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This Is Why You Should Stop Drinking LaCroix

Despite being calorie and sugar-free, this sparkling beverage may still be considered a "Not That!"
La croix.jpg

This fizzy flavored water has taken over the sparkling beverage market. Because LaCroix is both sugar and calorie-free, and with only a few natural ingredients for flavor, people assume it's a healthier choice than traditional soda.

And when it comes to your waistline, it is; drinking sweetened beverages like soda—which have over 30 grams of added sugar per can—has been linked to obesity and related complications like type 2 diabetes and heart attacks.

So swapping out a sugary carbonated beverage with something sugar-free is a no-brainer, right? Not quite; it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Like any other sparkling beverage, LaCroix is infused with carbonic acid to give it its effervescence. But what makes it a bubbly drink can wreak havoc on your tooth enamel.

Cracking open a can of la croix

Due to their acidic pH, flavored sparkling waters can be nearly as corrosive as orange juice when exposed to human teeth for just 30 minutes, according to researchers at the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Dental Hospital. In their 2007 study, the researchers concluded: "It would be inappropriate to consider these flavored sparkling waters as a healthy dental alternative to other acidic drinks." Note: the authors said dental, not nutritious.

It's important to note that this study was done in a controlled lab setting, and the authors mentioned that the effects of sparkling water on enamel erosion in real life would depend on both the amount of drink consumed and its frequency.

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According to the LaCroix website, the pH level of LaCroix Sparkling Waters varies by flavor, but overall they are less acidic than traditional soft drinks and juice drinks, so this particular brand might not be as bad as the seltzers analyzed in this specific study.

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But that doesn't mean LaCroix is off the hook yet when it comes to being a better-body choice.

Hungry woman

Perhaps another reason to lay off this popular sparkling beverage is it could possibly make you hungrier and cause you to gain weight.

A study published in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice found that rats who drank fizzy drinks ate more and gained more weight over a 6-month period than rats who drank flat soda or plain water. The rodents who drank the carbonated beverages had more of the appetite-increasing hormone ghrelin, which can cause you to eat more. However, the researchers noted that weight gain can't be entirely attributed to fizzy beverages and instead "caused by multiple environmental, social and lifestyle factors, rather than carbonation on its own."

Bottom line?

When it comes to deciding between a can of sugary soda or a LaCroix, the sparkling water is a much better choice for your overall health: soda makes you gain weight, puts you at risk for several chronic diseases, and destroys your teeth worse than plain old sparkling water. (Hello, cavities!) But like everything in life, LaCroix should be enjoyed in moderation. Drinking a few cans a week is fine; downing one 6-pack a day could spell trouble for your teeth.

Eat This! Tip:

Damien Walmsley, a professor of dentistry at the University of Birmingham in England, told Atlantic reporter Olga Khazan that his advice "is to keep acidic drinks to meal times, and if you have to sip drinks between meals, then plain water is the safest." And be sure you're drinking plenty of plain H2O—around 64 ounces (or 8 cups) a day will keep you hydrated, happy, and help boost weight loss.

 

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Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more