Water, water all around and far too much to drink H
OW did our poor forebears survive without drinking bottles of pure artesian water from a mineral spring deep in an enchanted forest? And what of our country’s original peoples, finding water wherever they could, without resource to plastic bottles of Evian?
I know an elderly woman who finds it amusing to observe the current obsession with drinking gallons of bottled water. “The only water I like is in a cup of tea,” she says, “can’t stand the stuff.”
Most market research predicts the global bottled water market will be worth about $350 billion by 2021, after a 10 per cent year-on-year growth. In America, bottled water sales surpassed carbonated soft drinks to become the largest beverage category by volume in 2016.
Roy Morgan research from 2015 showed that 5.3 million Australians consumed bottled water in any given seven days. The year before, only 4.9 million drank it in the same period, indicating that consumption is on the rise here too.
Last year, Australian companies selling bottled water pocketed a whopping $700 million, despite a Choice magazine investigation the same year proving bottled water is no safer or healthier than tap water, with some water brands spruiking nonsense claims – oxygen-infused water! Boosts vitality, energy levels, endurance and mental focus!
This year, the World Health Organisation announced it would hold a review into the potential health problems arising from microplastics in bottled water, in the wake of a US study by non-profit organisation Orb Media, which showed a bottle of water can hold thousands of potentially hazardous microscopic plastic particles.
Experts are in general agreement that Australia has some of the world’s healthiest tap water.
But hey people – bottled or tap, is anyone asking just why are we drinking so much of it? Photographs of celebrities clutching giant flasks of water (style tip: Hydro Flask is the celeb flagon of choice) encourages only more punters to think constant hydration is critical to life.
The jury is out over the health value of drinking litres of water.
In a book co-written with Rachel Vreeman, Don’t Swallow Your Gum And Other Medical Myths Debunked, Aaron Carroll says the human body does a perfectly good job of regulating its water levels, extracting most of what it needs from food. Moreover, it actually takes an extreme event or serious illness for the body to become dehydrated.
The International Marathon Medical Directors Association issued a recommendation recently to exercisers to drink only when they were thirsty, and not to pre-empt dehydration – overhydrating has caused deaths in marathons when runners drink excessively.
It’s not rocket science – if your urine is dark yellow, drink more. The rules are simple – think of a plastic-bottle-free world.
And make like a camel.