This is a re-post. Enjoy!
In the grocery store, it is shocking how many different types of water are available. It really came to my attention when I was in Germany. I asked at a restaurant for a glass of water. What I got was room temperature carbonated mineral water! Not what I was expecting. Even among mineral water are several types to choose from. Maybe I can shed a bit of light on the confusing array of choices.
Bottled water is very popular in the US. You will see a lot of people sporting one along wherever they go. But it seems many like many adhere to a brand rather than what kind of water they choose. There are three main types that people carry with them: Spring and Purified. Spring water comes from an underground water source to the Earth's surface. Purified is water that has been cleansed from impurities through reverse osmosis, filtering, and deionization for the most part. It tends to be taste-free. Artesian is water taken from a well system that comes through rock or sand layers. Which one would you prefer to drink? The greatest controversy seems to stem from the plastic bottles since some contain BPA, considered a carcinogen. Also the amount of bottles in landfills that people don't recycle. Is it better for you than tap water? Maybe and maybe not. Now you have an idea what kind of water is in the bottle you carry!
Sparkling water has gained popularity in the US. It is simply water that has been carbonated. Some people like it because of the bubble and taste from the carbonation. There are also flavored sparkling water as well which usually have an artificial sweetener. This type is considered a soft drink as opposed to water. The negative here is that carbonic acid is hard on the enamel on teeth, much like diet pop!
Flavored water has been around in the companies that produce bottled water like Dasani and Aquafina. Since there are people who don't like plain water, this type is being marketed in the bottled water aisle. Artificial flavor is added with an artificial sweetener. One company adds carbonation to their flavored varieties, changing its category to sparkling water. I would liken it to weak Kool-aid, in my own opinion, although some people may think differently.
Mineral water is water that comes from an underground source. It must contain all the trace mineral elements available from the water source. This is what is confusing to consumers. Much of what I have seen in the US only contains 4% calcium and various levels of sodium! Most of what I saw in Germany also contained potassium and magnesium. Some was carbonated while some was not. I found one brand in the natural foods section of a grocery store called Mountain Valley Sparkling Water. It is a mineral water that contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. No sodium content! Another one I found was in Whole Foods, but I can't recall the brand. It contained calcium, potassium, magnesium and a small amount of sodium. Most of them only contain calcium with varying degrees of sodium. Read the label before you buy! Just because it is mineral water doesn't make it healthy.
Sport Water like Propel is flavored and contains vitamins and minerals. Some of my clients have called it diluted Gatorade. Vitamin C, E,Niacin, Pantothenic Acid and Sodium. The sodium is necessary to re-balance electrolytes lost through perspiration. However, it doesn't taste salty. Unless you sweat a lot, regular water is sufficient.
Vitamin water is similar to Propel but contains more vitamins and minerals that are added. Vitamin Water brand has differing vitamin content based on the need labelled. They use a natural sweetener bringing the calorie content to 120 per serving. All of them contain electrolytes to replenish during heavy perspiration. Again, unless you are a heavy sweater working out hard, regular water will do. The added vitamins may or may not be valuable to you depending on your diet and vitamin supplementation.
This certainly isn't exhaustive, but may help you choose wisely. Reading the label rather than being brand-loyal will help you choose what you really are looking for. The main purpose of water is hydration. Drink up!
May God bless you!
Note: I have a Pur pitcher and use the water I filter from it. It is cheaper and easier on the environment.
Sites to visit:
Some bottled water sites: