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  • Thanks to Brilliant for supporting this episode of SciShow; go to to learn more about their course, "The Chemical Reaction".

  • What does carbonated water do to your body?

  • As a species, we love carbonated drinks.

  • The fizz on our tongues; that distinct, sharp, stinging sensationbubbles can just make our drinks more fun.

  • But carbonation also gets a bad rap.

  • See, to make a fizzy drink, you need to saturate your super cold liquid with carbon dioxide under high pressure.

  • And when that CO2 dissolves in water, it creates carbonic acid.

  • According to some places on the internet, that acid disintegrates the enamel of your teeth or even causes kidney stones, neither of which sound any good.

  • But the truth is, that is not carbonation or carbonic acid's fault.

  • Instead, another acid is to blame, one that isn't found in bubbly water at all: phosphoric acid.

  • Phosphoric acid is a colorless, odorless acid made from the mineral phosphorus.

  • And it gets added to dark-colored colas for flavor because it's tart, which helps balance the sweetness of all the added sugar.

  • It also helps prevent bacteria and mold growth, and those things can thrive in sugary mixtures, and they are not things we want in our colas.

  • Overall, phosphorous isn't bad; it's actually an important mineral for human health.

  • Our bodies use it for a slew of things from creating healthy teeth and strong bones to maintaining kidney function to storing energy.

  • It's even in DNA and RNA.

  • But too much phosphorus can be a problem, especially when it's artificially added to food and drinks.

  • A lot of foods are naturally phosphorus-rich, but your body only partially absorbs this organic phosphorus.

  • Meanwhile, your body absorbs 100% of inorganic phosphorus that's added to food and drinks like the phosphoric acid in colas.

  • And that can lead to an excessive amount of it in the body.

  • And that has some consequences.

  • For instance, phosphoric acid is thought to cause kidney stones.

  • The most common of these are made from calcium oxalate, and studies have found that phosphoric acid changes urine composition and causes a rise in oxalate.

  • This extra oxalate can then crystallize in the bladder and cause kidney stones.

  • Besides that, this acid also isn't great for your teeth; since it's acidic, it's proven to erode the enamel of your pearly whites.

  • These are both things the carbonic acid in bubbly water gets blamed for.

  • But, really, carbonic acid is much weaker than the phosphoric stuff.

  • I mean, it's still an acid, and in a study, researchers did find that sparkling mineral water dissolved slightly more tooth enamel than regular water.

  • But thanks to the lack of sugar and phosphoric acidplus all those extra minerals in thereit was also a hundred times better than soft drinks.

  • And since carbonic acid also doesn't contain any phosphorous, that means it doesn't increase your risk for kidney stones, either.

  • Now, don't take all this to mean you should never, ever, under any circumstances, drink a colalike doctors say, moderation is key.

  • But it does mean that we can allthank you, pleasestop blaming fizzy water.

  • If you want to learn more about acid chemistry, you can check out Brilliant's course "The Chemical Reaction" after this.

  • Brilliant keeps the explanations simple and easy to follow in this course, and they focus on puzzles and patterns to help you understand how reactions work and why.

  • Like their other courses, this one is also available offline on their iOS and Android apps.

  • If you want to check it out, you can go to

  • And as our way of saying thanks, the first 200 people to sign up there will get 20% off an annual premium subscription.

Thanks to Brilliant for supporting this episode of SciShow; go to to learn more about their course, "The Chemical Reaction".

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What Does Carbonated Water Do to Your Body?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2022/07/26
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