Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Is carbonated water as healthy as regular water?


Is carbonated water as good for you as regular water? - National |

IMG via Global News 

Some say that carbonation in water may limit hydration, reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, and increase satiety. But let’s think twice about those claims.   

Regarding hydration, a randomized trial found no difference in urine volume after consumption of still water compared to sparkling water (1).  

Regarding gastrointestinal health, a small (21 subjects) double-blind randomized trial found fewer symptoms of indigestion with carbonated water compared to tap water (2). Another double-blind study of 40 elderly people found fewer symptoms of constipation among people who consumed carbonated water compared to those who drank still water (3). One question about both of these studies is how blinding was accomplished, since subjects can sense carbonation. The small number of study subjects decreases confidence in each experiment.  

It is also speculated that carbonated water can improve satiety, or sense of fullness. Two very small uncontrolled studies reported that people felt satiated after drinking carbonated water (4,5). But that might be the case for still water as well. There is also no good evidence that sparkling water can cause gas and bloating (6) and no evidence that it erodes tooth enamel, even though these symptoms have been reported anecdotally (7).  

While experimental evidence from randomized controlled trials is required to determine the relative health benefits of still and sparkling water, it is a good option for hydration, particularly compared to sugary drinks.  


  1. Maughan RJ, Watson P, Cordery PA, et al. A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;103(3):717-723. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.114769 
  2. Cuomo R, Grasso R, Sarnelli G, et al. Effects of carbonated water on functional dyspepsia and constipation. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2002;14(9):991-999. doi:10.1097/00042737-200209000-00010 
  3. Mun JH, Jun SS. J Korean Acad Nurs. 2011;41(2):269-275. doi:10.4040/jkan.2011.41.2.269 
  4. Suzuki M, Mura E, Taniguchi A, Moritani T, Nagai N. Oral Carbonation Attenuates Feeling of Hunger and Gastric Myoelectrical Activity in Young Women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2017;63(3):186-192. doi:10.3177/jnsv.63.186 
  5. Wakisaka S, Nagai H, Mura E, Matsumoto T, Moritani T, Nagai N. The effects of carbonated water upon gastric and cardiac activities and fullness in healthy young women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2012;58(5):333-338. doi:10.3177/jnsv.58.333 
  6. Welstead L, Schuchmann C. Is sparkling water good for you? What about hard water? University of Chicago Medicine. 10 May 2023. 
  7. Parry J, Shaw L, Arnaud MJ, Smith AJ. Investigation of mineral waters and soft drinks in relation to dental erosion. J Oral Rehabil. 2001;28(8):766-772. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2842.2001.00795.x 


Is Dark Chocolate Good for You?


IMG via Moorings Park Communities 

Sweets are tasty, but refined sugar shouldn’t comprise a large part of our diet. Dark chocolate is promoted as a sweet with relative health benefits. Let’s think twice: what’s the evidence that dark chocolate is good for you? 

One of the potential benefits of dark chocolate is its relatively high content of antioxidants. Antioxidants can neutralize the free radicals (molecules that can damage cells) produced during natural metabolic processes, or when we are exposed to smoke, radiation, or other carcinogens (1). It is proposed that ingesting antioxidants can help protect against cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline (2,3).  

The idea that flavanols, the antioxidant agents in dark chocolate, reduce rates of cognitive decline has no support from adequately controlled and randomized experiments (4). The quality of the evidence used to support the claim that flavanols delay cognitive decline is low, such as uncontrolled cohort studies. For example, a study of just 17 participants claimed flavanols increase blood flow to the brain (an indirect outcome) (5).  

A large randomized trial with no placebo arm studied antioxidant supplementation beginning in 1998 and found that cognitive function was perhaps marginally improved over an 18-year period (6). But a placebo-controlled trial found that antioxidant-containing supplements did not protect against dementia (7). As is often the case, better quality evidence often contradicts the findings of less rigorous studies.   

Another claim for antioxidants is that they protect against cardiovascular disease. However, several large studies have shown no difference in cardiovascular outcomes between people taking antioxidant supplements and those taking placebos (8,9). After a careful look, it is questionable whether dark chocolate provides protection against cognitive decline or cardiovascular disease. However, that’s not to say it isn’t still a satisfying sweet! 


  1. Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010;4(8):118-126. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.70902 
  2. A flavanol-rich diet may increase brain function. Harvard Health Publishing and Harvard Medical School. March 1, 2021. Accessed July 15, 2023. 
  3. Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010;4(8):118-126. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.70902 
  4. A flavanol-rich diet may increase brain function. Harvard Health Publishing and Harvard Medical School. March 1, 2021. Accessed July 15, 2023. 
  5. Ullah A, Munir S, Badshah SL, et al. Important Flavonoids and Their Role as a Therapeutic Agent. Molecules. 2020;25(22):5243. Published 2020 Nov 11. doi:10.3390/molecules25225243 
  6. Panche AN, Diwan AD, Chandra SR. Flavonoids: an overview. J Nutr Sci. 2016;5:e47. Published 2016 Dec 29. doi:10.1017/jns.2016.41 
  7. Gratton, G., Weaver, S.R., Burley, C.V. et al. Dietary flavanols improve cerebral cortical oxygenation and cognition in healthy adults. Sci Rep 10, 19409 (2020). 
  8. Grodstein F, Kang JH, Glynn RJ, Cook NR, Gaziano JM. A Randomized Trial of Beta Carotene Supplementation and Cognitive Function in Men: The Physicians’ Health Study II. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(20):2184–2190. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.20.2184 
  9. Kryscio RJ, Abner EL, Caban-Holt A, et al. Association of Antioxidant Supplement Use and Dementia in the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease by Vitamin E and Selenium Trial (PREADViSE). JAMA Neurol. 2017;74(5):567–573. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.5778 
  10. Hennekens C., et al. Lack of Effect of Long-Term Supplementation with Beta Carotene on the Incidence of Malignant Neoplasms and Cardiovascular Disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 1996; 334:1145-1149. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199605023341801 
  11. Lee I, Cook NR, Gaziano JM, et al. Vitamin E in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: The Women’s Health Study: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. 2005;294(1):56–65. doi:10.1001/jama.294.1.56 

Is It Most Effective to Apply Antiperspirant in the Morning?

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We all sweat. When people want to limit sweating and smell better, they may apply an antiperspirant or deodorant. It’s common to apply antiperspirant in the morning. We might expect that it works immediately and then the effect wears off. But let’s think twice about that.  

 According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the best time to apply an antiperspirant is before bedtime. The active ingredients of antiperspirants, including aluminum-based compounds, may work better when they have a chance to work overnight. These compounds work by plugging the pores of sweat glands to reduce moisture. Your body naturally sweats less at night, and the body’s sweat glands are more receptive to antiperspirant ingredients and can more effectively absorb them when the armpit is dry. Additionally, applying at night will give the antiperspirant the 6-8 hours it needs to fully plug the sweat ducts. 

So, if you want the full benefit of antiperspirants, apply them at night for the best performance the following day. Strange but true! It’s worth it to Think Twice! 



Doctor Sweat 

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