can be a healthier alternative to soft drinks and fruit juices, but it isn’t your only option when it comes to hydration. 

You can consider:

  • Still water. The OG. Also known as flat water, non-carbonated water has zero calories, zero sugar, and — if you get it from the tap — a zero-dollar price tag. Still water is used in most studies on water and weight loss, so there’s strong evidence it can help with your weight loss journey.

  • Still water with added fruit for flavor. If you’re craving a drink with flavor, try adding some mint, lemon, cucumber, or strawberries to plain water.

  • Coconut water. Coconut water contains calories, and some products have added sugar — but usually a lot less than soda. One benefit here is that coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes (calcium and potassium), so it can be useful to replenish your electrolyte levels if you sweat a lot or do long workouts.

Looking to lose weight? Sparkling water can be great, especially if you’re trying to cut down on drinking soda — or if plain water just doesn’t do it for you.

Here are answers to some key questions you may have:

  • Is sparkling water good for weight loss? There isn’t any solid evidence, but from the science we have so far, it looks likely that sparkling water is good for weight loss. It may help you feel fuller compared to still water — and still water has been linked to weight loss, but more research is needed on sparkling water. 

  • Does sparkling water have calories? Most types of sparkling water don’t have calories, making it a healthy alternative to sodas, alcohol, and fruit juice. For the most part, it’s just water and carbon dioxide gas. Some types of soda waters or tonic waters do have calories, added sugar, and artificial flavors, though.  

  • Does sparkling water make you gain weight? That depends on the type of sparkling water you’re consuming. Zero-calorie sparkling water won’t make you gain weight. You may feel bloated, though. And sparkling water with added sugar could contribute to weight gain.

Beyond staying hydrated, you might want to think about the other key components of weight loss. That includes eating nutritious foods, moving more each day, and getting enough sleep.

Weight loss medication can also be an effective tool.  

If it’s something you’re considering, take our free assessment to find out which weight loss treatments might suit you best.

10 Sources

  1. Boschmann M, et al. (2003). Water-induced thermogenesis.
  2. Eweis DS, et al. (2017). Carbon dioxide in carbonated beverages induces ghrelin release and increased food consumption in male rats: Implications on the onset of obesity.
  3. Johnson T, et al. (2010). Systematic review: the effects of carbonated beverages on gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.
  4. Laja García AI, et al. (2019). Influence of Water Intake and Balance on Body Composition in Healthy Young Adults from Spain.
  5. Madjd A, et al. (2018). Effects of replacing diet beverages with water on weight loss and weight maintenance: 18-month follow-up, randomized clinical trial.
  6. Perry D, et al. (2022). Water for weight loss. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien.
  7. Peters JC, et al. (2016). The effects of water and non-nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss and weight maintenance: A randomized clinical trial.
  8. Popkin BM, et al. (2010). Water, hydration, and health.
  9. Tate DF, et al. (2012). Replacing caloric beverages with water or diet beverages for weight loss in adults: main results of the Choose Healthy Options Consciously Everyday (CHOICE) randomized clinical trial.
  10. Wakisaka S, et al. (2012). The effects of carbonated water upon gastric and cardiac activities and fullness in healthy young women.
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