Drinking at least eight glasses of water per day is the standard recommendation for most people to stay properly hydrated, and it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough water daily. Most people don’t think twice about grabbing bottled water when they’re thirsty—it’s convenient and can easily help you track your water intake. There is an enormous selection of bottled waters available, and it’s hard to differentiate between all of the different types. From spring water and mineral water to sparkling and flavored waters to regular old tap water, there are a lot of choices, but not all water is created equal.
Don’t dismiss the tap!
According to scientists, plain, ordinary tap water that is readily available in your home is just as good as bottled water or filtered water. Forgoing fancy bottled water can save you money and help the environment by reducing plastic waste.
In general, the quality of drinking water in most U.S. cities is very good, with a few exceptions, of course, such as the well-known issue of lead pollution in the water in Flint, Michigan. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates water in the U.S., setting safety guidelines for the number of chemicals, microorganisms, and other contaminants in the water. If the water in your community meets these safety guidelines, it is perfectly safe to drink.
A filter that sits in your refrigerator or attaches to your faucet doesn’t really do much. It can change the odor or taste of the water, but it does not filter out contaminants or make the water any safer. If a filter makes you more likely to drink more water, there’s nothing wrong with using one, but it’s also fine to just pour yourself a glass straight from the tap.
Differentiating types of water
If you’d rather not drink tap water, there are dozens of bottled waters available. Figuring out which type of water is best for you is really a matter of taste and how much you want to spend on bottled water every week. Some waters may offer health benefits, while others don’t live up to their claims.
Mineral water is pulled from mineral springs and usually contains minerals that are good for you like magnesium, calcium, and sulfur. It can also help with digestion, and some people prefer the taste of mineral water over tap water. The only negative for mineral water is the cost, as it can be more expensive than other waters.
Springwater is easily found in stores and on shelves almost anywhere. Springwater is clean and does not contain any toxins. Some spring waters may contain some of the same healthy minerals found in mineral water. The costs of spring water can add up if you drink a lot of it, and some types of spring water are unfiltered and untested and could pose possible health risks, so stick with reputable brands when choosing spring water.
If you prefer drinking something fizzy, plain sparkling water gives you the same bubbles as soft drinks but without all of the sugar and artificial sweeteners; however, flavored sparkling water does contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, so choose wisely. Most sparkling waters are mineralized but the amount of minerals are not enough to really make a difference in your health, and like other bottled waters, it can be expensive.
For people who just don’t like the taste of plain water, flavored water can be a good alternative to help them stay hydrated. However, flavored waters are full of added sugars or artificial sweeteners and other artificial ingredients. Drinking several flavored waters per day can lead to weight gain, so it’s best to limit flavored water to just one or two per day and drink plain water the rest of the day to fulfill your daily intake.
Marketed as healthier for you than regular water, alkaline water has a higher ph (a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution) than tap water. Some people believe that a higher ph can neutralize the acid in the body, slow the aging process, and prevent cancer, but there is no scientific proof that any of these claims are true. While drinking alkaline water isn’t harmful, it is mostly a waste of money.