Is Sparkling Water Paleo?

Woman drinking sparkling water as part of the paleo diet

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If you subscribe to the Paleolithic diet, you might be wondering if sparkling water is okay to drink. While sparkling waters like LaCroix and Bubly are overwhelmingly comprised of carbonated water, they do contain other ingredients – natural flavoring in particular.

Generally, even flavored sparkling water meets the standards of the paleo diet. The flavoring in sparkling water is typically derived from fruits, vegetables, and other natural ingredients. In that sense, LaCroix is paleo-friendly. However, brands that contain artificial flavors or sweeteners are not considered paleo.

Furthermore, it is even conceivable that some paleolithic peoples consumed naturally carbonated water on occasion. After all, there are natural springs across the globe that produce carbonated water. These springs of effervescence are driven by volcanic activity and have existed for eons.

Some Sparkling Water Brands Do Not Meet Strict Paleo Standards

If you consider yourself a paleo purist and avoid all processed foods, you may want to skip the flavored sparkling water – even if it is naturally flavored. The basic ingredients may be paleo, but like most modern foods, they are processed significantly.

The natural flavors in sparkling water are extracted and isolated using scientific methods that were not available until modern times. Furthermore, the most popular brands of flavored sparkling water are not carbonated naturally – the carbonation is manufactured. Man-made carbonation was not invented until the 1700s.

Instead, paleo purists may want to opt for a natural sparkling water. Options include brands like Perrier, Gerolsteiner, or Topo Chico. For added flavor, consider a squeeze of fresh fruit juice or a sprig of your favorite herb. If you prefer it sweet, try adding a splash of a stevia water enhancer.

Cutting board with paleo foods

What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet is short for the Paleolithic diet, which includes foods that humans may have eaten during the Paleolithic period – before farming began. The diet is rooted in the idea that humans are inherently hunter/gatherers and are not meant to eat farmed foods.

If you take part in the paleo diet, you will not eat certain foods, including:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods
  • Foods with added sugar or salt
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes
Woman holding Topo Chico sparkling water

Paleo Sparkling Waters

Whether or not a brand of sparkling water adheres to the paleolithic diet depends upon how strictly you observe the word of the diet. In modern day, it’s extremely difficult to avoid all processed foods. That’s why most people consider any sparkling water, even flavored varieties, to meet the diet’s standards.

Leniently Paleo Sparkling Water

These brands are comprised of paleo ingredients but are made using modern processing techniques. The carbonated water is manufactured and the flavoring may be developed using contemporary methods. However, there is no reason to believe these processes may be detrimental to your health.

  • LaCroix
  • Bubly
  • Waterloo
  • Polar Seltzer
  • Spindrift (flavored using real fruit juice, but made with manufactured carbonated water)

Strictly Paleo Sparkling Water

These brands are truly paleo, even under the strictest definition. They feature naturally carbonated water and no added flavors – artificial or otherwise. Just be sure to avoid the flavored varieties if you’re seeking a strictly paleo beverage.

  • Topo Chico
  • Gerolsteiner
  • Perrier
  • San Pellegrino
  • Liquid Death

Sparkling Water That is Not Paleo

The paleo diet requires that participants avoid foods that did not exist during the Paleolithic or Stone Age period – 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. For that reason, we exclude beverages containing artificial sweeteners.

You may be thinking that sparkling water doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners, so it should be good, right? Well, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration, beverages that contain artificial sweeteners can be labeled sparkling water. Sparkling waters that fall into this category include:

  • Sparkling Ice
  • San Pellegrino Essenza

Other Popular Paleo Beverages

We get it – you’re looking to mix it up. There are many healthy beverage options you can drink as a part of the paleo diet.

  • Water
  • Sparkling water
  • Tea
  • Herbal tea
  • Coconut water
  • Kombucha
  • Black coffee
  • Bone broth (stock)

Most Sparkling Water is Paleo

While the vast majority of sparkling water is paleo, it all depends how strictly you adhere to the diet. If you’re just looking to maintain good health, any sparkling water should be fine – so long as it does not contain any sweeteners. If you are committed to the literal word of the diet, you may want to select your sparkling water a bit more carefully.

Luckily, there are plenty of great options to choose from, regardless of how you choose to approach the paleo diet.