Long ago, we drank out of the nearest stream or lake. Even then, we understood at some level that drinking water was critical to our health. Fast forward to 1977, when we suddenly learned that bottled water was THE thing. A few years later we discovered that water needed to be flavored and enhanced to truly be healthy. What is going on?
The bottled water business is amazing. Responsible for around 1% of the entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product, bottled water is no better for us than the tap water found in larger towns and cities. In fact, bottled water executives won't disparage their nearly-free competitor from the tap. Bottled water has far more opportunity to introduce contaminants and bacteria than tap water. So why is bottled water such a success?
A lot of people also find that bottled water tastes better. That usually means that the bottler has added some minerals for taste. Not something that they put on the front of the label. In most cases, the water in the bottle came from some big-city tap with a bit of filtering and aerating. Several popular and competing brands actually use the same source for their water. Wouldn't that be a fun exposé for Geraldo Rivera!
How does enhanced water help you? Some contain electrolytes. Electrolytes are chemicals in our bodies that are lost when we sweat. So replacing electrolytes is good, right? It turns out that unless your heavy exertion lasts more than an hour, your body will replenish your electrolytes naturally without any help from your pretty water.
Other waters contain vitamins and minerals. Others contain herbs and flowers to help you concentrate or fall asleep. Still others contain caffeine or taurine for energy and alertness. They all come in lovely bottles and have a variety of colors to match your wardrobe. Is there a down side?
research has shown that low-fat chocolate milk is actually superior when it comes to recovery from exercise.
What is there to do? How about some healthy, free tap water in a reusable (BPA-free) water bottle!