I Drank Hard Seltzers Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened

Updated: Sep. 08, 2023

I spent a week paying attention to how my go-to summer alcoholic drink was making me feel. Here's what I found.

Considering how many beverage brands now offer hard seltzer, it’s hard to imagine a time when the familiar slim cans weren’t within our reach. Personally, hard seltzers have become my summertime  alcoholic beverage of choice. Throwing a few flavors in a cooler before spending an afternoon by the pool or heading out to a barbeque has become something of a routine, and I’m always on the lookout for a new option to try.

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Ironically, just before I was assigned with the task of drinking hard seltzer every day for a week, something about the carbonation of my favorite summer drink wasn’t sitting well with my stomach. So, I decided it was time to dig into the facts around the health effects of the fizzy beverage and take inventory of how it was making me feel.

Here’s what I learned—with insight from registered dietitians on all the details behind the refreshing summer favorite.

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If you drink hard seltzer every day, it could affect your digestion

As it turns out, too much of a good thing can be just that—too much. When I started to experience digestive discomfort after drinking my usual go-to seltzer, I figured it was just an off day. But as time went on, I realized carbonated drinks in general weren’t leaving me feeling very refreshed—just uncomfortable.

“Carbonation impacts all people differently and may cause digestive discomfort for some,” says Jenna Werner, RD, owner of Happy Strong Healthy. Because quantity also plays a role, having a seltzer or two could be fine, she says.

According to UChicago Medicine, for some people, drinking too much seltzer water (alcoholic or not) can cause gas and bloating. And if you’re someone who drinks their seltzer with a straw, gas and bloating can actually be increased. Unfortunately for me, I’m usually one of those people.

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During my week drinking hard seltzer, I felt more dehydrated

Since Texas is currently in an intense heat wave, anytime I’m heading outside there’s a good chance it’s for an activity on the water. Most of the time, I’ll opt for a hard seltzer instead of a heavy beer or mixed drink. But when one drink turns into four, I sometimes forget that hard seltzer isn’t a stand-in for hydration and forget to reup on actual water.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, healthcare providers don’t recommend beverages containing alcohol for optimal hydration since it’s a diuretic and can pull water from your body. Between the alcohol and how much I was sweating under the sun during my pool day, I eventually realized how badly I needed to drink more water.

The Healthy @Reader’s Digest’s Medical Review Board co-chair Latoya Julce notes, “Seltzer can be beneficial to suppress one’s appetite, but overhydration can occur because you never really feel like the seltzer is hydrating your cells—true story. I would suggest using seltzers 1-2 times a day, but don’t add it to your daily water goal.”

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I felt more groggy during my week drinking hard seltzer

I’m typically not someone who consumes alcohol every day—even if it’s just one drink a day, which is what the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends as safe for women.

The effects of alcohol often linger the next day to make me groggy and tired. During this week drinking hard seltzer every day, I noticed a similar pattern. Because most hard seltzers don’t have as many calories as beer, wine and mixed drinks, I’ve recognized I sometimes use that as a reason to drink more than I normally would since it’s a “healthier” alternative.

“In general, hard seltzers are going to have less carbs and/or sugar than beer, wine, and mixed drinks,” says Angela Gasbarre, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian in Denver, CO. “This is part of the appeal, so most hard seltzer brands are going to be low carb and low calorie at about 100 calories per 12 oz.” Despite the benefit of a lower calorie count, throughout a week of drinking hard seltzers every day— I was reminded that they’re still alcohol—and sometimes we need to listen to our bodies and take a break.

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