To carbonate or not to carbonate?

Its a big question and a great question.

I am often asked why I don't carbonate our Jun.

Lets talk about what carbonation is.

Carbonation is adding carbon dioxide to drinks to create bubbles, fizz and sparkles.  

Carbonated water, also known as sparkling water, seltzer water or soda water is simply plain water that's been infused with carbon dioxide. The process of creating carbonated water doesn't add sugar, sodium, calories or caffeine. It adds carbon dioxide.

Is it good or bad, well there are a few things we can consider.  I guess it has to be said to begin with, that if drinking fizzy water gets us to drink more, then thats a good thing, because hydration is vital to good health and, luckily, carbonated water hydrates just as well as still water (although I do pose a question on this below), and we want good hydration when it comes to the efficiency and effectiveness of our body.  The health effects of good hydration include improved concentration, decreased risk of constipation, proper heart and kidney function, body temperature regulation and softer, more elastic skin.

The bad of carbonation

The bad begins with carbonation coming to be known through sweet sugary drinks.

On average, one third of Australians consume carbonated soft drinks daily, according to the 2011-12 ABS report.  Although the ingredients in carbonated drinks are deemed 'safe' by the Food and Drug Administration (which I would debate), these beverages may cause side effects, especially if you consume them on a regular basis. Familiarising yourself with the contents and possible side effects of carbonated sugary drinks can help you make informed nutrition choices.  On average 1 x 600ml soft drink can contain as much as 65g of sugar which is a little over 16 teaspoons.  Thats where you begin when you start to reconsider these drinks.

But carbonation isn't just for soft drinks. Water soon took over as a carbonated drink with sparkling water often cited as one of those healthy drinks you're supposed to switch to when you quit sugary soda. It's sugar-free and calorie-free, and it hydrates. But rumours still abound about its potential health drawbacks, including that it erodes tooth enamel, saps calcium from the bones, and leads to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). And, I wondered, what if you drink a lot of it? 

Is ingesting all that carbon dioxide really good for us?

The bad of carbonation has been all about leaching calcium and causing tooth enamel to erode. First research says that concerns about calcium depletion don't hold much weight. The current conclusion is that carbonation does not do any of those claims that have been made. Other ingredients in soda may do that, but carbonation does not.

Many nutritionists agree  that the myth out there about carbonation leaching calcium from the bones, especially with sodas, that the research is just not there. YET.

The same goes for eroding tooth enamel. Usually any tooth erosion comes from beverages that are sugar-sweetened in conjunction with carbonation, which tend to be highly acidic. Carbonated water is not going to be nearly as acidic.

However, there are a few things to watch out for.

And this is where my decision to NOT carbonate stems from.

Aside from carbonation not being traditional or natural, both of which I hold authentic to this process, there is stomach trouble, for some.

Carbonated beverages contain dissolved carbon dioxide, which becomes a gas when it warms to body temperature in your stomach. Regardless of how cold you drink it, our stomach warms the temperature and well bubbles will rise! Consuming carbonated soft drinks may cause repeated belching as your stomach stretches from the accumulation of carbon dioxide gas. Food and stomach acid may come up your food pipe as you belch, causing heartburn and a sour taste in your mouth.

Contrary to what was believed in the past, they believe that carbonated beverages can have a negative effect on the digestive process. The carbon dioxide present in these drinks increases the acidification of gastric juices and accelerates their production, which also accelerates digestion but also causes acid reflux, acidity, and absorption problems, which can be especially painful for people that suffer from gastritis and stomach ulcers.

Though no serious studies document it,  what is known is that it's possible that drinking a ton of sparkling water could cause some unpleasant stomach symptoms for some people.  When you are consuming extra carbonation - extra air, somebody who tends to be very sensitive to changes in their diet should definitely be on the lookout for it to possibly cause excessive burping, flatulence and abdominal distention, which could cause a lot of discomfort. 

The carbonation of sparkling water could equally have a negative effect on some people. Those with irritable bowel syndrome might experience bloating and gas because of the CO2. Additionally, you should avoid carbonated water after a workout,  as it might fill you up and cause you to drink less water to rehydrate.  Hence my note to attention above.  Whilst it still does hydrate as efficiently as water, the bloating of the bubbles may cause us to drink less.

My decision

As fermented drinks holds healing for our gut, it makes no sense to contradict that with carbonation.  Any slight irritation that could happen to the gut, is not what I am after in my creations.  What occurs in its own right, through our fermentations natural process is all that I am asking for with this drink.

It would be contradictory for me , in my view to create a beverage that is aiding in gut health and ultimately our wellness, that may in any way compromise that.

Having said all of this, some people use a fizz for relief.  Drinking fizzy stuff often makes people burp and—etiquette issues aside—this sometimes relieves feelings of pressure in the stomach and other symptoms of indigestion.  If you have trouble with acid reflux, however, things that make you burp can make those symptoms worse, and this is why people with reflux are often advised to avoid carbonated beverages.

So my decision stands with many other choices I have made in making this beverage.  Its inclusive in all ways possible.  Anything that may cause someone to not be able to gain benefit from it, is not on the table for consideration.  Plus as our gut health is a huge key component to all other areas of our wellness, I want as much of this marvellous drink consumed as often as possible, without the gas!

So, I hope this brings you to light as to why, I don't carbonate, despite the trend with fermented drinks to do so.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  Our Jun has a delightful enough fizz that gives her enough sparkle and goes down so smooth!

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