Is Smartwater Good for You? Smartwater vs Other Beverages

Smartwater
Credit: Flickr/flickr.com/photos/arcticproductions/

Health-conscious people usually prefer packaged water. Smartwater is a type of packaged water with a “smart” title to attract customers. Does adding the word “smart” to plain tap water and packaging it in attractive bottles mean the water is healthy and safe? Is Smartwater good for you? Keep reading to find out the answers.

Is Smartwater Good for You?

Shane Cink, a personal trainer, says hydration is the key to getting a good workout. He feels that drinking Smartwater helps those in fitness training take less water breaks than those that drink regular tap water. Dr. Rachel Franklin said, “If someone is truly exercising two, three, four hours out in the heat, they’re sweating profusely, they will often need added electrolytes that help keep their heart beating properly. This would not be a good substitute for a marathoner in the middle of a marathon.” She also said that this product is basically water, and drinking water isn’t bad, but it also doesn’t have any magical powers.

When distilled water was popular among people, Paavo Airola, a nutritionist and naturopathic doctor, had written about the dangers of distilled water. “Distilled water is totally devoid of all minerals, and prolonged use of it may leach out the body’s own mineral reserves and lead to severe mineral deficiencies and such diseases as osteoporosis, diabetes, tooth decay and heart disease.”

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Electrolytes are chemical compounds that include magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium, and chloride. Magnesium chloride tastes bitter, calcium chloride tastes extremely salty, and potassium bicarbonate tastes alkaline. So, how many electrolytes are in Smartwater? Smartwater isn’t at all that salty, which means that there aren’t enough electrolytes present to make a significant medical difference to the consumer. Although the company claims to have added electrolytes, they are present in such small amounts, that they do no good.

Furthermore, this distilled water is packed in plastic bottles that have chemicals such as  BPA (bisphenol-A) and phthalates. When exposed to heat or sunlight, the plastic bottles release these chemicals into the water. BPA can cause major health issues. It can damage your brain and cause change in gender-specific behavior, because phthalates mimic hormones in the body.

What Is Smartwater?

Smartwater is produced by Glaceau, a brand of bottled water. Glaceau is a privately-owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company that also makes Vitaminwater. J. Darius Bikoff founded this vapor-distilled and electrolyte-enhanced water in May 1996. It is approved by the FDA’s guidelines for bottled water.

Smartwater was designed to bridge the gap between water and soft drinks. People are aware of the benefits of water, but may not drink much of it. Soft drinks have a better taste, but they also have more calories than water. Smartwater is a better way to keep hydrated instead of consuming soft drinks that are loaded with calories.

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What Is the pH of Smartwater?

Is Smartwater alkaline? Smartwater has a pH of 6.97, which makes it slightly acidic. It is free of calories and doesn’t contain any sodium.

Smartwater is actually tap water that has been vapor-distilled. It then goes through a filtration process that removes all the impurities. The liquid is run through charcoal—where it is stripped of contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, and metals like arsenic, lead, aluminum, and mercury—and then disinfected.

Electrolytes such as calcium chloride, potassium bicarbonate, and magnesium chloride are then added to the water to enhance the taste. Calcium chloride is used as an electrolyte in many other bottled water beverages and sports drinks. Magnesium chloride is also an essential nutrient and used in many bottled beverages as well. Potassium bicarbonate is used specifically as a taste enhancer. Smartwater doesn’t include ingredients sourced from genetically engineered (GE) crops, thus it is a non-GMO product.

Smartwater vs Gatorade

Gatorade is designed specifically for athletes to replace the loss of fluids and electrolytes. It contains 440 milligrams of sodium and 120 milligrams of potassium per liter. An eight-ounce serving contains 63 calories and 16 grams of carbohydrates.

Related: Is Gatorade Good for You?

Gatorade also contains sodium, potassium, phosphorous, and many other vital vitamins and minerals. One liter of Smartwater contains 10 milligrams of potassium, 10 milligrams of calcium, and 15 milligrams of magnesium. Smartwater is not a source of electrolyte replacement like Gatorade. If your aim is to just stay hydrated, then go for Smartwater. However, if you want to replace electrolyte loss after intense activity and sweating, you should have Gatorade.

Smartwater vs Tap Water

If Smartwater is sourced from tap water, then is Smartwater good for you? Unfortunately, there isn’t any scientific evidence stating that Smartwater is superior to tap water or bottled water. In fact, many sites claim that it has less electrolytes than tap water.  Tap water has fluoride which benefits the teeth and gums.

Smartwater is convenient over tap water for long-term storage, exercise buffs, accident-prone bedsides, and portability. If you have a weak immune system, or are worried about drinking tap water, then you can opt for Smartwater. Smartwater may help keep you hydrated throughout the day.

If you feel Smartwater is good for you, and better than tap water or Gatorade, then you have fallen prey to marketing gimmicks. To find the best source for hydration, you must consider all the body’s needs. Smartwater isn’t any special kind of water that will boost your immune system, or provide you with all the essential vitamins and minerals that regular water won’t.


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Sources:

“Energy Brands,” Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Brands, last accessed March 17, 2017.

“What Makes ‘Smartwater’ Different Than Tap Water?” WCVB, April 27, 2009; http://www.wcvb.com/article/what-makes-smartwater-different-than-tap-water/8152962.