TAKE A SEN­SI­BLE SIP

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - WELLNESS - SHIKHA SHARMA

Most of us, when we’re out and about, tend to drink bot­tled wa­ter be­cause it is sup­posed to be hy­gienic and it’s also sup­posed to con­tain min­er­als that are good for our health.

How wrong we are. Bot­tled wa­ter has be­come a big busi­ness, and wa­ter short­ages and mis­man­age­ment lead to un­scrupu­lous peo­ple ex­ploit­ing our ba­sic need for clean drink­ing wa­ter.

Tests have proved that many brands of bot­tled wa­ter cheat us via their la­bels. The wa­ter may have been pu­ri­fied, but it is not min­eral wa­ter. And many brands named af­ter moun­tains around the world have no con­nec­tion with those places at all. Fi­nally, wa­ter from cheap plas­tic bot­tles is known to be harmful.

So know your bot­tled wa­ter be­fore you buy it.

Sparkling wa­ter

Car­bon diox­ide has been added to make the wa­ter fizzy, im­i­tat­ing spring wa­ter. But pu­rifi­ca­tion is the only guar­an­tee: the source may not ac­tu­ally be a spring. It’s ex­pen­sive, but sparkling wa­ter is a good sub­sti­tute if you are try­ing to give up sug­ary aer­ated drinks be­cause it has the same fizz, but not the same calo­ries.

Still wa­ter

This is sim­ply pu­ri­fied wa­ter mi­nus the fizz, but it costs a bomb courtesy the way it’s been mar­keted.

Min­eral wa­ter

Tech­ni­cally, min­eral wa­ter is sup­posed to con­tain at least 250 parts per mil­lion of dis­solved min­er­als which must have al­ready been in the wa­ter when it was sourced. But many brands call their wa­ter min­eral wa­ter even though it isn’t.

Pu­ri­fied wa­ter

This is wa­ter that has been through dis­til­la­tion, or re­verse os­mo­sis, or fil­tra­tion. It is free of bac­te­ria and toxic solids, but lacks es­sen­tial min­er­als.

Vi­ta­min wa­ter

This is wa­ter with added vi­ta­mins and some sugar. How­ever, in some cases, the sugar level is very high.

Flavoured wa­ter

Pu­ri­fied wa­ter with ar­ti­fi­cial colour and flavour.

WHAT TO DO

Carry a good qual­ity, light­weight wa­ter bot­tle to fill at restaurants. In Europe and Amer­ica, the tap wa­ter is hy­gienic enough to drink. In In­dia, most restaurants will let you fill your wa­ter bot­tle pro­vided you are also eat­ing there. Wa­ter served on In­dian trains is tap wa­ter with mi­nor pro­cess­ing.

Bot­tled wa­ter is a big busi­ness plagued with un­scrupu­lous el­e­ments

THE FINE PRINT Know the kind of bot­tled wa­ter you are hav­ing be­fore

you pay for it

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