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Bottled water can be harmful too! Know it before you buy it

Shikha Sharma writes on how bottled water is a big business plagued with unscrupulous elements

brunch Updated: Jun 12, 2016 13:34 IST
Bottled water

Tests have proved that many brands of bottled water cheat us via their labels.(Shutterstock)

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.

Know the kind of bottled water you’re having before you pay for it. (Shutterstock)

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.

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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.

From HT Brunch, June 12, 2016

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