Spurning the tap to shell out a few extra bucks for bottled water is the only way to hydrate, for some. For many others, the thought of wasting money to get something that is practically free in every home seems ludicrous. While the popularity of bottled water is booming, many are wondering if there are really any extra benefits to drinking bottled water.
The reason behind the rise in the popularity of bottled water could be attributed to the overall shift in health consciousness across the nation. Rather than reach for sugary sports drinks or caloric sodas, people are grabbing their water bottles to quench their thirst.
Simply, there is not much difference between bottled water and tap water. In terms of safety, bottled water and tap water are comparable. Our water supply is monitored and tested constantly by the Environmental Protection Agency, while bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Both groups use similar safety standards.
What’s in the Tap?
One of the main differences between tap and bottled water is that tap water usually includes a chlorine disinfectant, meant to guard against any potential harmful bacteria. This could lead to the water not tasting as good as it would without it. Bottled water uses ozone disinfectant, which has no odor or taste.
On the other hand, tap water often contains some fluoride, which is very beneficial for healthy teeth. In fact drinking fluorinated water is enough for most people to reach their recommended daily intake of fluoride. Simply drinking tap water is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay. Those who drink exclusively bottled water should look for alternate ways to intake fluoride.
Some minerals that are important in water are calcium and magnesium. Death rates tend to be lower in areas with tap water containing higher levels of calcium and magnesium, according to a Duke University study. Depending on where you live, the levels of these minerals in water are consistent in tap and bottled water. You get the same health benefits from both.
What’s in the Bottle?
There are varying degrees of bottled water. You have your standard grocery store bottles as well as your premium water bottles that will run you a few extra bucks. Despite the packaging, close to half the bottled water in the United States is just filtered tap water.
Some of the premium brands do have interesting sources. Évian, for example, is drawn from a spring in the French village of Évian-les-Bains. The water you are drinking is originally melted alpine snow. And Fiji water does actually source its water from Fiji. Any potential health benefits for these brands over other brands and tap water is minimal though. The extra money you spend won’t provide you with additional health benefits.
The Bottom Line:
The tap water versus bottled water debate comes down to personal preference. There is nothing dangerous about tap water and there is nothing inherently better about bottled water. Drinking water is important to any health-conscious person. So whether it is out of a bottle or out of a faucet, make sure to drink enough water and keep hydrated.