Some people just don’t like the taste of water, especially tap water. The easy solution is changing the water’s flavor, or even adding a physical characteristic such as fizziness, to make it tastier. But are these additives and modifications good for you? Let’s see.

Sparkling water

Plain sparkling water has similar benefits as regular water, often called “flat” or “still.” When sugars and other flavorings are added, though, you get seltzer water, club soda, and “water beverages,” which can have very different nutritional values.

First let’s talk about the difference between plain water and sparkling water. The bubbles in sparkling water come from carbon dioxide gas, either naturally produced—usually from mineral springs—or artificially injected just like carbonated soda, pop, or whatever it’s called where you live. For the most part, you’re getting the same benefits from sparkling water as you get from regular tap water.

Bottom line with plain carbonated water: If it helps you drink more water this summer, go for it.

“Waters” that aren’t water

Now let’s move on to the water “beverage.” This is where reading labels counts. Many products in this class are little more than cleverly disguised soft drinks. Check the sugar count on these drinks, and don’t be fooled by the “0 calorie” selling feature. Some of these low- and no-cal drinks contain artificial sweeteners, including sugar alcohols, which can upset some tummies.

How much water do we need?

Water, the essence of life, plays a vital role in the digestive process and helps regulate body temperature, move nutrients into cells, and remove waste from cells. In general, adults should try to drink this amount of water daily:1

  • Women: 9 cups per day (72 ounces)
  • Men: 13 cups per day (104 ounces)

These guidelines may need to be adjusted depending on factors such as:

  • Activity level: When exercising, be sure to drink before, during, and after activity.
  • Area climate and temperature: If you live in a hot or humid climate, you’ll need to drink more water to replace what is lost through perspiration.
  • Illness: If you’re sick, for example with a cold, you’ll want to drink plenty of fluids to help your body heal (and to replace water lost through mucus).
  • Medications: Antihistamines, diuretics, laxatives, and blood pressure medications can cause dehydration.
  • Alcohol consumption: The more you drink, the more water you need.

Tip: Coffee, tea, milk, and low-sodium broth—which are primarily water—count toward daily water intake goals.

Do’s and don’ts

No matter whether you prefer sparkling or flat water, these handy guidelines can help you stay hydrated this summer:

  • Drink beverages that contain water but beware the caffeine culprit. When you’re aiming to stay hydrated, remember that caffeine and alcohol can work against you.
  • Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to sip water; by that time, you may already be experiencing dehydration. Keep a bottle by your side and sip throughout the day. Also try drinking a full glass as soon as you wake up and before each meal.
  • Your urine color can help you determine whether you’re getting enough water; the more you drink, the paler it’s likely to get. But don’t panic if it doesn’t change as much as you think it should. Some foods, vitamin supplements, and medications can affect the color too.2
  • If you’re planning to be active—playing tennis, running, cycling, hiking—Camelbak offers a hydration calculator to help you dial in your needs.3

Keeping an eye on your water intake this summer is one of the best ways to ward off heatstroke and dehydration. For common summer ailments such as bug bites, skin infections, and sunburn, Teladoc can help. Our board-certified physicians are available 24/7 anywhere you are to help diagnose and treat you and your loved ones’ non-emergency conditions. Be sure to download the app and sync your Apple HealthKit or Google Fit account to it.

Enjoy your summer, and be sure to keep the sunscreen nearby at all times (broad-spectrum SPF 30+). (Important note: If you’re experiencing a heat-related emergency, contact 911 or go to your nearest ER or urgent care clinic.)

Sources

1Mayo Clinic
2Livestrong
3Camelbak

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