Bottled Water 101

August 25, 2010

We can now buy water imported from around the world in all shapes and sizes as well as infused with vitamins, sugar, caffeine, bubbles, herbs and minerals, making this (somewhat) unnecessary category irresistible.

We can now buy water imported from around the world in all shapes and sizes as well as infused with vitamins, sugar, caffeine, bubbles, herbs and minerals, making this (somewhat) unnecessary category irresistible. Most consumers drink flavored bottled water which studies show, helps increase total water consumption. This is good news especially if we are replacing sugary calorific beverages with water. On top of that, surveys reveal that up to 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

Water comprises more than 70 percent of solid tissue, such as muscle, in the human body. Besides oxygen, it is the most important component of the body, playing a critical role in nearly every major function. Water regulates body temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, removes waste, cushions joints, and protects organs and tissues.

So what’s the difference between all of the bottled waters? Supermarket Guru is here to help you separate the hype from the science, read labels, and consider the environment when deciding if bottled water is right for you!

Types of Bottled Water

Artesian Water\Artesian Well Water: comes from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand), in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

Drinking Water: is another name for bottled water. Accordingly, drinking water is water that is sold for human consumption in sanitary containers and contains no added sweeteners or chemical additives (other than flavors, extracts or essences). It must be calorie-free and sugar-free. Flavors, extracts or essences may be added to drinking water, but they must comprise less than one-percent-by-weight of the final product or the product will be considered a soft drink. Drinking water may be sodium-free or contain a very low amount of sodium.

Mineral Water: water that contains more than 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids may be labeled as mineral water. Mineral water is distinguished from other types of bottled water by a constant level and relative proportion of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source. The minerals are naturally occurring and cannot be added to this product. Recently an increasing number of mineral waters also claim that they contain electrolytes. Electrolytes are nothing more than the minerals, sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and mineral water bottlers are using this as a marketing tool.

Purified Water: is produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other methods that meet the definition of purified water in the United States Pharmacopoeia. Other suitable names may include “distilled water”, “deionized water”, or “reverse osmosis water” depending on the production method.

Sparkling Water: contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source. (An important note: soda water, seltzer water and tonic water are not considered bottled waters - they are regulated separately, may contain sugar and calories, and are considered soft drinks.)

Spring Water: is derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. Spring water must be collected only at the spring or through a bore hole. Spring water collected with the use of an external force must be from the same underground stratum as the spring and must have all the physical properties, before treatment, and be of the same composition and quality as the water that flows naturally to the surface of the earth.

Distilled water: is mineral-free, so it’s perfect for curling irons, clothes irons, steamers, humidifiers, and any appliance that requires water. By using distilled water, you can avoid the mineral muck that often clogs up appliances. Some people view distilled water as good to drink because it is so pure, but naturally occurring minerals in water are actually good for you.

Tap water: Many municipal water supplies boast water that is as tasty and pure as the most expensive bottled varieties. By law, municipal water supplies must supply its customers a chemical analysis of their water composition. Click here to find out the quality of your local water.

Depending on the quality of your tap water, Supermarket Guru recommends using a water filter. Filtering your own water at home allows you to save money and save the planet from creating excess waste from plastic water bottles. Check your local supermarket for reusable stainless steel or BPA free plastic bottles. If you are not yet ready to adopt your own reusable water bottle, make sure you recycle the plastic empties appropriately.

Check the bottom of the bottles for the recycling symbol. Numbers 3, 6, and 7 usually contain BPA or other supposed hormone disruptors, so it would be in your best interest to avoid water or any beverage (or foods) bottled in this type of plastic - they can also take up to 100 years to disintegrate!

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