It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
I know that carbonated soda is bad for one's health, so I try to avoid it. What about seltzer? Does it share any of the health issues of soda (such as phosphoric acid that is bad for your bones)?
Seltzer water is simply carbonated water. Carbon dioxide (not phosphoric acid) is injected into water and the effervescent bubbles are what gives the seltzer its fizziness.
Club soda, soda water and sparkling water is the same. Some sparkling waters are naturally carbonated in deep artesian wells - such as Perrier water.
It is not the carbonation in sodas that cause health problems. It is the caloric density of sugar-sweetened sodas that is causing obesity and health issues. Searching the literature, I cannot find any link to health issues from carbonated water.
Drinking sparkling mineral water or club soda can be a great, refreshing drink. Adding a bit of lime or lemon or other citrus is a great way to get extra water.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP