Carbonated drinks have become a part of our diet. What are carbonated drinks and which ones fall in the list of carbonated drinks? Is it only the soft drinks or are there any other that can be called as carbonated drinks? Let us first understand what is carbonation? Simply put, carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide is dissolved into a liquid or water. Carbonation causes the fizzing. It is the result of a chemical reaction that occurs when carbon dioxide is passed through a liquid. It can occur naturally as well as artificially. When we have soft drinks it is artificial carbonation which gives it the fizzing quality.
Natural carbonated drinks
Among the natural carbonated drinks spring water absorbs carbon dioxide from the ground. Ancient societies believed that drinking water from natural springs could cure many diseases. Beer is also naturally carbonated due to the carbon dioxide that gets created during fermentation. It was in the 18th century when scientist could replicate naturally carbonated mineral waters. Joseph Priestley suspended a bow of distilled water above a beer vat which in turn infused carbon dioxide to water. The taste was found to be pleasant.
Carbonated water also called as sparkling water, seltzer is plain water but with carbon dioxide dissolved. It is also known as soda water and can even be produced at home. Club soda is also similar but may contain table salt, sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, potassium bicarbonate etc. It gives the soda the slightly salty taste of homemade soda water. Now we also have flavored carbonated water. The difference lies in the taste. It contains fruit flavors like lemon, cherry, orange but no sweeteners.
Soft drinks do not contain alcohol. They are also called as pop, soda, coke or tonic. It is usually called as pop in Canada, fizzy or soft drink in UK and Australia and minerals in Ireland. You can often find most soft drinks in sugar sweetened and non caloric sweetened versions (diet sodas). There are several flavors available in soft drinks like orange, grape, strawberry etc. Among the orange soft drinks the popular ones like Fanta, Orange Crush, Sunkist Orange are available around the world. Coke, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mirinda, Jones Soda, etc are also available. Soft drinks are sold in 3Ls, 2Ls, 1.5 L, 1L, 500ml, 20 and 24 fluid ounce plastic bottles or 12 US fluid ounce cans in US. The package sizes may differ.
Most soft drinks are made from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). However, it has been criticized for its ill effect on human health. It may promote diabetes, hyperactivity, hypertension and other problems. Soft drinks are often consumed with high calorie foods and fast food. Obesity among adolescents is often caused by the consumption of soft drinks accompanied by fast food while viewing television. Due to the glucose, fructose and other simple sugars it may cause dental decay and carries a higher risk of dental caries. The high pH levels in soft drinks causes tooth enamel erosion. Some experts suggest that the phosphoric acid in soft drinks may lead to lowering of bone density causing osteoporosis and weak bones. However, a counter suggestion is that effect of soft drinks is negligible but consumption may cause reduction in overall nutritious diet leading to lowering calcium and other nutrients
There are several types of carbonated drinks; carbonated water, diet sodas, soft drinks etc. Carbonated drinks may have some heath benefit but we need to ensure that we do not overdo consumption.