Water: Sorting Through the Many Types

Confused about the many different kinds of water? This article will summarize the many choices available to you as a consumer.

Purified water

Purified water is usually nothing more than water that is either distilled or treated to remove impurities (contaminants and minerals). Different treatments are used to produce purified water, including charcoal filtering, reverse osmosis, and deionization. Dasani® and Aquafina® bottled water are nothing more than this. The water can come from wells, springs, or the public drinking supply.

Spring water

Spring water comes from underground and naturally flows to the surface of the ground. Spring water is collected only at the spring or through a borehole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring.

Mineral water

Mineral water contains not less than 250 parts per million of total dissolved mineral solids, such as calcium and magnesium. The manufacturer cannot add the minerals to the water; the minerals must occur naturally. Mineral water must originate from a protected underground water source.

Sparkling water

Sparkling water contains naturally occurring or added carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide produces effervescence and increases mouth feel.

Distilled water

Distilled water is created when water is boiled until vapor is created. The vapor is collected and then cooled until it returns to a liquid state. Distillation removes bacteria, viruses, cysts, heavy metals, and other particulates. To remove all of the bacteria, etc., it is necessary to combine distillation with carbon filtration.

The myth that distilled water leaches minerals from the body is pure fiction. Distilled water will pick up the taste of the plastic that it is stored in. It is best stored in glass bottles. Distilled water is most often used for pharmaceutical purposes.

Seltzer water

Classified as a soft drink, seltzer water is flavorless water with induced carbonation. You can consume it plain or use it as a mixer for alcoholic drinks and soda-fountain confections.

Tonic water

Classified as a soft drink, tonic water is flavored with quinine and infused with carbon dioxide to create effervescence. Quinine is a bitter alkaloid obtained from the cinchona tree, which is native to the Andes Mountains and also grown in Southeast Asia and India.

Flavored water

Added flavors, extracts, essences, or fruit juice concentrates derived from spices or fruits must comprise less than 1%, by weight, of the final product. No sweeteners or other additives are allowed. Carbon dioxide often is used to create effervescence.

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