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Is still water better than sparkling?

Is still water better than sparkling?

Not all waters are made equal! Susannah Hickling wades into an age-old debate: still or sparkling?

Tap water

Tap water is thirst quenching, contains no calories or sugar, and we’re always being advised to drink more of it. But how healthy is the H2O that comes into your home?

It’s treated and monitored to ensure quality and freedom from contaminants, but some UK water is likely to contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a family of around 5,000 “forever chemicals” used widely in packaging, non-stick products and other processes.

"How healthy is the H2O that comes into your home?"

Two have been linked to health problems, including cancer, thyroid issues and high cholesterol, and while water companies test for these, some of the others might well be harmful to health. Home filters won’t remove them, but under-sink reverse osmosis and two-stage filter systems are more effective. 

Still bottled water

Even with bottled water you might not be safe. Research has shown that water in plastic bottles contains higher levels of microplastics than tap water. Microplastics have been found to damage cells in the body and provoke allergic reactions. So avoiding plastic containers could be a good idea.

Bottled water - is still water healthier than sparkling?

Natural mineral and spring water must come from a recognised underground source. Mineral water has to be able to demonstrate its original purity, whereas spring water is allowed to undergo certain treatments to remove undesirable substances.  

Sparkling water

Some people prefer a few bubbles in their aqua. Sparkling mineral or spring water is naturally fizzy, whereas ordinary sparkling water—known as seltzer—has had carbon dioxide added and is unlikely to have the same mineral content.

"Some people prefer a few bubbles in their aqua"

Beneficial minerals include magnesium and calcium. Anything effervescent can cause burping and bloating, so fizzy water is best avoided if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also slightly more acidic than the still stuff, but if you don’t down too much, it’s unlikely to have a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. 

Flavoured waters

Delicious maybe, but some contain a lot of sugar. The citrus flavoured ones are also likely to be more acidic than other fruit flavours. To avoid damage to teeth, they might be best quaffed with a meal when saliva can help neutralise the acidity. 

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