What’s in a bottle of water?
Dubai; Now we’ve all been preached at some point in our lives about the importance of drinking water, in fact a minimum of 1.5 litres a day. But how often do you ever consider the quality of the water you’re gulping down? And I am not referring to bottled versus tap water – but mineral v. spring v. drinking bottled water. Yes there is a huge difference.
In effect, there are three families of bottled water.
1. Natural mineral water; underground, protected water which is stable in mineral composition, microbiologically pure and bottled at source. Mineral content MUST appear on the label. No disinfection treatments are allowed and no additional minerals, vitamins or other ingredients are permitted, only carbon dioxide can be added or removed (helps with digestion apparently)! Masafi labels itself ‘pure natural mineral water’ but infact it’s drinking water.
2. Spring water; underground water which is intended for human consumption in its natural state, and bottled at the source. Spring water has to comply with the conditions of exploitation and the microbiological requirements applicable to natural mineral water. The difference with no 1 is that several types of physical treatments are permitted, and the mineral content does not have to be labelled. Another local culprit is Gulfa who claims to be spring, but yet again it’s drinking water.
3. Purified or drinking water; may originate from any type of water supply that has been treated with additional processes such as microfiltration, distillation, deionisation or reverse osmosis. These treatments generally go beyond what public suppliers can do. This type of bottled water is usually labelled as purified water or drinking water.
With this in mind, FooDiva has pulled together a chemical analysis of nine bottled water brands just for you, and moi of course. Now I didn’t go back to my school’s chemistry lab, but simply read the labels like we should with any food packaged purchase, but sometimes forget. Click here to see for yourselves.
It was the ‘Total Dissolved Solids’ content that shocked FooDiva; a high TDS amount gives water a bitter or salty taste. And that’s because it comes from natural sources, sewage, urban runoff, industrial wastewater, and chemicals used in water treatment – it’s also dependent on the quality of the water pipes. Notice that the mineral water brands have no TDS.
Daily intake of a high mineral content water can be very healthy, for instance I swopped a drinking water brand with a mineral water brand for a period of a month, ridding me of cramps – yikes the joys of growing old. It’s the magnesium that does it for me. But mineral water also has a price attached to it – almost seven times more expensive than drinking water. But we don’t think twice about ordering wagyu beef or at least FooDiva’s doesn’t, so why do we with water?
On the flip side, more minerals do not always make for healthier water, for instance high amounts of sodium won’t do your blood pressure much good. So FooDiva’s advice to you, is check these water compositions before selecting your next purchase, and decide what suits you and your family’s health and budget requirements best.
And just for a laugh, read this earlier Riedel post to see how water (Arwa in this case) tastes different when swopping glasses!
Before I sign off I’d like to thank Nestle Waters for educating FooDiva on all things water. Aside from Pure Life, they also sell Acqua Panna, Perrier and Vittel – the latter arrives in U.A.E supermarkets any day now.