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Sparkling water: Healthy alternative or millennial fad?

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https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/sparkling-water-healthy-alternative

bigthink.com

Sparkling water: Healthy alternative or millennial fad?
Sparkling waters are the latest in health chic, providing all the fizzy refreshment of a soft drink with none of those wicked calories. Today, Americans drink as much as 170 million gallons of sparkling water each year, and its popularity has surged to the point that The Guardian dubbed it "little short of a religion among millennials."As with any health food trend, questions of its validly abound.

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170 million gallons

170 million gallons

...is the amount of sparkling water Americans drink each year.

Sparkling waters are the latest in health chic, providing all the fizzy refreshment of a soft drink with none of those wi...

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Carbonated water

It describes water with carbon dioxide dissolved into it. 

CO₂ can be introduced through natural processes, or by artificially injecting the gas into water while it is under pres...

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Classifying sparkling waters

  • Seltzer water: water with carbonation. May include natural flavors. No sugar or sodium.
  • Club soda adds sodium bicarbonate or potassium sulfate to carbonated w...

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Carbonated water vs. regular water

Plain carbonated water is just as hydrating as regular water.

Mineral waters with calcium and bicarbonate have been shown to improve hydration during exercise.

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Sparkling water health effects

Some claim sparkling water has injurious effects, such as reducing bone mineral density, but research shows such claims are overstated or outright myths.

There is one criticism of sparkling w...

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Alkaline water

Alkaline water

Alkaline water - water that has been treated to have a higher pH level than the 6.5-7.5 pH range - is experiencing a surge in popularity.

There are a variety of alkaline water brands on t...

Marketing claims

Marketing claims behind alkaline water are based on the acid-ash hypothesis. The idea is that eating certain foods, like meat, dairy, and eggs, results in acid ash in your body, which increases your acid levels and causes health problems.

While there are some poorly designed studies that suggest alkaline water confers health benefits, there is no rigorous scientific evidence to support this belief.

The science behind blood pH

You can't change the pH of your body by drinking alkaline water. Your body regulates its blood pH in a very narrow margin. If your pH varied too much, you wouldn't survive. 

However, your diet does affect the pH of your urine. Most people's urine is about 6, which is acidic and not a problem. Alkaline may make your urine less acidic, but it doesn't make a difference to your health.

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Understanding how long food lasts

Understanding how long food lasts

Should humanity face a nuclear apocalypse of worldwide war, we need to understand which foods might be safe for survivors to eat, and how long the foods will last.

To understand this, we ne...

Why foods go bad

Most foods spoil because of the growth of microbes. Preserving food is an attempt to limit microbial growth. Food can be preserved by drying, salting, chilling, or storing in air-tight containers.

  • Drying is the most effective because microbial growth is inhibited.
  • Salting is effective because it removes moisture, creating an environment where microbes cannot survive.
  • Sugar coating can prevent bacterial cells from functioning correctly.
  • Storing in air-tight containers is less effective because there are probably a lot of microbes on the food before you put it in the container. Some microbes are anaerobic, meaning they don't need oxygen.

Food preservatives

Preservatives are used in foods to extend their shelf lives. One of McDonald's Big Mac in Iceland is an example of a long-lasting processed food. It has been on display since 2009, in a glass box. Preservatives that has been discontinued by McDonald's are:

  • calcium propionate that prevents mold growth on bread.
  • sorbic acid that also inhibits mold from cheese
  • sodium benzoate, which inhibits the growth of bacteria in the Big Mac special sauce.

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Coffee in moderation

Coffee was once believed to be a possible carcinogen. However, the evidence is consistent that coffee in moderation is associated with a lower risk of mortality.

Research found moderate ...

The way coffee is prepared matters

  • Roasting reduces the number of chlorogenic acids, but other antioxidant compounds are formed.
  • Instant coffee may not have the same health benefits.
  • The oil in boiled coffee has cafestol and kahweol, compounds known to raise LDL, the bad cholesterol, and slightly lower HDL, the good cholesterol. However, the clinical significance of such small increases in cholesterol may be questionable.

Coffee and caffeine

  • A typical 12-ounce serving of drip coffee has 200 milligrams of caffeine.
  • Instant coffee has 140 milligrams of caffeine.
  • Espresso has the highest concentration of caffeine, 70 milligrams per one-ounce shot, but is consumed in smaller quantities.
  • Brewed decaf has caffeine too - about 8 milligrams.
  • Some people have a genetic variant that slows their metabolism for caffeine and keeps them awake deep into the night.

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