Drink more water but which water?
There are so many varieties of water to choose from, in the supermarket on menus and probably even in your own home. Who would have thought it could be that hard to make a decision on something that should be so simple. Like lots of things in nutrition, it seems to become complicated when it doesn't need to be. So let's have a look at the choices around.
Sparkling water, also known as Soda water, is water with carbonation added to it under pressure so it dissolves. It usually has a small amount of salts added to it like sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, potassium citrate etc.
You may be most familiar with salt being sodium chloride or table salt. The amount of sodium in the soda water is small about 7mg per 100ml. This is a small amount of your dietary intake. Many of us have much more than the recommended amount of salt. There would be many other foods contributing a great deal more sodium to your diet than that in soda water. A low salt food is classified as something with less than 120mg per 100g.
If you suffer with reflux the carbonation, or the bubbles, you may like to minimise as it may exacerbate it.
So Sparkling or soda water for most of us is a good choice.
Mineral water is traditionally water collected from a natural spring and contains a range of minerals that vary depending on what is naturally occurring in the ground where the water has come from. The bottled type in the supermarket is collected, carbonated and sometimes flavoured. Read the labels for the sodium level as it can vary between brands. Most are still less than 10mg per 100ml. One from a natural spring you collect yourself might be greater.
Flavouring, is where the concern to health begins. Flavoured mineral water has around 10% sugar, the same as a standard soft drink.
When we start to add these ingredients such as sugar and citric acid, the pH of the drink changes, same issue with soft drink. The pH matters to our teeth. Once the pH goes below 4, the acid can start to dissolve the outer layer of tooth enamel, increasing the likelihood of tooth decay.
The bacteria in the mouth use the sugar to produce acid that dissolves and damages teeth. The excess sugar can also contribute to high blood sugar levels and is energy dense, with no added nutrient value apart from the carbohydrate to be used as energy. Soft drink are often referred to as empty calories due to their poor nutrient content.
It has been talked about that carbonation may leach calcium out from the bones, but there is not sufficient research to support this. It is more about the pH of the water needing to be above 4, non acidic to protect our bones and teeth.
So plain mineral water is a great choice, flavoured isn't.
Tap water in Australia has fluoride added to it for the dental health benefits. In general in Australia we are lucky to have great tasting water, safe water supplies and straight from the tap. Some areas might have their unique flavour and you can filter it, but in general we have great water to drink. If filtering tap water, the filter may remove all minerals. I recommend you drink some unfiltered water to ensure some fluoride is taken in for strong teeth.
Tap water is the most economical and probably the best environmental way to get your water. No plastic bottles laying on the beach from drinking tap water!
All of the waters, tap, soda, sparkling and mineral are great ways to keep hydrated. Drink water, unsweetened, that is the key. Enjoy it with or without minerals and bubbles, it doesn’t matter nutritionally.
Simone likes to share her expert nutrition advice. Read more