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Bottled Water

Friday, 31 October 2008 | Tags:

We discovered that there are many differences among bottled water brands, including taste, ingredients, and manufacturing processes.

 The Basics

  • For a simple thing like water, there are many types to choose from:
  • Spring or Mineral: comes from an underground source.

  • Artesian: is similar to spring and mineral water but comes from an even deeper underground source and doesn’t make contact with surface air.

  • Demineralized: tap water put through a process that removes minerals from the water.

  • Distilled/Purified: tap water that has gone through a cleaning process.

  • Carbonated: usually tap water that has been carbonated (the bubbly stuff!)

  • Glacier: comes from a natural source and has mineral content. Basically the same as spring water.

  • Ozoneated: after being purified / distilled, it goes through a process of ozonation, which sterilizes it.

  • O3-infused: the chemical O3 is added; a third molecule of oxygen.

  • Fluoridated: has naturally occurring fluoride, or it has been added by the manufacturer.

  • Flavoured: contain artificial sweeteners that can also add calories; also check out the sodium content – one bottle can contain 130 mg of sodium which is more than 5% of your recommended daily intake.

  • Vitamin-enhanced: have added vitamins, but don’t count them for all your necessary nutrients.

Other Considerations

  • Drink up! Your body is 70% water and you should try to consume 2 litres per day. Sorry gang – coffee, tea and the like don’t count!

  • A restaurant’s typical mark up on wine is 100-150%, but on bottled water it’s often 300-500%!

  • Choose a brand that belongs to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), an industry group that requires its members to meet strict standards.

  • NSF International certification on the label is a good sign, too; NSF performs additional testing and inspects bottled water plants annually.

  • All water has a best-before date. Experts recommend bottled water should be consumed within a year.

  • Store your water in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate if possible. Keep out of the sun.

 

TEST CRITERIA

After a 12km walk with a group of fitness enthusiasts, we invited everyone to test 6 types of bottled water for our series The Shopping Bags:

  • Aquafina (treated tap water): 80¢ per 591 ml
  • Dasani (treated tap water): $1.19 per 591 ml
  • Volvic (spring water): $1.29 per 500 ml
  • Evian (spring water): $1.59 per 500 ml
  • Voss (artesian water): $2.99 per 375 ml

Our specific tests and results included:

Taste Test

  • Voss left a distinct metallic aftertaste that none of us enjoyed.

  • Evian (the top-selling still water in the world) was a good sipping water, but not something we’d choose to chug to get re-hydrated and refreshed.

  • Aquafina has the mineral content removed; Dasani does the opposite and has small amounts of minerals such as sodium added for a tailor-made taste. Whether it’s that process that made the difference or something else, Dasani tasted better.

OUR TOP PICK

According to all of our testers, Dasani ranked as the cleanest, crispest choice for hydration and refreshment. Be sure to recycle your bottles!

Thanks to Our Experts

Dr. John Blatherwick, Chief Medical Health Officer for Vancouver, BC

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