SU­SAN JOHN­SON

Wa­ter, wa­ter all around and far too much to drink H

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS -

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.

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