Just because other people are drinking the water, doesn't mean it's safe for you.
A couple months ago I wrote an article called "How Do I Determine Whether Something is Fake News?" That article was my perspective on news as a whole and it was more philosophical in nature. Today, I want to take the same subject from an angle that I have studied all my life; water.
Yes, there is TONS of fake news about water. Most of this misinformation is unintentional and is written by people who don't know any better, but much of it is intentional. Water quality is absolutely fundamental to your health, so I think it's important that you know the truth...
First of all, I need to start out with this observation; most people know squat about water. This includes many people who should know better, including doctors and even alternative doctors and nutritionists.
One of the things that I like to do is what I call the Barnes & Noble Experiment. Every time I go to Barnes & Noble I go to the nutrition and health section, which is quite large. There are countless books about healthy eating, nutrition, weight loss, and even specialty books on the benefits of garlic, or iodine, etc. I flip through the index of these books to see what they say about water. After all, water is the foundation of life itself, so nutrition books should cover it extensively, right?
Wrong. More than half of the books say NOTHING at all about water. Of the remaining books, most just talk about the quantity of water that you should drink and they say nothing about the quality of water. The few books that do talk about the quality of water often get it wrong!
The fact is that there are very few people, even those who should know better, who know much about water. This sounds like an astonishing thing to say. How can it be?
WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF MISINFORMATION?
THE FIRST, and most significant source of misinformation, I believe, is the government. The government tells you that your tap water is safe to drink, but what they don’t tell you is that when they use the word “safe”, they are referring to the legal definition of the word safe and not the English language definition of the word “safe”. So when they say that our water is “safe”, you and I hear that it is free from harmful contaminants, but this is NOT what they are saying. In fact, there are a number of cities across the US that have high levels of dangerous, or potentially dangerous contaminants in the water.
THE SECOND biggest culprit is people with agendas. For example, environmentalists don't want you using plastic bottles, so they tell you that your tap water is safe to drink. This is not necessarily true and it's an irresponsible claim to make. Filter salespersons will tell you that their product "removes the bad but keeps the good stuff in the water", impossible. And others will tell you that they've invented a patented device that organizes, clusters, harmonizes, super oxygenates or alkalizes the water (buyer beware).
THE THIRD culprit is simply misinformed people who spread misinformation in their ignorance. Like I said earlier, this unfortunately includes many people who should know better and it even includes many nutrition books. This spread of misinformation happens at light speed now on social media.
SO HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST ABOUT WATER?
This is actually harder to answer than it should be. I would like to say that we should just trust scientists, but from my experience scientists are often extremely specialized, and many don’t look at the whole picture. Also from my experience, many doctors and nutritionists don’t understand water very well.
Of course, these are just blanket statements. There are a number of scientists, doctors, nutritionists and water treatment professionals who do know what they are talking about (For example, Dr. Andrew Weil). So this brings us back to the question, “how do you know who to trust about water?”
The easiest way to determine if someone knows what they are talking about is to focus on A FEW CORE PRINCIPLES.
1) The first point is that PURITY IS PRIORITY #1. Anyone who knows about water will know that the cleanliness of drinking water is the most important factor. The fact is that we live in a toxic world and there have been countless cases of dangerous water contamination in many parts of the US. In addition, neither you nor the government knows full story of what's in your water at any given time. These are facts (real facts) that any scientist will know. So, if someone spouts off about the alkalinity of water, or the minerals in water, or the structure of water, or the frequency of water as being the most important thing, then don’t listen to them. They are wrong and they are either misinformed or intentionally lying. I’m not dismissing any of these other points necessarily, but they are all a lower priority than purity.
2) The second point is that THERE IS NOTHING MYSTICAL OR MAGICAL ABOUT WATER. Yes, water is the foundation of life itself and quality and quantity of water are integral to your health, but there is nothing magical about water. Nor is water alive, although it is a requirement for life. There are some fantastic salespersons out there that can spin an amazing tale about anything, and water seems to be a prime candidate for scams.
3) The third point is that YOU DON’T GET YOUR MINERALS FROM WATER. If someone says that you need the minerals in your water, they don’t know what they should know about water. We (and all animals) get our minerals from the plants that we eat or from meat from animals that have consumed plants. Not only are the minerals that we get from water not in a bioavailable form that our body can use, but we would have to drink a bathtub full of water every day to get our daily recommended allowance. In addition to this, there is no way to selectively purify water, which goes back to our first point that purity is the number one priority. If you still want minerals in your water, squeeze a lemon into your water before you drink it.
4) The fourth point is that PURE WATER IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN AND NEWBORNS. When my son was born, our pediatrician told us that it’s fine to use tap water to make formula with. This is a ridiculous statement. Even municipal water supplies tell people that newborns should not drink tap water. The fact is that children are much more sensitive to toxins that can be in water for a number of reasons that I will get into in a future article. If the person does not recognize the special importance of pure, safe water for children, then don’t listen to them. This is also true for people with compromised immune systems.
5) The fifth point is that PURE WATER IS NOT BAD FOR YOU. One of the most ridiculous myths about water is that pure water, such as distilled water, is bad for you. I could go on forever with this point. First of all, there is no such thing as “distilled” water, there is simply water with different degrees of purity (the word “distilled” simply refers to the process that was used to purify it). Second, there is no such thing as pure water in your body. As soon as pure water touches your tongue it is not pure anymore. Third, pure water does not “leach” minerals out of your body. “Leaching” is a geological term, not a biological term. Also, one of the key functions of water in your body is to transport toxins from each cell out of your body. This is a fantastic function of water, and it works even better when the water that enters your body doesn’t add extra toxins to your body that your body then has to work to get rid of.F
I hope this article helps you simplify a subject that should be simple, but it has become complicated just because of misinformation. If you want recommendations on what steps you should take, read this article that I wrote recently.
If you have questions, please put them in the comments.