Water is the simplest of basic needs, yet the water aisle is anything but simple. LA-based "Water Sommelier" gives TicTok users the scoop on every water myth under the sun. When in doubt facing a wide array of bottled water options, it's best to look for a label that says "spring water" or a label that clearly states a natural water source like Fiji. And Martin the Water Somme says to stay away from SmartWater!
8 Glasses A Day? The era of the "8 glasses a day" is in decline, with many books and health proponents bringing more common sense to the popularized adage. In 2011 it was published in the British Medical Journal that the advocacy group "Hydration for Health" pushing the "8 glasses" story was created by Danone. Danone has three major bottled water brands under its umbrella, including Evian. It's a good lesson that any "one size fits all" campaign like "eat breakfast" is brought to you by... "cereal". The 8 Glasses Campaign (not how many ounces) was such a specifically vague statement that it somehow became a health rule. Most experts agree on a new rule. Drink water when you are thirsty. PS: Coffee & Tea count towards hydration! So do high water content foods like lettuce and cucumber. Beverages with a water base are still drinking water.
Purified and Distilled Water? The difference between Purified and Distilled is minimal; they are both just H2O. Purified means filtered through steam or reverse osmosis, while the distilled label means steam. When it comes to body intake, we want some antioxidants in the water. Neither of these has antioxidants and are instead oxygenizing the body. This can actually be harmful. If one is looking for a balanced pH or alkaline water, these will test at pH5 (acidic). Further, Purified Water is a label used to market bottled water, when it's just highly filtered tap water with more negative health properties than good ones.
Electrolyte Water? Common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium. These charged minerals can have benefits such as regulating body fluid and muscle contraction. Often waters and sports drinks with added electrolytes are marketed as "sports drinks." Every water except "distilled water" has electrolytes; the difference is added minerals. While this may be beneficial for physical activity that has you sweating for more than an hour (sweat is salty), these waters just have more salt content. Sidenote: sports drinks like Gatorade are also packed with sugar and carbs, making them a poor choice unless one is truly electrolyte depleted.
Ice Water? Europeans have it right. We don't have to put ice in everything we drink. Room temp or chilled is best. Ayurvedic principals also agree that room temp is best for water absorption. Further, when water freezes into ice cubes, it pushes out the mineral content. So even if you add ice cubes made from the same delicious water you are drinking, you still dilute your water with the ice cubes as they melt. Stay classy and go room temperature.
Tap Water? Generally, tap water is just as sufficient as any water. It will have different flavors depending on the local minerals that go into it. Some waters are "soft"; others are "hard." There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the water that has some taste. One thing to consider is that American tap water is highly processed. There are more added chemicals like chlorine and fluoride than international tap waters. Chlorine is there to kill bacteria which is why Americans get sick in Mexico (drinking less processed water). Fluoride is added in tap water so that children don't get cavities. The shift away from drinking tap water can be seen as the commodification of something that could be free to buy bottled, but then again it's hard to know the extent of tap water processing region to region.
Alkaline Water? Alkaline water is its pH or acidity level. Low pH is acidic, soft water, that contains more minerals and metals - while higher pH is alkaline and hard water. Any water source may have a higher or lower pH depending on the mineral content derived from the source and processing. Because it's water, it's never going to be acidic to the point that it would cause any difference in consumption. According to VeryWell, none of the marketed benefits of Alkaline water have shown conclusive data.