Bottled water is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons including a preference for its taste and concern about the safety of tap water. Types of bottled water are discussed including spring, mineral, and sparkling water. Information about the body’s need for water is provided.
What do Louis Pasteur, I Peter the Great, and Leonardo da Vinci have in common? They all had a strong belief in the medicinal qualities of water. Pasteur had bottled water from the spa at Badoit, France, specially shipped to him by the caseload. Peter the Great drank 21 glasses of water a day in an effort to alleviate indigestion. Leonardo favored bottled water in place of other treatments for various ailments.
Throughout history, special waters have been associated with purification and rejuvenation of the body. The Babylonians worshipped Ba, the god of the sweet waters under the earth. When the Romans conquered France, they established Italian-style spas near natural springs. Julius Caesar was known to visit a spa in Vichy, France.
Perhaps the first “bottled” water was from a spa in Belgium that began shipping spring water in earthenware jars to other cities in the 1700s. In the 1920s, U.S. publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst was so impressed by the water in Hot Springs, Arkansas, he opened a New York franchise to make Arkansas water available to people on the East Coast.
Now It’s Our Style
Although long the norm in European countries, drinking bottled water has only recently become part of the American lifestyle. Today, Americans drink close to 3 billion gallons of bottled water per year. That’s about 9.7 gallons per person per year. More than 500 different brands of bottled water, both domestic and imported, are sold in the United States.
Bottled water has become the fastest growing segment of the beverage market. Californians drink the most bottled water, followed by residents of Florida, New York, Texas, and Illinois. According to consumer research from the International Bottled Water Association, several factors influence the popularity of bottled water. They include:
* Preference for the taste of bottled water. Chlorine in tap water can add a chemical taste.
* Mounting consumer interest in beverages that are calorie-free, caffeine-free, and alcohol-free
* Increased acceptance of bottled water as a beverage in its own right
* Heightened concern about the safety and quality of municipal water supplies. For example, bottled water doesn’t contain lead or microbial parasites such as cryptosporidium.
* Growth in availability of serving-size products appealing to consumers with active lifestyles.
What’s in the Bottle?
Bottled water must meet federal and state standards and be sealed in a sanitary container. Approved water sources are inspected and designated safe for human consumption. In 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added to the quality standards already in place for bottled water. There are now 83 separate tests required to check bottled waters for quality and chemical contaminants.
Earlier this year, the FDA issued new labeling regulations that include definitions for the different types of bottled water:
Artesian Water: From a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand) in which the water level stands above the top of the aquifer.
Mineral Water: Originates from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. The bottled product must contain a certain level of natural minerals and/or trace elements, and in the same levels and proportions as the water does at the source. No minerals can be added.
Sparkling Water: Contains naturally occurring carbon dioxide from the same source as the water.
Spring Water: Flows naturally from an underground source to the surface of the earth. Spring water must be collected directly from the spring or from a drilled hole that taps the aquifer that feeds the spring.
Well Water: Collected from an aquifer through a hole drilled or otherwise constructed in the ground.
Purified Water: Produced by distillation, best reverse osmosis system, or other approved process. May be labeled “distilled water” if it also has been boiled, vaporized, and condensed.
Your Water Needs
Your level of activity and body weight determine the amount of water your body needs to maintain proper hydration. A good rule to follow is to have at least eight 8-ounce servings of water a day-and if you’re active, add more for each hour of activity
Dietitian Felicia Busch, R.D., M.P.H., offers these tips for making sure you get at least eight cups of water a day:
* Freeze a partially full plastic bottle of water the night before a soccer match or hiking trip. Fill with more water before you leave. You’ll have instant chilled water all day long.
* Buy a sport top for your favorite bottled water to transform it into an instant squirt bottle.
* Buy water in 64-ounce containers. When it’s empty, you’ve had your eight cups of water for that day.
* Make a health and fashion statement by using a water bottle sling to tote around your water supply.
* Keep water handy for sipping while doing homework at your desk or computer.
Daily water requirement (8-ounce servings) for one hour of activity:
Your weight Light Moderate Strenuous (pounds) activity activity activity 115 9 servings 9 1/2 servings 10 servings 125 9 10 11 150 9 10 11 1/2 175 9 1/2 10 1/2 12 1/2 200 9 1/2 11 13 1/4