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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Eating Well


Make water the drink of choice

Karma Metzgar, C.F.C.S., regional director, Northwest Region, University of Missouri Extension


Trying to eliminate carbonated beverages from your diet can be a challenge. Soda seems to be readily available everywhere - box lunches on field trips come with soda, lemonade in some fountain machines are mixed with carbonated water, and punch served at receptions has fizz.

What type of beverage is a better choice? Water. More places are now offering bottled water as a healthy beverage option. Here is information to decipher what the labels on bottled waters mean.

The Food and Drug administration says that bottled water must be safe, sanitary and meet the same standards for contaminants as municipal tap water.

Bottled water is often tap water that has been filtered. In fact, estimates from the industry are that a quarter of all bottled water is simply tap water. Under current U.S. law, once water is purified (filtered) you don’t have to be told where it came from.

Most bottled water does come from springs or wells and is quite pure, but those sources can be inspected less often than municipal water supplies. Since most bottled water is not chlorinated, once it is open it is susceptible to bacterial contamination. This is particularly true if you carry it around at room temperature and sip directly from the bottle. If you finish the bottle in a day there is no concern, but if you keep a bottle for a few days (or reuse the bottle without sanitizing), there is a real possibility of bacterial growth.

Here are some definitions of types of water if you choose to purchase bottled water.


  • Natural water is water that is not derived from a municipal system or public supply and has not been modified by the addition or deletion of any minerals.

  • Artesian water or artesian well water is water from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

  • Spring water flows out of the earth on its own at a particular spot and is bottled at or near its source. It is unmodified by the addition or deletion of minerals (if its bottler is a member of the International Bottled Water Association).

  • Purified water, also known as distilled (vaporized and recondensed) water, is completely demineralized. It has what is often called a flat taste that many people consider objectionable.

  • Mineral water, technically speaking, is any water that is not distilled, but to the International Bottled Water Association, it’s water that contains not less than 50 parts per million total dissolved solids. The more solids, or minerals, the stronger the water’s taste.


Water is so important in a diet that one can live longer without food than one can live without water. Toast yourself each day with eight cups of refreshing, calorie-free, thirst quenching and satisfying water.



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Last update: Monday, March 08, 2010