A simple fact of life is that everybody has certain preferences, and beverages are no exception to that. Some enjoy milk or fruit juices, whereas others only wish to drink fizzy sodas or alcohol. These beverages have strong, distinct flavors that make them desirable, so desirable that many people turn away from natural, plain water because it doesn’t have the same taste.


But hydration is important, and necessary for a healthy lifestyle, so many try to find ways to enjoy drinking water. Supermarkets sell coconut and vitamin drinks that have natural fruity tastes, as well as products like Mio water flavoring tubes. But one of the biggest twists people put on their water is to have it be sparkling.


Sparkling water is made when carbon dioxide is added to water and pressurized to make the distinctive fizzy bubbles. It was first discovered in 1767 and has expanded in popularity exponentially since. Many current beverage companies, including San Pellegrino, La Croix, and Dasani sell bottles or cases of sparkling water that are ready to drink, and there are several products, such as Soda Stream, that allow people to carbonate their own water at home.


At first glance, sparkling water seems like a viable alternative to sodas. It contains less sugar, is still able to be flavored, and has significantly less acidity than soft drinks – in fact, dentists confirm that soda is about 100 times more erosive to tooth enamel. All in all, it seems like the perfect choice for those who don’t like the taste of plain water but still desire to make healthier choices.


However, there may be a downside.


Researchers at Birzeit University in Palestine conducted a study examining how sparkling water compared to flat water in terms of affecting changes in weight. A group of mice were separated into four different factions. One group was given tap water to drink, another was given plain still water, the third had plain carbonated water, and the last drank diet carbonated water. All the mice were given the same standard diet and were examined for six months.


The researchers found that the mice that drank sparkling drinks, plain or diet, ate more food and gained significantly more weight than the other subjects. Upon further study, they discovered that the carbonation was associated with an increase in production of ghrelin, which is a hormone that tells the body that it’s hungry.


Sparkling water may be healthier than soda, but drinking it could still increase your appetite and your struggles to lose weight.


This study was published in the Obesity Research and Clinical Practice Journal.