It sustains us, cools us and keeps us smelling fresh. We bottle it, bathe with it and send it down the loo. Water, the giver of life and the flusher of poo. One would think we’d all have our facts straight about this essential commodity, but myths abound. Does drinking water keep your skin moist? Does limescale taste bad? And seriously, what’s the deal with bottled water?
How much water should I drink?
As a guide, the NHS recommends six to eight glasses of fluid a day, but other drinks count too. Water, lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, can all contribute to our daily intake, says the NHS’s Eatwell Guide – but limit fruit juice and smoothies to a combined total of 150ml a day. A good rule of thumb is to drink little and often, and to listen to your body by drinking when you’re thirsty – water is always a healthy option and should be your first choice.
Will drinking extra water keep your skin looking fresh?
While we don’t need to get as worked up about getting precisely eight glasses of pure water, shouldn’t we drink more so that our skin stays moist and wrinkle-free? This is one of the most common water myths around, but it doesn’t hold a lot of, er, water. Although there is evidence that dehydration can affect skin turgor – its ability to return to normal after you pinch it – drinking extra water doesn’t have the reverse effect of preventing wrinkles or adding moisture. But don’t let this stop you from getting your recommended daily dose. Even though there are no proven anti-wrinkle effects, staying adequately hydrated is never going to be a bad thing.
But is it possible to overhydrate?
A few years ago at a family event, Arun Marchand’s 85-year-old grandmother started to show signs of being unwell. “We called an ambulance and the diagnosis was she had low sodium. She was drinking too much liquid, in her case too much tea, which was washing sodium out of her body,” says Marchand.
Marchand’s nan thankfully recovered but it was a wake-up call for the family. Although rare, a condition called hyponatremia – having insufficient sodium in the blood – can develop as a result of excessive hydration. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that almost a sixth of marathon runners develop some degree of this condition and those who are elderly may have more contributing factors that could increase their risk. This is not something the average person needs to worry about, though.
Again, as a general rule, listen to your body, drink to your thirst and reach for the clear stuff over other drinks where possible.
Is bottled water better for you than tap?
“We are super lucky in this country that we have really safe tap water,” says Lucy Wakelin, senior brand manager at BRITA UK. So why do so many people drink bottled water at home? A new YouGov survey, commissioned by BRITA UK, recently found that pre-pandemic, 42% drank bottled water at home, although that number has reduced to 32% over lockdown.
“What we find is the [main] reason that people aren’t happy to drink tap water is because of the taste,” says Wakelin. “There’s a lot of taste-impairing substances that are found in our tap water that are harmless.”
Will filtering water make it taste better then?
As Wakelin emphasises, tap water in the UK is perfectly safe and healthy to drink, but due to mineral content and other things like chlorine, some people find the taste unpleasant. A water filter will very nicely solve this problem, and will also address the visually off-putting nature of hard water. You know that scum on the top of your fresh cup of tea? Although not harmful, it’s not exactly appetising. So although, according to Wakelin, limescale doesn’t have a taste, she recommends a water filter for anyone who lives in a hard water area and prefers their tea sans scum.
Is it true it takes more water to produce a bottle of water than that bottle contains?
Sadly, this point requires no mythbusting. Estimates put the water footprint of bottled water at about three times the volume of the water actually contained in the bottle. And the total carbon footprint isn’t any better. According to BRITA UK, the carbon footprint of a typical bottle of water is more than 25 times higher than that of a litre of filtered water.
Want to find out more and change the way you drink filtered water? To discover how a BRITA filter jug could help you in your quest to be more eco-friendly and ditch the single-use plastic, head to BRITA.co.uk