Danger may be lurking behind the refreshing fizz of your favorite seltzer.

While experts agree that sparkling water is generally safe to drink, it could impact gut health depending on the consumer and their beverage of choice.

The carbonation could cause symptoms like bloating and exacerbate pre-existing conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

“Carbonated water can trigger reflux in [people] with gastroesophageal reflux disease and bloating, gas and diarrhea in people with irritable bowel syndrome,” Virginia-based registered dietitian Kaytee Hadley told HuffPost.

Additives — such as sugar or artificial sweetener — could also be a culprit of seltzer-induced symptoms, so choosing a seltzer that is purely carbonated water is the key to minimizing the after-effects of drinking it.

According to board-certified gastroenterologist Dr. Kenneth Brown, who is based in Texas, the flavorings, which can disrupt the gut microbiome, can aggravate uncomfortable symptoms of IBS, Crohn’s disease, colitis or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

“Sparkling water has the potential to cause reflux symptoms, gas or bloating in anyone,” explained board-certified gastroenterologist Dr. Peter Stein, the director of endoscopy at Phelps Hospital and Northern Westchester Hospital in New York.

“With that said, most people do not experience these symptoms when drinking a can of sparkling water.”

Paradoxically, seltzer lovers may also find digestive relief by drinking sparkling water.

“For many, carbonated water can help the digestive process and relieve symptoms like gas and bloating by encouraging burping, which relieves pressure,” Brown explained. “It can also enhance hydration and benefit overall gut health, especially for those who struggle to drink enough plain water.”

Like any indulgence, too much of a good thing could turn bad. While there’s no unsafe amount of carbonated water consumption, experiencing negative symptoms might be a sign to put down the can.

“Listen to your body, and if you are experiencing unpleasant symptoms, decrease the amount or stop drinking it altogether,” Hadley advised.

If carbonated water is well tolerated, it can be a health-conscious substitute for its less health-conscious counterparts, like soda or sweetened tea.

“It is a great alternative to sodas, alcoholic beverages, or juices — all of which can have deleterious effects on the GI tract and overall health,” noted Stein.

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