Alkaline Water; Does it Live Up to the Hype?
If you have spoken to someone drinking water out of a large glass bottle, they have probably told you how amazing alkaline water is and that you have to try it.
When you ask if it tastes different, they respond “no,” but then proceed to tell you there are numerous health benefits anywhere from being more hydrating and giving you more energy all the way to curing cancer!
So is Alkaline water a new miracle drink or a just the latest fitness fad? As a nutritionist, I speak to people every day that tell me they know they should be drinking more water but fail for a variety of reasons. I usually don’t buy into most health trends but if having a ½ gallon of water just in front of you creates an environment where you are drinking more water throughout the day then I am all for it!
What is the significance of the pH level?
The difference between alkaline water and regular tap water from your sink is the pH value. pH values measure how acidic or alkaline something is. These values range from 0-14. A pH value of 7 is neutral with values of 0-6 being acidic and values of 8-14 being alkaline. Our blood has a pH of approximately 7.4, slightly alkaline while our stomachs have a pH of 1.5 to 3.5, acidic.
Alkaline water has a greater pH value ranging from 7.5 to 9.5. It can be made by adding electrolytes to water or passing water through a water ionizer. Our bodies are naturally designed to maintain the proper pH levels needed for optimum functioning but with the standard American diet there is belief that the foods we eat are contributing to our bodies being more acidic than normal.
Some preliminary research shows that Alkaline water is more hydrating that regular water, it can ease acid reflux, reduce body fat, support healthy bones and neutralize acid in the bloodstream. The claim that has shown the most scientific evidence of being true is relief of acid reflux. Researchers tested alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 and found it inactivated pepsin, a digestive enzyme that is one of the main causes in reflux disease. However, there hasn’t been enough research to scientifically back any of these claims.
So should I be drinking more Alkaline water?
Based on scientific evidence the answer is not very clear cut. However, you SHOULD be drinking more water! Our bodies are 60% water and drinking more of it is beneficial for everyone looking to improve their health. Drinking more water can increase your energy levels, keep your skin healthy, aid in digestion, help flush out toxins in your body, and help with weight loss. Often when you think you are hungry you a really just thirsty and substituting high calorie drinks with water is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to shed a few pounds.
The health claims for Alkaline water may still be inconclusive but drinking more water has been a health craze before there were health crazes. Keeping a large bottle of water near you to encourage you to drink more is a tip I give almost everyday. So walking around with a large glass bottle seems to be a fad that has real benefits; it is not just a new fitness accessory. Not only is it good for you to drink more water but to drink out of glass bottle has benefits in itself. Plastic bottles can contain many harmful chemicals such as BPA, phthalate, PVC, and polycarbonate. These chemicals and substances have the potential to leach into your water and make you sick. Glass is made from all natural, sustainable raw materials that is 100% recyclable. So not only is drinking out of glass better for your health but its better for the environment! Americans buy an estimated 29.8 billion plastic water bottles every year, and nearly 8 out of every 10 bottles will end up in a landfill. Once there, it takes over 500 years for plastic bottles to break down.
The bottom line: A big part of the hype surrounding alkaline water and its health benefits is simply the hydration factor. Staying hydrated makes you feel better, period. There may be some extra health benefits to drinking Alkaline water that haven’t been fully proven by research but drinking out of glass over plastic has been proven to be better for your health and better for the environment. So drink more water, drink out of glass, and stay hydrated!