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Drinking Seltzer at Night Is Unlikely to Lead to Gut Issues Unless You Have These Conditions

Drinking Seltzer at Night Is Unlikely to Lead to Gut Issues Unless You Have These Conditions
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If you have a pulse in 2021, odds are good that you drink some form of sparkling water on the regular. It’s addictive—science even says so! And while seltzer can be oh-so-satisfying to swallow at anytime of day, it’s an especially tasty chaser for, say, alcoholic beverages consumed with dinner (as a last-ditch effort to hydrate before bed, amirite?). Which begs the question: Is it okay to pop a top and chug at night, or will late-night bubbles do damage to your gut?

The short answer is that it’s generally fine to drink seltzer at night (phew #glugglugglug). “For the vast majority of people, seltzer water is not bad for you from a gut standpoint,” says Niket Sonpal, MD, a New York City-based internist and gastroenterologist. “In fact, adequate hydration—whether it’s flat water or seltzer—is essential, as 70 percent of the human body is made up of water.” Hydration of any form—including that from seltzer water—is actually useful for digestion, so your fizzy habit may help your body process your evening meal. “It can improve and even prevent constipation,” says Peyton Berookim, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist at the Gastroenterology Institute of Southern California. 

This doesn’t mean, however, that there are no consequences to having a bit of bubbly before bed. “Drinking carbonated water at night can cause bloating and exacerbate heartburn symptoms, especially while laying flat during sleep,” says Dr. Berookim.

And of course, there’s the gas issue. “When it goes into your stomach, as it begins to get warmed up from its cold temperature, it will release gas, and that can increase a person’s ability to burp,” says Dr. Sonpal. “Or if it doesn’t go up, it’ll come out the other direction. Your body also absorbs some of that carbon dioxide that’s in there, through the bowl, but mostly it comes out as gas.” Fortunately, burping and farting are more so uncomfortable than unhealthy. (Though they may not be great for the health of your relationship with whoever sleeps next to you at night….)

There is one demographic that can experience more irksome consequences from drinking seltzer water than others, however. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may want to shun the seltzer—not just at night, but always. “In general, anyone with irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, and heartburn should avoid sparkling water all together,” says Dr. Berookim. “The carbonation in the water can exacerbate their symptoms, especially bloating.” With that said, this warning is more about avoiding discomfort than it is any more serious consequences—in other words, it’s still safe to sip, if not necessarily advisable. 

Everyone else can drink seltzer (with a straw, to save your teeth!) with abandon at night, so long as they’re willing to, you know, air it out after. (It can irritate your bladder, though, so those with sensitivity issues in that department may also want to beware.) As temps heat up, this is likely welcome news. Cheers!

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