If you’ve always thought of water as a transparent, colourless and tasteless liquid, it’s time for a rethink! There are all kinds of variants of the humble water in the market.
They all claim to be full of health benefits, but beware before you follow the fad.
Here’s all you need to know about the various types of water.
Unlike regular water that has a pH level of about 7, alkaline water has a pH of about 8 or 9. It has got a slightly bitter taste to it and has recently gained popularity due its supposed multiple health benefits.
According to a study published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2016, alkaline water reduces the viscosity of blood thereby reducing blood pressure and risk of heart disease. Another study conducted in 2012 says that it nullifies conditions like acid reflux too.
But nutritionist Kavita Devgan warns that most of such studies have not been done extensively.
Rather than relying on randomized controlled trails, these are based on observation and logic.Kavita Devgan, Nutritionist
Kavita adds that on the surface, alkaline water might look to serve our health needs, but in actuality one does not know what problems their overuse might cause.
According to gastroenterologist Dr Ashwini Setya, drinking alkaline water alters the “Milieu interior” i.e. the inner environment of the body.
Alkaline water neutralizes the acid in our stomach. This acid is essential to kill any germs that reach our stomach through food. Hence, increased alkalinity ruptures our first line of defense.Dr Ashwini Setya, Gatroenterologist
Alkaline water interferes with our digestion process as well if taken in quantities much more than required.
Dr Setya adds, “The activation of pepsinogen into pepsin which ideally takes place in an acidic environment gets delayed or hampered because of the alkalinity.”
Carbonated water does not have carbonates in it like Colas. Rather, this water is made by passing carbon dioxide through water under pressure. This carbon dioxide when released from the water takes the form of bubbles or fizz and that is why this is also called sparkling water.
Dr Setya says that there are no overt health benefits of carbonated water.
Carbonated water only serves to make the water palatable because of the fizz.Dr Ashwini Setya, Gastroenterologist
He says that people wrongly believe that drinking sparkling water will curb their acidity problems because it makes them belch. “The carbon dioxide dissolved in the water gets accumulated in the body and is released in the form of a burp - and people subconsciously feel better,” adds Dr Setya.
It could lead to unpleasant stomach issues in some people who are sensitive. It can lead to conditions like bloating, flatulence and other gastrointestinal issues if it is had in excess.Dr Ashwini Setya, Gastroenterologist
Kavita Devgan says, “sparkling water has similar hydrating effects like regular water only that it is mildly expensive. It can serve as a comparatively healthier alternative for people who are addicted to carbonated drinks.”
Ortho Water and Para Water
Ortho water and Para water are a recent discovery. The two types of water are different from each other on an atomic level.
Dr. Setya says, “The two Hydrogen atoms joined to the Oxygen atom have a particular spin to them. Depending on the spins we classify them as ortho or para water. Both these forms are present in still water. And they can only be separated in the lab.”
There has been very limited research regarding both these kinds of water.
We do not know much about them now. But we will know more as more research will be done.Kavita Devgan, Nutritionist
Though water in itself is a detox agent, we are witnessing a current trend of adding detoxifying ingredients to water which increases the potency of water. Elements like mint, cucumber and fruits are put in the pitcher full of water. Water in that pitcher is then called ‘detox water’.
In the morning you put the fruits and vegetables in the water and then you drink it up till the afternoon.Dr Ashwini Setya, Gastroenterologist
It is good especially for anyone who does not like the taste of ordinary water.
Rather than drinking energy drinks or flavored sodas, it is better to drink detox water as it not only has taste but also cleanses our system from within.Kavita Devgan, Nutritionist
The normal tap water which is not carbonated and is not alkaline is called ‘still water’. This water before it becomes portable (drinkable) has to be filtered. Filtering is done through either RO ( reverse osmosis) or through UV ( ultra violet) filter.
Though filtered water is considered the safest and purest to drink but one thing to consider first is the state of raw water that we have. There is only so much that the filter can filter out.
Though RO does well to keep the pathogens away from the water but it also retains some of the very essential trace elements that are necessary for our body.Dr Ashwini Setya, Gastroenterologist
(Have you subscribed to FIT’s newsletter yet? Click here and get health updates directly in your inbox.)