The Great Carbonation Debate

I’m taking a poll: On a daily basis, do you drink carbonated or uncarbonated beverages with your meals?

I grew up drinking pop (or soda) but have since made the switch to water only. On slight occasion, I’ll have a craving for a sip of coke but I have found that lately I can’t even tolerate a whole glass anymore. I made the switch to water using steps similar to the ones you’ll find in this guide.

To me, pop is like a drug. And here’s why:

1. It’s addictive; the more you drink it, the more you crave it.
2. It’s an expensive habit. If you add up how much you spend on pop per year versus the cost of FREE water (well, in America…) you might shock yourself.
3. It’s not good for you. From too much sugar to too much acid, the effects of most pops (and I understand not all) seem to add up to more bad than good.

Personally, I also feel like I’m filling my body with air rather than the nutrients from food. I tend to feel full much faster when in reality, my body isn’t full at all (and no, don’t take this as a dieting tip – it is absolutely the opposite).

Water also just seems like the better choice because it’s more natural. I can drink glass upon glass (which I do) and not feel guilty at all. Of course some water might be bad for you, depending on where it comes from and whether or not it contains dangerous levels of harmful minerals. But to my knowledge, I have yet to come across the bad stuff.

I am no professional but these are just some observations I’ve made from being on both sides of the carbonation debate at one point or another. Take them or leave them but I’m curious to know which side you’re on!

2/8/08 Update: I just saw this article in NYTimes about how cola can cause kidney problems: I told you pop was bad!

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  • evil chef mom

    I normally drink milk, water (still or sparkling but without any artificial flavoring) or iced tea without sugar for dinner. I’ve heard that as you age people lose the taste for carbonated drinks. It has some thing to do with your tongue. I’ve lost 75 pounds about 5 years ago the three main culprits for the weight gain were 4 kids in 5 years, soda and not excersising. After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma I really starting to watch what I was drinking and found out I really didn’t want soda anymore. But when I do crave it I can’t even drink a whole glass. I treat soda as you would McDonald’s or any other guilty pleasure. It is a treat not the norm.

  • JEP

    About 3 years ago after a critical illness, I suddenly lost my taste for my beloved Diet Pepsi One & Diet Coke. Switched to water. My stomach continues to thank me daily:)

  • melissa

    well… as I said in my foods I hate response, I hate soda, and I hated it even when I was young. I’m not sure why that is. my dad drank a LOT of diet coke and we sometimes had other carbonated drinks in the house. my mom sister liked it, but not overly so. for me, soda just always gave me a bad aftertaste and made me more thirsty. so I always had water or milk or tea.

    I drink a ton of water, at least by most people’s standards. about 20-24 glasses per day. and I don’t make myself do it, I just enjoy it. my husband and I both call water the elixir of life (cheesy ,I know, but so true). it tastes so good to us (thank you, aquafina and sparkletts) and like I said in my earlier answer I guess I’m lucky my taste buds just never liked soda.

    I have a hard time changing any of my habits, food or otherwise. so, really, much admiration to you for making a change!

  • Sarah

    I am on the non-carbonated side. I keep a 2.5 gal bottle of water in my office and refill my water bottle numerous times a day. I am also addicted to skim milk. Someimes I just pour myself a huge glass and have it as a snack. I never crave soda and when I do have it, I am never satisfied. I like juices, but they can’t have added sugar in them and I despise sweetened iced tea (and living in the South that is almost sacreligous!). I feel bad sometimes when people come over to my house and I don’t have soda to offer them…milk, water, sometimes juice. But it works for me!

  • Maxine

    We never had pop in the house when I was growing up. The only time I had something with carbonation was ginger ale if I was sick. I almost always prefer water over any other option and I think it helps me make healthier choices overall. It’s also much less expensive! :)

  • Karen Thompson

    Growing up we drank milk,I used to be addicted to soda.I haven’t had a soda in about 7 years.I drink water with my dinner.Milk at lunch if I’m having a sandwich,I love chocolate milk with a tuna fish sandwich with jalopenos on it,WEIRD!!!!

  • Mary Coleman

    I guess about fifteen years ago I stopped drinking Diet Coke. I had started working out and was drinking so much water, there was no room for the Diet Coke! Now,I usually have decaf iced green tea or a glass of wine with meals.I’m still drinking lots of water. I hadn’t really thought about it til I read your post. I don’t drink milk, but do LOVE vanilla silk with a bit of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup in it on occasion.

  • Addie

    We always had a glass if milk with each meal growing up. I never got out of the habit. I still order a tall glass of milk in restaurants. For water, I like the lemon or orange flavored ones if they are ice cold. I can’t remember the last time I bought or even had a taste of carbonated beverage.

  • tigerfish

    I usually take non-carbonated coz the carbonation will bloat me up during meals and I can’t enjoy my food and eat as much! :O

  • JDebs

    Only water for me! I consume more than enough sugar without soda!

  • Hillary

    evil chef mom – I don’t know that aging has anything to do with a taste for carbonated beverages. It’s the opposite in my family.

    JEP – I’m glad you were able to get better, with water’s help!

    Melissa – 20-24 glassses? Hmmm that sounds like a ton but now I wonder how much I drink, I thought I had a lot!

    Sarah – More and more it seems like non-carbonated is the popular choice around here!

    Maxine – Water is definitely less expensive – one of my favorite parts about it!

    Karen – Water is good with anything, that’s why it’s so good! Milk on the other hand only goes with certain foods in my opinion but your pairing is very interesting!

    Mary – Good to hear you gave up Diet Coke for working out. Genius!

    Addie – Milk is good stuff. I don’t usually like drinking it with meals but I love it on its own.

    tigerfish – I agree! It fills me up with air. Excellent point.

    JDebs – Haha I know you’re a water-only kind of girl. But what about pink lemonade? ;)

  • Bri

    Generally sodas really are wasted calories. Having said that, every once in a while I really like Reed’s Ginger Brew or Virgil’s root beer. They have really things in them, and for an upset tum, good ginger beer with real ginger (not junk like canada dry) can come in handy. I also really like the flavor and effect of drinking fresh juice diluted with bubbly water. My favorite way to make fresh lemonade is to use bubbly water instead of still. Yum! But commercial sodas, are generally wasted money and empty calories that can do real harm. Glad you brought up the question :)

  • lorraine sherman

    i never drink soda.{very rarely do i have a rum and coke.} i drink a lot of milk, juice,lemonade{preferably sugar free}, water and one cup of coffee per day.

  • Susan Mann

    I drink club soda or seltzer because I like the carbonation.(I have trouble burping and the carbonation helps) However I do not drink sugared or diet sodas. As a senior citizen I have never lost my taste for carbonation, as a child I liked drinking bicarbonate of soda and Alka Seltzer. I drink about 3 quarts of carbonation a week and I feel great

  • Mel

    Even as a child, I never liked carbonated drinks. My mom always poured us milk with meals and that satisfied our hunger. Now my husband and I always order water in restaurants and have water with meals at home. Occasionally I will now have hot tea but never took to pop, even when it was in the house.

  • Lisa Custer

    Water all the way, I don’t drink soda or iced tea. I should drink milk but I only get that in an occasional bowl of cereal. Once you start drinking water you’ll find that you actually start craving it, your body needs it and it lets you know!

  • Racheal

    Melissa 20-24 glasses of water a day?
    I am a diabetic and my dr has told me
    that 8 to 10 8oz glasses a day is normal,
    any more than that could be a sign of diabetes.Oh by the way I drink 1 can of diet cola a day. I also love iced tea
    with lemon and splenda.And water, we have a referigerator with a built in
    ice dispencer and water dispencer.I love the taste of ice cold water. Sometimes with lemon in it.Juice is good to but only small glasses cuz it takes a lot of fruit to make a big glass. I love Ice cold powered milk I know its weired but I do. I seldom drink a full glass of soda at a resteraunt or tea or water. I dont drink much when I am eating.

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