Chapter 4

St. Francis Prep.

Nutrition - Mrs. Turner


Tufts University

Health & Nutrition Letter


"Purified" bottled water...From Public Water Supplies

A label with a sketch of a snowcapped mountain. Underneath, the words "Purity Guaranteed" in large, italicized letters. In smaller type, the assurance that the product is "purified drinking water." Surely, all those clues on a bottle of Aquafina water, sold by Pepsi-Cola Company, mean the product comes from a spring or glacier, or gurgles, pristine, down the side of a mountain, right? Wrong.

Aquafina purified water comes comes from the same water supplies that send water through kitchens and bathrooms in Wichita, Houston, Orlando, Fresno, seven other municipalities around the country. The major difference is that residents of those municipalities pay about a penny for every liter of water, as does Pepsi. When you buy it bottled in the supermarket, you pay closer to a dollar.

And a lot of people are buying it. It's the number 1-selling bottled water at retail stores in the US

Yes, it has been purified, unlike the water coming from peoples taps. But "purified" doesn't mean "pure," at least not in the way people tend to think of the word "pure." I water language, purified water is simply water from which all the minerals and other solids have been removed. It doesn't make the water better for you.

Pepsi is not alone in removing minerals from perfectly drinkable water and reselling it. The Coca-Cola Company, too, filters water that would have otherwise flowed from people's faucets. It then packages it in a bottle with a rich looking cobalt blue label, calls it Dasani, an exotic-sounding word with no connection to anything exotic, and says on the label that it has a "Pure, Fresh, Taste."

The funny thing about Coca-Cola is that its water, as the label points out, is "enhanced with minerals." It's like buying a cake with chocolate icing, scraping the icing off, spreading a similar icing back on, and selling the cake for many times more than you bought it.

Certainly if you like the taste of Dasani or Aquafina water better than the taste of water coming from your own tap and are willing to pay three times as much for it as you do for gasoline and up to 100 times more than you pay for your tap water then go for it. (We found that the two brands tasted different from our own tap water but not necessarily better. It's a matter of personal preference.) Just know that while the water is purified in the technical sense, it's not, in the popular sense, more "pure" than the water that flows through your pipes, pictures of snowcapped mountains notwithstanding.



Why Bottled Water

by Sharon Denny, M.S., R.D.

Why do Louis Pasteur, 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.

Through 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 1700's. In the 1920s, US publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst was so impressed by the water in Hot Spring, 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. 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 from the international Bottled Water Association, several factors several factors influence the popularity of bottled water. They include:

  • Preference for taste of bottled water. Chlorine in tap water can add a chemical taste.
  • Mounting consumer interest in beverages that are calorie-free, caffine-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 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added 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 mineral 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 whole drilled or otherwise constructed in the ground.
  • Purified Water: Produced by distillation, reverse osmosis, 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 your active, add more each hour of activity (see

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