(Diet Review) Alkaline water is a thing, but it shouldn’t be. This is why.
The claims about alkaline water, (or ionized water) are vast: it can lengthen your life, detoxify you, create a healthier world, and provide you with antioxidants.
But can a special water really do those things? I’m seeing alkaline water sold all over the place, so I think I need to get to the bottom of this!
What is alkaline water?
When something is alkaline, this means that it has a pH greater than 7, and is ‘capable of neutralizing an acid’. The pH scale goes from 0 (extremely acidic) to 14 (extremely basic). Just for your information, the pH of human blood is 7.4, and is tightly regulated by our kidneys, lungs, and buffer system. If one of these things isn’t working, you’ll need a hospital, not a bottle of ‘special’ water.
The pH of normal tap water needs to be between 6.5 and 8.5 to satisfy the EPA’s standards for drinking water.
Some of the alkaline waters on the market are advertised as having a pH of 9+, meaning they’re very basic or in other words, alkaline. To get to this level of alkalinity, manufacturers add minerals, or they source the water from artesian wells, which apparently produce water containing calcium carbonate and other minerals like potassium and magnesium from the limestone surrounding the well. This supposedly increases the water’s pH levels, making it magical and woo woo wonderful.
Ionized water is another form of water that’s being sold – either as ionized, alkaline water or on its own. Might as well kill two birds with one stone and review them both here!
Water is ‘ionized’ by running it over electrodes which supposedly ‘realign’ its oxygen and hydrogen ions. This supposedly (I’m already using that word a lot..hmm) creates water with health benefits. Interesting.
I mean, I’m really so tired of companies trying to convince consumers to buy their product by creating some sort of health halo around it. It makes me want to barf when I read crap like this sentence on a local alkaline water brand’s site:
“When you drink water that’s sourced with pure intention, packaged with purpose, and keeps impacts to a minimum those good vibes are a power punch of positivity you radiate out.”
Let’s get a few things straight here.
- Are they saying that city water from the tap isn’t sourced with good intention? Because they’re the ones who are earning money from this drivel, not our local water company.
- Does tap water that you put into a glass or a reusable bottle impact the environment MORE than this company’s water that’s sold in tetra packs that still need to be manufactured (and disposed of) somewhere?
- Is a product really going to give me good vibes that make me radiate positivity? Idiocy.
- Is anyone falling for this complete and utter bullshit?
Other claims from ionized and alkaline water companies include:
(Our water) Is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals – which may cause damage to our cells, allowing degenerative diseases to occur. Ionized water provides a similar effect to some of the most powerful antioxidants available.
(Our water) Is full of oxygen. As water is ionized, it provides a rich source of extra oxygen to your cells – almost double the amount in tap or bottled water. Higher oxygenation = more energy.
(Our water) Is up to 6 times more hydrating than regular water. The size and shape of the ionized water molecule cluster is reduced, which allows it to pass through your tissues more easily. Drinking ionized water avoids a primary cause of disease – chronic cellular dehydration.
(Our water) Is detoxifying. Ionized water clusters pass through the body’s tissues more easily, therein flushing your system of toxins and acid waste.
(Our water) Helps balance the body’s pH. A typical diet of cooked, pasteurized and processed foods leads to acidic pH. This acidic condition creates an ideal environment for diseases to thrive. Hydrate alkaline water helps bring your body’s pH back into balance.
Those are quite the claims! Wow! Even more hydrating than tap water? I’m sold! Except no, I’m not…it looks like someone needs to go back to science class, and that person is NOT me.
Let’s debunk these one by one, so you can see what utterly meaningless claims these companies are getting away with just to sell you product that’s absolutely not anything special.
- Their alkaline water is an antioxidant due to the ions in it? Theoretically the company is adding some oxygen or shifting ions around to neutralize some of the acidic hydrogen ions in the water, but this doesn’t create antioxidant water. This claim also contains a scare tactic (degenerative diseases!!) warning us against the dangers of free radicals. The truth is that living causes free radicals, and yes – sun and pollution exposure may increase these free radicals that have been linked to disease and aging, but cleaving hydrogen ions out of your water isn’t going to help that.
- The molecular structure of water is H2O. That means that at its very simplest, water is comprised of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule. The oxygen that you consume in your water is not going into your cells and giving you energy. I think someone’s confused, because you oxygenate your cells by BREATHING, not by drinking. If there was that much oxygen in your water, you’d be able to breathe underwater….like a fish. Idiotic.
- Ridiculous. First of all, this hasn’t ever been proven, nor do I believe it’s a legit claim. Water molecules aren’t being held up at your body’s cell walls because the molecules are too large. Water is absorbed by your body through osmosis, which is regulated by sodium levels. It’s absorbed into the cells through the cell membrane, as well as through the junctions between the cells. It has nothing to do with the size or shape of the water molecules, because water is water. Even though ionized water is in smaller molecule ‘clusters’, this has nothing to do with absorption. If this was the case, don’t you think everyone’s water would be ionized? That they’d be using ionized water in hospitals to treat dehydration? It’s a simple process to ionize water; there’s a reason why it’s not being used everywhere. That reason is because it’s not better than regular water. And “chronic cellular dehydration?” That is NOT happening because you’re drinking tap water; it’s from not drinking at all or due to certain diseases. Dehydration doesn’t cause disease. Another lame scare tactic.
- Bullshit. Come on, really? You have organs that do this for you, and again – if these organs (your liver and kidneys) aren’t working, you’ll need a doctor, not water.
- Ah, this claim again. I wrote an entire blog post on the acid/alkaline theory, but let me break the entire post down for you: the body’s pH is, as I said above, tightly controlled by your kidneys, lungs, and buffer system. You will DIE if these aren’t working. Nothing you eat affects the pH of your body AT. ALL. Nothing. The pH of your food is meaningless in terms of its effects on your health, and claiming anything different is making a mockery of basic physiology. Read my blog post on this for amplification of this assertion.
I seriously can’t believe that companies and ‘health professionals’ (although fringe) are actually getting away with making the claims they’re making about alkaline and ionized water. The entire premise is unproven, unresearched, and outrageous, and I think that out of all of the crazy stuff I’ve reviewed, this is one of the worst examples of nonsensical claims that companies make just to convince you to spend your money on their product. My blood is seriously boiling right now because I can’t understand how they do this in good faith. It’s not okay. None of this is okay.
DO NOT fall for this ridiculous fad!! There is nothing special about alkaline (or ionized, for that matter) water. Tap water in developed countries is safe and cheap, and if you care about the earth, use a reusable water bottle. Tetra packs are still packaging. Sigh.