Are "Sparkling Flavored Beverages bad for me?

Lately I have given up drinking soda pop completely, drinking only plain water or “Sparkling Flavored Beverage” I buy at Wal-Mart. I drink a lot of it. It has 0 calories, 0 fat, 0 carbs, 0 sugars and 0 protein. Its ingredients are carbonated water, citric acid, natural flavor, potassium citrate, aspartame and potassium benzoate (a preservative)… It also says phenylketonurics contains phenylalanine.

Now don’t go off on the aspartame. I’m diabetic and I’m going to get it one way or the other unless I drink nothing but plain water.

How about the rest of it? Does it sound pretty benign or do I have one foot in the grave?

Also what are phenylketonurics and phenylalanine, and what ingredient would they be present in?

Well, first things first. You haven’t given up drinking soda pop – you’ve given up drinking soda pop with food coloring and strong flavoring agents. You’re still drinking flavored carbonated beverages which amounts to pretty much the same thing.

Can it hurt you? Well, it’s pretty acidic. If you are subject to heartburn or acid indigestion, it’s probably not helping. For the rest of it, these are common ingredients in most bottled beverages and many foods, so there’s no reason to think that they are particularly harmful.

The aspartame contains the phenylalanine, and unless you have a genetic inability to process it, you shouldn’t worry.

The citric acid can lead to destruction of tooth enamel in some cases. The article I cited refers specifically to soda, but my WAG is that your sparkling water stuff works the same way.

I had heard that consumption of carbonated beverages leads to bone loss, but it seems that’s been largely debunked.