More than 50% of our body is water, and we all know that drinking it is essential to keep us healthy and energetic. It is clear that we have to take it, but since we are not in the Bronze Age, we no longer have a spring of crystal clear waters next to the cave. Civilization brings it home by artificial means and makes us consider the entrance, whether it is better to choose it bottled or directly from the tap.
And if we stretch the thread, we can ask ourselves many more things, as if we should use filters on the tap, if the plastic bottles are healthy, if the dust that can fall into the glasses with water is harmful, if the sun should touch the containers that contain it.
The experts give the answers, which is why here we will discriminate between an urban legend and what is scientific, asking those who know the most. Here are the 10 most frequent mistakes we can make with water, containers and faucets as protagonists.
The 10 mistakes you make with water (bottled or tap)
1. To think that the tap is less healthy
“There is no doubt. All water for human consumption of the public network is drinkable and therefore healthy, the legislation demands it”, replies Jordi Oliver-Rodés, general manager of the dr. Oliver Rodés laboratory is dedicated to the chemical and microbiological analysis of water and is a reference in Spain since 1902.
All water for the public network’s human network is drinkable and therefore healthy; the legislation requires it.
“Another thing is to be clear that tap water and natural mineral water are different products that the consumer chooses based on their tastes or needs,” he says. Natural mineral water is originally suitable for consumption and does not need to be treated, as is the case with tap water. On the other hand, “natural ore always has the same chemical composition and minerals, buy the bottle in Barcelona or the Canary Islands. For example, if you compare the analysis made by my great-grandfather of Vichy Catalán in 1904 with a current one, you see that it is identical,” says Oliver-Rodés.
In contrast,” the tap can come from reservoirs, rivers and wells, and varies according to the weather, by contact with the minerals it finds in its path, (for example, if it circulates on saline land), and according to the needs of the water company that distributes it”.
2. Refill plastic bottles over and over again
Plastic bottles are designed to be used only once, so it is not advisable to refill them. If we buy 5-litre containers and fill the same small plastic bottles over and over again for convenience, there is continuous handling “, and therefore the risk of contamination of microorganisms grows,” explains Dr Antoni Borrell, head of packaged water in Dr Oliver Rodés laboratories.
And if we fill them with chlorinated water, “this could attack the container, and there is some migration of the compounds that form the plastic to the liquid”, apostille. But don’t be alarmed. “It’s just a matter of caution worth following.”
3. Leave the bottle out of the fridge with the plug open
It is not advisable to leave bottles out of the fridge with the plug open “because dust or particles containing microorganisms, bacteria or fungi that are in the house’s environment may enter”, says Borrell. They could even breed in the bottle, especially if the bottle is from a sugary drink. Inside the fridge does not happen “because low temperatures slow the growth of microorganisms.
For the same reason, it is not advisable to drink the glass of water that we filled the night before (“since the mouth is bigger we can sneak up to a fly”, laughs Oliver-Rodés), although in both cases we should not be alarmed much less because it is a matter of caution.
4. Don’t take care of tap filters
For water analysis experts, placing filters on the home faucet or in a jug to purify water, “it is as valid an option as not doing so”, but if you opt for this system, “the filters we have placed must be properly maintained, as recommended by the manufacturer,” says Oliver-Rodés.
If we do not follow the directions, the filter can focus on contamination and lose effectiveness. For sommelier Meritxell Falgueras, in terms of taste, filtered water obviously “loses nuances and personality.”
5. Place bottles in certain places or soils
If we’re watching TV and we leave our bottle of water on the ground, everything’s fine. But if the floor we’re talking about is that of a supermarket and it’s wet, the bottles placed on top will catch the humidity’s taste.
“Plastic is a liquid-friendly material but permeable to odours, and in the case of water bottles, the layer of material is skinny,” says Antoni Borrell. If you place the bottle next to a gas pump, you can also take its smell, which is not the case with glass, completely waterproof.
“In water tastings, glass is used because it does not interfere at all with taste,” notes Falgueras, author of the book What to Drink When You Don’t Drink (Uranus).
6. Leave the bottle next to a heat source
The chemicals are clear that it is not the same for a run with a bottle of water that the sun gives intermittently and only for a little while than to place the same bottle hours and hours next to a strong and constant heat source.
All bottles that have passed the relevant controls for food use are valid.
“Doesn’t anyone think of leaving the cooked ham inside the car parked in full sun? Well, with water, it happens the same,” says Jordi Oliver-Rodés, who warns of the possible alteration and migration of plastic components that can go to the water.
For the same reason, you should avoid storing water in a store next to a powerful engine, such as a freezer. On the other hand, if we talk about drinking hot water, for example, directly from the tap, the expert does not see any problems as long as we obviously do not get afraid. For the Falgueras sommelier, the ideal water tasting temperature is 10 – 12 degrees Celsius.
7. Overwhelm yourself by choosing the material from the bottle
In the face of doubt, whether it is better to use a plastic, silicone or aluminium bottle to drink water, for example, in the gym, packaged water expert Antoni Borrell responds that “all bottles that have passed the relevant controls for food use are valid, whatever material they are”. Even plastic bottles of different colours.
I mean, we have to make sure they’re not fraudulently manufactured. “When we talk about quality waters that are sold as luxury water, it is common for the packaging to be glass, with designs thought that are sometimes even collector’s,” Falgueras says.
8. Drinking tap water in countries with poor health control
It seems a no-brainer, but it is unnecessary to repeat that it is not advisable to drink tap water in countries where there are doubts that water from the public network is not treated correctly.
“Natural mineral water bottled in this case is the one that gives us guarantees of health,” says Oliver-Rodés. At the same time, Meritxell Falgueras recalls that tradition says it brings bad luck to provide water with water “because in the Middle Ages, water could be contaminated and many people would get sick and died when they ingested it.”
Fortunately, now everything has been left in superstition. “Although my father always said that cava, what he carries most is water!” notes Oliver-Rodés.
9. Do not take into account the preferred date of consumption
Plastic water bottles are indicated by the preferred consumption date and not the expiry date, as the water does not expire. Preferential consumption is usually between 18 months and 3 years from the date of packaging.
It is said that it brings bad luck to provide with water because the water could be contaminated in the Middle Ages, and many people would sick and die ingesting it.
Experts advise respecting the indication. It’s another thing to obsess over what’s on the labels. We shouldn’t be scared if we read things like”dry waste 400, “because “we’re not talking about crap. It is only the figure that indicates the number of minerals dissolved in water in the bottle, and the minerals are not harmful, they are necessary”, according to Borrell.
10. Worrying about regularly changing watermarks
For experts in the Dr Oliver Rodés laboratory, it is not more relevant to always consume the same natural mineral watermark or vary regularly, not even buy it expensive or cheap, as long as no prescription tells us, for example, to consume low-sodium water.
In general, it is a matter of personal taste and, although we are talking about an odour, colourless and tasteless drink, the taste is very diverse. “Each person may like a different one because each of them is the result of their geological history: there are them with calcium and magnesium, which have a harder and earthier taste; sodium and chlorides, with a slightly salty taste…” Figueras counts.
In short, what is the ideal water? “My grandfather was clear: the one who quads his thirst and doesn’t hurt,” explains Jordi Oliver-Rodés, fourth generation at the helm of the laboratory that analyses 100 of the 140 glasses of water we consume in Spain.