Everyone has to drink water, particularly in our hydration-obsessed period, and it’s that incontrovertible fact that has turned bottled water right into a multi-billion greenback business. When you stroll down the water aisle, there are seemingly limitless choices, from alkaline to mineral to vapor-distilled, all promising to make your physique more healthy than plain outdated faucet water.
But as with many issues, the bottled water class is replete with advertising hype and dangerous science, all meant to make you spend cash on one thing that flows freely from the faucet on this nation. To assist swim via this sea of water propaganda, we reached out to Martin Riese, who earned a Mineral Water Sommelier certification from the German Mineral Water Trade Association in 2010 and now develops full menus of water choices for Los Angeles eating places like Fellow. Below, he shares his important steerage on shopping for the best-tasting water.
A caveat: Bottled water isn’t going to be essentially the most environmentally pleasant alternative, and Riese recommends carrying round a reusable water bottle that’s stuffed with filtered water as essentially the most sustainable possibility. But for these conditions when that’s not attainable, like once you’ve forgotten your bottle and are combating critical dry-mouth in an airport terminal, these tips may also help you make a extra sustainable alternative that truly tastes good.
Consider the supply
According to Riese, the model of water that you just purchase isn’t really all that vital. What issues most is the supply of the water, or the place it got here from earlier than it was packaged into these handy plastic bottles. “When I’m in a grocery store, the first thing I’m looking at is where the water is actually coming from,” he says. “When it comes from a naturally occurring source, like spring water or mineral water or glacier water, that’s what I want to buy.”
Riese tends to keep away from manufacturers that market themselves as “purified,” or “vapor-distilled,” largely as a result of they are usually sourced from public water programs identical to the water that comes out of your faucet. “I don’t like the business model, it’s a little bit like a scam. They’re filtering everything out of tap water, and maybe adding back some small amount of minerals or electrolytes to call it healthy,” he says. “I want my water from a naturally occurring source that’s designed by Mother Nature.”
Don’t get tricked by advertising hype
When you stroll down the water aisle, there are a slew of promoting buzzwords like “alkaline,” and “electrolytes” emblazoned on each package deal. According to Riese, these promoting factors are nearly at all times simply advertising hype. There’s no strong analysis that signifies that ingesting alkaline water, or water with a barely greater pH, will do something to enhance your well being, and the vast majority of “electrolyte waters” include solely hint quantities of the minerals that water manufacturers insist will make you extra hydrated. “I think the whole bottled water industry is very messed up in America,” he says. “Sixty percent of the water sold in this country is nothing other than glorified tap water, and I think that’s the biggest scam on planet Earth.”
Think about your private taste preferences
Even although it’s usually described as “flavorless,” water positively has a style. Some waters, like Texas-born model Crazy Water, are full of minerals like zinc, calcium, and silica, every of which impart some quantity of taste. If you’re not a fan of the salty, typically bitter taste profile of mineral water, contemplate manufacturers which have been filtered by reverse osmosis, a course of that may take away as much as 99.9 p.c of hint minerals and different contaminants. Just needless to say most of these reverse osmosis bottled waters, like Aquafina and LIFEWTR, are sourced from public water programs.
Choose a (extra) sustainable package deal
Because of the inherent environmental impression of bottling and promoting water, Riese says that there isn’t any really good container for water. He prefers glass, each as a result of it may be recycled and since it doesn’t leach chemical substances into the water in the identical method that plastic bottles do. Aluminum bottles or cans are additionally a good possibility as a result of they are often recycled, however many are lined with plastic liners to stop something within the can (like corrosion or rust) from impacting the flavour of the water.
Surprisingly, water bought in paper bins is among the many least sustainable choices for packaged water. “It’s the worst because it looks great from the outside, but these boxes are made from lots of different layers of material, including plastic,” Riese says. “Many recycling companies can’t even recycle them, so they end up in the landfill right away.”