You’d think drinking water is pretty easy, right? Choose your bottle, open it, drink, repeat. But that first step—choosing which kind of water you’re going to sip—is trickier than you might think now that there’s a wide array of options hanging out on store shelves. These are the eight biggest water myths tripping us up at the grocery store accoeding to Ellie Krieger, R.D., TV host and author of Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less, to dispel the
You think that purified bottle is the same as spring or artesian water.
Not all waters come from the same place, but they are all created equal (we’ll get to that later). So while many believe that artesian or spring waters might be fancier than, say, purified—it’s not. Here, Krieger provides a quick breakdown of where each type of water originates from (which consequently alters its taste ever-so-slightly). Otherwise, the only thing these three have in common: zero nutritional benefits, aside from providing ever-important hydration.
Purified: This water can come from anywhere, even from a tap. The purified part means that it’s been filtered or distilled to remove impurities, like chlorine, that affect taste or odor.
Spring: Water that is from an underground formation that bubbles up and flows naturally to the surface, just like an actual spring.
Artesian: It might sound fancy, but similar to spring, this is just water that comes from an underground surface. The only difference is that it’s tapped from a well that’s under pressure, which causes the water to rise to the surface.
You’re missing out on important nutrient boosters.
Much like spring and artesian, mineral water comes from a specific place—in this case, it must come from an underground source that’s naturally rich in minerals. Those minerals make this water exceptionally great, too—since the source the water comes from is naturally loaded with minerals, so is the water. Which means drinking some can increase your intake tremendously—as in, one liter per day can cover 20 to 58 percent of your daily calcium requirements and 16 to 41 percent of your magnesium needs.
When choosing a mineral water, though, be on the lookout for labels like “fortified with minerals” and “mineral-enriched.” Those are bottles that had the minerals added after the fact—they weren’t naturally included. What’s it matter? “They’re usually adding such a tiny amount that it’ll affect the taste—so it often tastes better—but it doesn’t have an impact on your nutrient intake like natural mineral water does,” says Krieger. To spot the difference, “look at the nutrition label. If there’s a significant amount of minerals included, there will actually be a percentage of calcium and magnesium included on the label. If not, it will likely say zero percent, or not be mentioned on the label at all.”
You’re getting too much sodium.
Like with anything that seems too good to be true, there is a catch to mineral water. Krieger says it tends to be high in sodium (but not all varieties are), so if you’re watching your intake, be sure to read labels carefully. You shouldn’t exceed more than 2400 mg of sodium in a day, so if you grab a glass of mineral water, make sure you’re including it in your daily count.
You grab bottles because of their vitamin promotion or energy promises.
“There’s all these drinks that contain antioxidants that have a really enticing name, like ‘focus,’ ‘calm,’ or ‘revitalize,'” explains Krieger. It might sound like you’re getting more for your dollar, but the truth is, you’re not. “It’s basically pure marketing. These enhancements aren’t anything you can’t get at your next meal through natural antioxidants that come in your food.”