8 Common Myths About Drinking Water

There are different options of drinking water available in the market, such as mineral water, vitamin-enriched water, purified water, and alkaline water, etc. Advertisements are often with exaggerations on different waters' functions, which easily make us confused and fall into some common myths. Some of the myths have existed for years due to the lack of knowledge and incomplete or false message conveyed through media. Learning how to separate the myths from the facts about drinking water is essential to live a healthy life. Now, it is time to bust the myths!

8 drinking water myths

Myth 1: Drinking boiled tap water is healthy enough.

Many Chinese have gotten used to drinking boiled water for centuries, especially in remote countryside areas that are blind spots of water treatment technology. With the knowledge that bacteria and germs are the causes of diarrhea and other complications, and that heat has the ability to denature protein and kill microorganisms, people used to think that boiling to 100℃ will definitely make the water free of all harmful living things and thus safe. However, the fact is that some microorganisms are indeed heat-resistant. Moreover, except the living things, there are many non-living ones who can do harm to health too, and there is little boiling can do to avoid them.

“My grandparents have used boiled water for the whole life, and there is no problem with that, so there won’t be any problem if I do the same.” This is a common thought of many people. The statement is not completely true and needs to be analyzed with the integration to the context. The word “pollution” was not as commonly heard like now in the past. Decades ago, there was no many factories built, no much heavy metals discharged along with effluents, no much chemicals used in our detergents, fertilizers and pesticides, etc. But now, all things mentioned happened. A lot of sparkling rivers have been turned into stinking sewers, and clear water with fish and shrimp is now like a legend that is too far away and untouchable in many regions. Would the boiled water still be safe for drinking? The answer is obviously NO! Certain measures like the utilization of water filters are necessary to keep the harmful materials away.

Myth 2: Drinking water must contain minerals, so purified water is too pure so that it is bad for health.

With the influence of the idea of mineral water or mineralized water, many people have fallen into the myth that drinking water must contain certain amount of minerals. More seriously, some even consider water as the source of mineral intake. It is true that quality mineral water available in market contains some essential minerals that are beneficial to our body, but it does not mean that the quality of drinking water completely depends on its mineral content. To better understand this, we should first have a good understanding on the waters with different labels.

Mineral water:

This type of water exists in the deep down under the earth surface. It can gush out of the surface naturally or collected by drilling wells. Since the collection of mineral water requires advanced technology and knowledge input, the price of mineral water is usually higher than other types. In other words, the high price has nothing to do with its mineral content or any magical function. In reality, the micronutrient elements in mineral water such as strontium and selenium could be very low in some cases.

Purified water:

Water treated with distillation or reverse osmosis technology which makes the water completely free of all particles (including minerals) and thus in a pure state.The water source could be any that meets the hygienic standard. Distillation is often used in large water factories, while reverse osmosis technology is commonly used in water purifiers for household uses. The use of purified water is quite prevalent in developed countries (the percentage is as high as 80%).

Mineralized water:

To improve the taste of purified water, some minerals are added artificially to the purified water to mineralize it and enrich it with the “natural taste.” The action of adding minerals is indeed mianly for the taste rather than the importance of minerals. From May 1st in 2015, the label of “mineralized water” has been abolished to avoid misleading results. All these types of water are indeed simply drinking purified water.

China CCTV program of Consumer Report 2015 showed the authoritative statement toward the wrong allege that healthy water should be alkaline and contain minerals. It is true that water might contain some elements like iron, zinc and manganese that are essential to humans, yet it is not true that the intake of these elements relies on the water we drink. A practical way of getting minerals is food and a balanced eating habit. For example, to get the equivalent amount of calcium from a cup of milk, a person needs to drink 1200 cups of water. From the number,it is impossible to intake enough minerals from water for daily needs!

Myth 3: Bottled water is completely safe.

With the increase of environmental awareness, more and more people have realized the dangerous situation of tap water and started using bottled water for drinking. Bottled water from a reliable company that has systematic regulation could be considered safe, but for those that come from small water shops, there are too many unknowns and uncertainties that make the water quality questionable. From the beginning of production to the end when bottled water enters human body, any of the processes involved could potentially make the water unsafe, as summarized below.

  • There are various types of bottled water in the market, yet the sources are not guaranteed to be safe.

  • The use of bottle itself is a problem:

a. Based on the nature of the materials, a bottle regularly could be used for 2-3 years, but some factories use their bottles for a longer time to save cost.

b. Hydrogen peroxide is often used to disinfect the bottles. If not clean properly, health will be affected.

  • Transportation is a problem: when exposed to sunlight, plastic materials may enter the water. Also, the cover easily gets loose upon being transported, so impurities could pass through and enter water, and sweat from hands might cause microorganism breeding in bottleneck.

  • Secondary pollution during use: when water flows from a water dispenser, air comes in along with bacteria. More seriously, what if a dispenser is not cleaned regularly? It could be a paradise for bacteria to grow!

  • Storage and freshness problem: you need a large space to store it, and the water might be kept for a long time and thus not fresh.

To a great extent, bottled water is a better choice than boiled tap water, but with the problems above, bottled water is not a completely safe choice all the time.

Myth 4: Drinking water should be alkaline.

This myth has been busted by China CCTV program of Consumer Report 2015, which showed the authoritative statement toward the wrong allege that healthy water should be alkaline. In fact, being slightly acidic will not affect health since there is a natural acidic environment inside our body – our skin, saliva, gastric juice are all acidic. Also, the bottled waters sold in the market are slightly acidic too.

Metal ions in the water are the decisive factor to the acidity and alkalinity. If metal content is high, the water will be alkaline. That is why tap water and simply filtered water are alkaline. While for purified water treated with in-depth filtration like reverse osmosis technology, it is a little acidic because heavy metal ions (which are alkaline) have been removed from water, which exactly reflects that the water is safe!

At present, the industry has some new choices like what Greenwave does – some post filter behind the RO system will bring back some minerals and alkalize thewater to improve the taste, but this does not mean that drinking water have to be alkaline!

Myth 5: Portables can replace water.

In addition to different types of drinking water available, there are many other portables like juice, soft drinks and energy drinks as options for drinking. Research found that many young people consider portables as drinking water. However, the functions of those portables are not equivalent to the one of water. The additives of portables like sugar, protein and pigments can reduce the sense of hunger, which would affect appetite and digestion. Elements like caffeine in soft drinks are diuretics that actually make body dehydrated rather than hydrated. Therefore, it is impossible that portables can replace water to maintain sufficient water supply to our body.

Myth 6: Hard water will lead to calculi.

Research has found that there is no direct relation between hard water and calculi. Hard water does contain a higher amount of calcium than soft water, yet the amount is still very little compared to the one contained in our food. There are many factors that contribute to the occurrence of calculi, such as eating habit, weather, personal body conditions and genetic factors. Drinking hard water does not have a big influence on calculi, but drinking soft water is of course better for our body if it is accessible.

Myth 7: No need to drink water if not feeling thirsty.

Water is used to quench one’s thirst, so most people have unconsciously believed in the fallacy that there is no need to drink water if one does not feel thirsty. This is the result of incomplete knowledge on the functions of water inside our body. Even though water is not a health care product that generates nutrients, it is a great solvent that dissolves and dilutes carbohydrates and mineral salts and transports them to different parts where the nutrients are absorbed. In addition, all cell metabolisms require the participation of water. Hence, it is necessary to ensure an adequate intake.

According to CCTV News, for an adult, the intake of water is about 2 liters per day, among which 800ml is from food and others, and around 1200ml is from drinking. A scientific way of drinking water should be frequent with small amount. It is important to have an active consciousness towards drinking water rather than passively waiting for the feeling of thirst, for feeling might not be obvious or in time for some people, especially the aged.

Myth 8: Drinking extra water helps to lose weight and keep healthier skin.

Since water is good for health, some people are confused with another myth that it is better to drink as much water as possible. In reality, for the people that have a history of kidney problems, heart disease or high blood pressure, consuming too much water will put them at risk of complications.

As for whether there is the effect of losing weight and keeping healthy skin, it is not very clear with the absence of scientific proof. One study suggested that drinking 500ml water would increase capillary blood flow in the skin, and water does help people to get the sense of satisfaction and thus is a strategy for dieters (Aubrey, 2008). However, it is important to keep in mind that water is not magical. A balanced and healthy eating and living style is crucial to get a healthy body.

To conclude, with the myths busted, purified water that treated with RO technology is a relatively better choice for drinking, for it is free of all impurities and the problems that bottled water has, and for it is cost efficient and continuously generates benefits to health in a long term. In addition to this, Greenwave’s Alatai drinking water purifier has a patented post filter that returns the natural taste of water and gets the water softened for better absorption. Plus customized services provided, Greenwave will assist you to get access to safer and healthier drinking water!

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