Hydration is vital if you want to achieve optimal health and weight loss. Obviously, the healthiest way to hydrate is by drinking water. Water has no calories or sugar, so you can drink it whenever you need it. Seems like simple advice. Water is water, right? Yes and no.
As long as the water is safe to drink, yes, you can stick with plain tap water to stay hydrated. But, for many people, this can be boring. In addition, some types of water may have some additional health benefits to consider. Take a look at these water options so you can determine what kind of drinking water is best for you.
1. Tap water
Tap water is, put simply, the water that comes out of sinks and plumbing fixtures. In the United States, it’s generally safe to drink tap water. We have advanced water treatment processes that means your tap water won’t contain bacteria or pathogens that can make you sick.
But, there are some instances where you should not drink tap water. If a water main break or other incident has triggered a boil water advisory, for instance, you obviously need to refrain from drinking tap water — or boil it properly — until the advisory has been lifted. In addition, history has taught us that tap water can contain chemicals and heavy metals that are detrimental to human health. Case in point: the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Nonetheless, for people who prefer to drink tap water, this is usually a safe and very economical way to get water throughout the day. If you like it and it’s safe, it’s the most convenient way to hydrate. If you have concerns about contaminants in your tap water, you can buy a home water filtration system to reduce impurities such as chlorine, mercury, and lead.
2. Distilled water
Distilled water is typically sold in jugs in grocery stores and other retailers. Distilled water is created when regular water is boiled and the steam collected is condensed back into liquid.
One of the advantages to distilled water is that it pulls out any impurities. But, the distillation process also removes natural minerals that would be found in tap water or other types of water. This has led to concerns that drinking distilled water will actually pull minerals from the body. But, if you eat a balanced diet and take supplements as needed, the amounts of minerals that it may deplete should be negligible.
Distilled water is a good option if the tap water in your area is not safe to drink. It’s usually much less expensive than other types of bottled water.
Many people also don’t care for the flat taste of distilled water, as it lacks the minerals that give water its taste. But, this is strictly personal preference.
3. Alkaline water
Alkaline water is sold in bottles and contains added minerals that raise its pH level. Water is typically at a neutral pH of 7, but alkaline water may be any pH above this.
Despite its popularity and trendiness, there is no scientific evidence that alkaline water will improve your health. In fact, the powerful acids in the stomach most likely neutralize the water back to a pH of 7 before the body absorbs it. In addition, diluting your stomach acid with loads of alkaline water could, theoretically, decrease its ability to digest food and fight off invaders in the body.
With all this said, it’s perfectly safe to drink alkaline water on occasion. But, you may not want to drink excessive amounts until more research has been conducted.
4. Flavored water
Today’s supermarket shelves are chock-full of flavored water options. Some are totally calorie-free, containing only fruit extracts for flavor. Others may also be calorie-free but contain artificial sweeteners. And still others may contain small amounts of sugar — or in some cases, very high amounts.
This is where label reading is necessary. If you’re trying to cut back on calories, you’ll likely want to avoid options that contain sugar. With nearly 70 different names, sugar can be hard to spot — so look at calorie content if you’re not sure.
Many people get tired of plain water and turn to flavored water for some variety. This is a good option to help you stay hydrated if you dislike drinking plain water day in and day out. Just be sure you’re drinking enough to stay hydrated and that you’re not overdoing it on artificial sweeteners or sugar.
As a healthier alternative, try infusing your own water with fresh fruit like lemons, watermelon, and kiwi. Add cucumbers, fresh mint, or even rosemary for a nutritious burst of flavor. The possibilities are endless with creating your own flavored water concoction.
5. Sparkling water
Sparkling or carbonated water is the drink of choice in countries abroad, including much of Europe. In fact, if you order water at a restaurant overseas, you could end up with sparkling water — not tap water.
Sparkling water does not contain flavors or other additives. It is simply water with carbon dioxide. In these cases, sparkling water is just as nutritious as tap water.
The taste of sparkling water is enjoyable to people who dislike still water or who are craving a carbonated beverage. Others do not care for sparkling water. If sparkling water allows you to cut back on soda, it may be a great option for you.
6. Purified water
Many bottled water companies offer purified water, sometimes with minerals added for taste. Usually, a bottle of purified water is simply tap water that’s been filtered to remove any harmful substances.
But, to be kinder to the environment, you may wish to install a filter in your home and skip the plastic bottles. Reverse osmosis filters remove nearly every contaminant and mineral from tap water, thereby providing you with something very similar to what you would purchase in a bottle.
Proper hydration is just one component of a successful weight-loss program. Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers offers personalized plans designed to help you achieve your weight and wellness goals. Contact us to schedule your no-cost consultation today!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on March 26,2019