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  The Herman Trend Alert

January 10, 2018

Junk Water and How to Avoid It

For a couple of years now, our author, Joyce Gioia, has been disturbed by the increasing prevalence of what she calls "junk water". Finally, thanks to Quentin Fottrell and CBS Marketwatch, the research is now available to provide you with that long-sought information.

Water vs. soda consumption
According to the International Bottled Water Association, bottled water consumption has surged more than 2,700 percent in four decades. And last year, something unexpected happened: the consumption of bottled-water consumption in the United States (39.3 gallons eclipsed the consumption of carbonated soft drinks (38.5 gallons per capita). Finally, consumers in the US have realized what consumers worldwide have known for years: that bottled water is worth it---at least some of it is.

Junk water
Did you ever wonder why much of the bottled water now tastes so bad? According to Peter Gleick, a scientist and author of the book Bottled and Sold, it's because around 45 percent of water brands are simply bottled municipal water, i.e., tap water. The water may be "treated" through reverse osmosis, like Aquafina, or it may be adulterated with Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium, and Potassium (minerals or chemicals?), like Dasani, to hide the chlorine taste, but it is still tap water. So, what's the point in drinking bottled water? Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in the distribution of junk water, so read the label carefully to ensure that you are not drinking extra sodium, potassium, or magnesium that will just make you thirstier.

Enter "raw water"
Raw water comes direct from the spring and has lots of minerals. However, though it may look pure to the naked eye, insidious bacteria may be lurking. In fact, according to reports from the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, published last November, in the years 2013 and 2014 alone, 42 drinking water-associated outbreaks were reported, resulting in 124 hospitalizations and 13 deaths.

The next best thing
Something called "live water" is marginally better. Live water starts with raw water and uses filtering and disinfecting techniques to ensure safety. Live water has most of the advantages of raw water, without the danger. Their bottling facility is a sterile environment and the water is tested for harmful bacteria. Live water may also be transported and stored refrigerated to protect the present probiotics.

Sugary drinks are not the answer
One alternative to drinking bottled water is drinking soda and sugary drinks. However, their consumption has been linked to diabetes and heart disease. According to a landmark study from Tufts University, a huge number of adults die every year from diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses. This massive study analyzed the consumption patterns of more than half a million people over 30 years, across 51 countries.

Water, water everywhere
Although you may find bottled water available everywhere, the water that is available may not be worth drinking. We are seeing an increasing percentage of junk water (sometimes just tap water) being given to unsuspecting consumers, especially in some resorts and on most airlines---especially in the US. Both Delta and American Airlines serve Dasani on domestic flights, even in First Class.

What the future holds
Until people begin to become more conscious of exactly what they are drinking, we expect to see a growing percentage of bottled water in the junk water category. Those among us who are more discriminating will have more difficulty finding good-tasting, safe water to drink. As the gap widens between the "haves" and the "have-nots", there will be an increasing gap in the quality of water as well. Those who can afford it will pay a premium for good water; those who can't will buy what they can afford.

Special thanks to Quentin Fottrell and CBS Marketwatch for their great information on this topic.

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