Health Check: The Seltzer Myth

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This article is featured in the June '07 Feeding Your Family Newsletter
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Health Check: The Seltzer Myth

Since I was a teen-ager I have loved seltzer water. Let's face it, sometimes water gets boring. But a sparkly glass of soda water with a spritz of citrus? It's the perfect beverage.

So imagine my dismay when I learned that all these years I'd been drinking seltzer, I was actually depleting my body of a necessary nutrient. "It leaches calcium," a friend mentioned to me in passing. "It lowers bone density," another agreed ruefully, a few weeks later.

Like gossip spreading down a high-school hallway, suddenly it was everywhere. Everyone seemed to know about it, and they all felt the need to share. I couldn't look at a cold glass of seltzer in the same way, and reluctantly began cutting down. I couldn't give it up altogether, but I stopped buying it by the case.

With a little research I have discovered the truth, and it is worth drinking to. Seltzer does not cause calcium loss.

The rumors may go back to a 2005 Danish study, which noted that "fizzy drinks" deplete calcium stores and may impair bone development. But the fizzy drink in question was Coca-Cola, not plain seltzer. According to Robert Heaney, M.D., a professor of medicine at Creighton University and a calcium researcher, quoted in the New York Times, plain seltzer would cause calcium loss only if you drank so much of it that it was crowding out calcium-rich foods.

So, drink up, seltzer-lovers! Mix it with juice, soda-lovers, and you may never go back to cola. Add that lovely spritz of citrus, and you may even help your body assimilate some calcium.