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Nutrition Glossary

Water Wars: Distilled, Purified, Or Tap?

9 months ago

8207  0
Posted on Aug 22, 2023, 9 p.m.

Do you have a water preference, or do you think water is just water? A trip to any grocery store or convenience shop will show you many different brands, but one of the things people are seeing on labels seems to be throwing them off: distilled water. 

Distilled water has entered the arena. Although it is far from new, lately it has been gaining more attention. Much like everything else, a quick search will provide you with claims from different sides of the arena, ranging from good to bad. Some claims may be true, but a lot of them are anything but true, such as saying that distilled water alone can detoxify the human body. But everything you see on the internet is true, right, absolutely not, contrary to what some people (including certain “sensors”) would have you believe. 

The short story of distilled water is that it is water that gets distilled in a process that starts off with boiling it until it evaporates into steam within a boiling chamber. Steam escapes through a vent into a condenser leaving behind minerals, microorganisms, and contaminants. The steam condenses and once in the condenser it is fan chilled turning it back into water droplets. Before the process is complete, the water goes through filtration to remove any remaining impurities before dripping into containers to become ready for consumption.

So, for those of you that are afraid to drink distilled water, hopefully, this explains to you that there is nothing wrong with the water as the distillation process removes all of the bad stuff. However, in the process, the water is also stripped of some good things, like the essential minerals magnesium and calcium. This also highlights that something labeled as being “purer” does not necessarily mean that it is always better. 

Personally, I am not a fan of distilled water because it has a bland “off” taste due to the intensive distilling process it passes through before reaching your taste buds. But it is worth noting that some people actually prefer the taste of distilled water because not everyone will like or dislike the same things. Depending on where you live distilled water may be a better choice compared to tap water such as those in areas struggling with contaminated water. 

Unfortunately, some neighborhood systems and city water systems may be heavily contaminated with unhealthy chemicals, making it not worth the risk to get the minerals you need from tap water. Fortunately, in these cases, most of the minerals you need can be obtained through your diet, meaning drinking distilled water is a better option when tap water is questionable. 

While there really isn’t anything wrong with drinking distilled water there is also nothing about it that makes it overtly beneficial. For those that are drinking it exclusively, make sure that you are also eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to make up for the good stuff like minerals and electrolytes that have been removed from that water. You can even purchase electrolytes to add to your distilled water to re-mineralize it, which often contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sometimes zinc. 

To those that claim it is better for your health, if anything, it is truthfully less healthy once you consider that it has been stripped of all its nutrients and electrolytes during the filtering process. Keep in mind that an electrolyte deficiency can lead to health concerns like an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure. 

Distilled water is a form of but is not the same as purified water. Distilled water has had everything removed in the filtering process, while purified water could still have some traces of minerals within it. There really isn’t anything wrong with solely drinking purified water either, some may even say it is a better option than distilled water due to it possibly having some minerals in it. For those solely drinking purified water make sure that you are eating enough fruits and vegetables to make up for what has been removed from the water in the filtering process. 

Please remember that just because something is labeled as being pure does not necessarily mean that it is the healthier option, as in the case of the distilling process removing all the bad as well as good from the water. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be afraid of drinking distilled or purified water. On the same note don’t believe those far-fetched claims of it being the cure-all to your ailments or it being able to detox your body. The names simply refer to the process the water undergoes before reaching you. 

Interestingly enough a radio show I listened to did a blind taste test comparing distilled, purified, and tap water that I tried for myself. My results were the same, I could differently tell the difference between all of the waters, even when cold or at room temperature. I live in Vegas where tap water is less than desirable, to say the least, and I have always preferred purified water myself, as it does not have that “odd” taste that distilled water has, but I also love snacking on a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, so I’m not missing out on anything the water may be missing. I’ll take a bowl of berries or a platter of veggies over a bag of chips, donuts, cookies, or a slice of pizza any day, but I guess that I’m weird like that, and I’m fine with being weird. (I also like to add slices of citrus fruit to my water, or some mint and cucumber. Who says that water has to be boring??)

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

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