What is Carbonated Water?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Carbonated water is water that contains carbon dioxide gas. The gas creates small bubbles in the water, leading to an effervescent texture that some people find quite enjoyable. This product is also sometimes known as bubbly water, sparkling water, seltzer water, or club soda, and it comes in a variety of styles. In its simplest form, it is essentially identical to still water, except that it contains numerous bubbles, while other products may include additional ingredients that change the nutritional composition of the water.

A glass of carbonated water.
A glass of carbonated water.

Most of the carbonated water on the market is produced artificially by forcing carbon dioxide into the water at a bottling plant. It is also possible to purchase seltzer bottles and soda chargers, for people who want to make sparkling water at home with their own water sources. There are a few examples of naturally occurring carbonated water, however, some of which are bottled and distributed, and these products have been consumed for centuries by people who believed that they provided health benefits.

Carbonated water is made by adding carbon dioxide gas to regular water.
Carbonated water is made by adding carbon dioxide gas to regular water.

When people consume carbonated water, they consume the bubbles as well, and the experience is quite distinctive. Historically, some people thought that this water was beneficial to health, and some people continue to believe that it can settle an upset stomach. Some companies add minerals to the water, or carbonate natural mineral water to produce a flavored sparkling water. Tonic water, one variation, is classically made with quinine, a bitter substance that has been used to prevent malaria. The added minerals and salts can sometimes lead to health problems, such as tooth decay or high blood pressure, although flavored sodas are far more likely to cause health problems.

It is generally not a good idea to shake a bottle of sparkling water.
It is generally not a good idea to shake a bottle of sparkling water.

Some people enjoy drinking carbonated water plain, enjoying the bubbly texture and the mild flavor. Connoisseurs may even prefer waters from a specific spring or bottling facility, which is why some restaurants offer several sparkling water choices on the menu. The water can also be mixed with juice, flavoring syrups, and other ingredients to create a flavored drink.

Some enjoy drinking carbonated water plain, while others add fruit or juice.
Some enjoy drinking carbonated water plain, while others add fruit or juice.

As people who purchase and use carbonated water may have noted, the bubbles will gradually go flat once the bottle is opened, breaking the seal that holds the carbonation in the bottle. This can be prevented by using a seltzer bottle with a tight seal and a charger to maintain high carbonation levels, or by using a specialized soda tap that keeps the seal on the bottle tight so that the carbonation cannot escape.

Often mistaken for carbonated water, tonic water is a popular carbonated beverage that contains quinine.
Often mistaken for carbonated water, tonic water is a popular carbonated beverage that contains quinine.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon291116

So, carbonated water is like tap water, but not filtered?

anon145217

it is really good for plants.

anon113276

don't try the diet. it's very, very, very unhealthy.

anon108261

Can carbonated water be compressed?

FirstViolin

Has anybody ever tried the carbonated water diet? I've heard good things about it, but I wanted to ask around before I started on it.

Thanks!

EarlyForest

@closerfan12 -- You can certainly make your own carbonated water.

You just need to get a carbonated water bottle, also called a seltzer bottle or soda siphon. They come with little capsules that put the carbonation in the water, which usually make about 2 liters of carbonated water per capsule.

If you really plan on making a lot of carbonated water though, then make sure you invest in a good one, because there are a lot of cheap plastic ones out there that break as soon as you get them home.

closerfan12

Is it possible to make carbonated water at home? I keep hearing about these carbonated water makers on QVC, but it seems kind of like snake-oil.

Do those things really work?

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