When it comes to health, many people live by the “everything in moderation” motto. You can watch 18 episodes of Game of Thrones on the couch in your pajamas one day, and spend the next day soaking in the sunshine outdoors on a strenuous hike. But in a world where fervor for LaCroix is almost cult-like, you might be wondering how much selzer is too much. Surely something as refreshing and bubbly and downright delicious as seltzer could be OK in moderate doses — right?
Luckily, you don’t have to choose between giving up your LaCroix habit forever and waving goodbye to your dental and stomach health. This is a world in which you can be both healthy and full of bubble fizz.
There are, of course, things to watch out for when it comes to your seltzer. While there’s no need to eliminate your precious blackberry cucumber or tangerine bev from your life altogether, there is an upper limit for everything you consume, including even the amount of regular water you drink in a day (drowning from drinking too much water is a real, and terrifying thing). But what exactly is the absolute maximum amount of sparkling water cans you can down in a given day without your body crumbling in response? According to experts, it turns out that the more important question may actually be how your body uniquely responds when you drink these bubbly bevs.
Dr. Joseph Galati, M.D., president of the Texas International Endoscopy Center, tells Elite Daily over email that he wouldn't specifically look at sparkling water as a better or worse substitute for flat water. Drinking 64 ounces of water a day — whether it's still, sparkling, or a combination of the two — is the safest target overall, he says.
The bad news? The way sparkling water affects your gastrointestinal tract, according to Dr. Galati, varies from person to person.
“For some people, very little gaseous distention makes them sick, while others have a far greater tolerance for this," Dr. Galati tells Elite Daily. In other words, if you're not experiencing any noticeable or uncomfortable side effects from your seltzer habit, then you're probably fine.
Not only is sparkling water generally harmless to the stomach lining, but according to Dr. Ramon Duran, DMD, a cosmetic and restorative dentist, it's not a huge concern for your tooth enamel, either: “Studies show that when comparing sparkling water with regular water, there are no damages to the teeth,” Duran tells Elite Daily. Basically, Duran says, most warnings you’ve heard about how seltzer is bad for your teeth are either exaggerated or just not scientifically proven. So really, there’s no need to cut out sparkling water from your diet unless your personal physician recommends you do so.
Another popular misconception about sparkling water is that it weakens your bones by leaching the calcium from them. Luckily, though, your daily soda water habit likely won’t be turning your bones into jelly anytime soon: The myth that fizzy water reduces bone density has been debunked by sources such as Harvard Women’s Health Watch, with the caveat that you simply make sure you’re getting enough calcium from other healthy sources.
If you're careful to eat enough calcium-rich foods in addition to satisfying your sparkling water habit, you won’t be hurting your bones one bit.
But then the question is: How much calcium is enough calcium? Well, to give you a specific number, the National Institutes of Health recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day for adults. In completely unrelated news, I would like to report that just one serving of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream has 10 percent of your daily calcium dose. That is exactly my kind of “everything in moderation” policy: eating ice cream because it’s technically contributing to my health. Of course, for the non-dairy folks out there, there are plenty of milk-free sources of calcium, such as fortified plant milks, tofu, and even leafy greens.
Now that your fears are somewhat allayed, are you still looking for a specific number of seltzer cans you can safely drink per day? I hate to break it to you, but there's not exactly one clear, 100-percent-accurate scientific answer to that question — but a little bit of math may provide a helpful guideline: Dr. Galati suggests that 64 ounces of water per day is a healthy target, which is on-par with most sources on the subject. Since a standard can of LaCroix contains 12 ounces, that means five cans is probably a good daily limit. Just please don't waste those five cans on coconut LaCroix — which Thrillist recently ranked as the worst flavor — in a world where we have delightful flavors like lime at our disposal. I mean, come on. You're better than that.