Nutrition Articles

Water 101

Learn All the Ways to Get Your H2O

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Today, there are abundant ways to get your water. Tap water, mineral water, spring water, fitness water, water from bottles, water filters, water coolers, and the list goes on and on. What works? What are the differences among them? How much do they cost? Here’s some help.

Bottled Water
It’s becoming more and more popular, despite costing a dollar or two per bottle (and generating a lot of waste). There are many kinds of bottled water.

Spring water comes from underground water springs. It receives the same filtration treatment that all water receives, including tap water, but that’s it. It is the more natural water and is typically characterized as tasting more refreshing.

Mineral water contains minerals or other dissolved substances that alter its taste or give it therapeutic value. Salts, sulfur compounds, and gases are among the substances that can be dissolved in the water. Mineral water, which is often effervescent, and can be prepared or can occur naturally.

The source of bottled water must be listed on its label. Not all bottled water comes from a spring. Many bottles of water contain nothing more than tap water, yet still cost up to $3.00 per bottle. One way to know that bottled water is actually tap water is to read the label. Look for "municipal" sources or words like "public water source" for clues. Dasani and Aquafina brands of bottled water are regular tap water, for example.

Another option is flavored water. Gatorade recently launched its own line of flavored fitness water called Propel, but there are many other options. These waters go through a similar process to mineral water, adding not only minerals and vitamin fortification, but also a hint of artificial flavoring. It’s not much different than mineral water; its main attraction is for individuals who do not like the taste of plain water. Flavored water costs nearly the same as regular bottled water.

Filters
Water filters are a more economically sound purchase. Filters come in several forms; the most popular choices are a filtered water pitcher to be stored in your fridge, or an attachment to your sink faucet. The filters block several elements of tap water, including zinc, chlorine, copper, lead, sediment and other materials, up to 99 percent of each item that comes through your sink. (These additives come from the pipes they flow through, so they are not in bottled spring water). Filters can be purchased for anything from $20 to $60, and are great alternatives to buying bottled water all the time.

Water coolers
Thought these were only for the office? While they require a bit more maintenance than filters, water coolers are another alternative to bottled water. The cooling units are more expensive to buy up front, (the cheapest ones start at $100) but in the long run, will save you money. Five-gallon jugs can be purchased for less than $10 and they equate to 32 regular size bottles of water (20 ounces). Plus, companies will regularly bring you new jugs at your convenience.

The choice is yours, between bottled, flavored, filters or coolers; just make sure you’re drinking 8-12 cups per day. Find out what works best for you and stick with it! It could be key to reaching your nutritional goals.


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Member Comments

  • Think "Reverse Osmosis"! It costs some money at the beginning, (around $300,) but is easy to install yourself. It not only removes the things that taste bad, but also the contaminants that make you sick. Most municipal water is safe, but you never know when something will happen that will contaminate the water, nor how long it will take them to find out there is a problem. If you pay a little bit extra, you can get a system that retains the minerals that make water taste good, not tasteless. I drink water all the time, and love my reverse osmosis system. (It also keeps the water glasses cleaner!)
  • We have a filter under our sink with a separate spout for the drinking water. We have a lot of chlorine in our city water. I don't want to think about what else is coming from the old pipes in my house. The family loves it!

    If I go to a restaurant, sometimes the water will still taste funny to me, so I usually ask for lemon to put in my water.
  • Over on G+, the picture is of muffins. This says, "Muffins for everyone!"; not a single visual word about "water". Why is this, dear SparkPeople Social Media Liaison..?? Why do we continue to get pictures that don't match the promised content..!?!?
  • RAVENCLAW-ANGEL
    This reminds me I need to change my Britta filter! Although I do buy bottled water for when I am on the go or going to a party where there is usually only soda for drinks.
  • I've got a Britta at home and I have a stainless steel bottle and another kind of bottle with a filter that I can fill up and carry with me. I can't stand the chlorine taste of our water. For work I found that even the so called filtered water is disgusting and has stuff floating in it and has a very foul taste. I almost always have Evian water. That is the only kind of bottled water that I find doesn't taste terrible, like the plastic bottle or something, but it is also very expensive.
  • Bottled water is so incredibly wasteful, it's disgusting that people have made it trendy. The fuel used to make the plastic for the bottles that end up in landfills, to never biodegrade. The fuel used to truck pallets across the country. Fewer regulations on bottled water than on your tap water, too.
  • I use well water.
  • NIECY211
    I keep up with my water intake - about 10 cups a day. the only time I find water drinking challenging is when tryintg to drink it with my dinner meals. My husband and I drink a glass of water with our dinner flavored with lemon juice with lots of ice, marachino cherries with orange and lime slices. It not only tastes flavorful but it looks very exotic. great way to fool your taste buds!
  • I don't quite get the problem with water until I get some unfiltered from the tap. I am from
    Arizona and used to pay extra for bottled water, then one day decided to try the PUR system and was very happy with it. I still do NOT like facet water, I can taste the chlorine..YUCK.
    In Kansas at my son's home,my DIL said their water was filtered....but my very sensitive palate could taste the chlorine. In 5 days I have gone through almost 3 store bought gallons of water!!
  • "it is a mischaracterizati
    on to dismiss municipal sourced bottled water a rip off. While bottled water, including the brands marketed by Pepsi and Coke, come initially from the tap they undergo stages of additional treatment including reverse osmosis (RO)."
    Hardly it takes SEVERAL liters of water to produce ONE liter of water. Not to mention the bottles and transportation etc. They paint them selves as being some sort of heroes when they basically do little to the water. They just want to pick everyone's pocket. Buy a water bottle fill it from the tap and you will be doing yourself and the landfill a favour.
    If bottled water is SO SUPERIOR why is the NO net benefit to our health - it seems like until it was MARKETED , there was no need for it - funny how there had to be a MARKET created for it.
  • Might want to look at this sentence again ... "Mineral water, which is often effervescent, and can be prepared or can occur naturally."

    Sorry, the writer in me.
  • Doctor told me i have to drink 3 liters a day, as in past. I never drunk much .
    somthing to do with my kidneys - toxins, to flush out not quite sure can't really remember much
    Some say 3liters is 5.5 pints some say 6 pints is 3liters Im' in uk can you help i want to get this right thanks
    AS SOON AS I HAVE A SIP OF WATER I'M THISTY AGAIN is this right
  • MISSCHIEF
    Water can be hard to drink! I found adding some fresh lemon or lime juice or even mint leaves gives some good for me taste. xx
  • I get my water from shaved ice. I have a Pampered Chef Ice Shaver and use it 4-6 times a day to get in my water quota. Love the texture!
  • Since I've moved to Florida I find that the water has a lot of chlorine in it. Surprise! Our refrigerator now has a good filter. We use it for everything right now but are looking into other filtering systems. Boring work but I can't drink the water without it.


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