Bottled water comes in an overwhelming number of options. Labels like spring water and purified water can make you feel a little lost over what is the right choice for you.
Deciding for spring water vs. purified water often comes down to preference, but there is more to know about it. Although both options are safe to drink, there are many differences between them. The most important is the water source, but also the filtration process.
So, let’s delve into the matter and see when to choose one over the other.
Difference Between Spring Water and Purified water
Buying bottled water seems easy, but all it takes is a look at the water aisle in any supermarket to understand the overwhelming amount of options. Not only are there lots of brands to choose from, but you must also decide what type of water to pick from spring, purified, or mineral water.
What is Spring Water?
Spring water, as its name suggests, is bottled water sourced from a natural spring or well. But can you drink spring water? Since the U.S. Geological Survey advises (1) against drinking water directly from a spring, is bottled spring water safe to drink?
In a nutshell, yes. Once collected, the water goes through a filtering process that removes potentially harmful contaminants while retaining most naturally occurring minerals. When the water meets the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (3)as set by EPA, it is bottled and made available for consumers.
Mineral water is also spring water. However, when brands define their bottled water as a mineral, it means it has been enriched with additional minerals. This process makes it a healthier choice for some people, but that alters the natural spring water taste.
Something to remember is that not all spring water is alike. Due to the difference in minerals occurring naturally in different springs, various types of spring water may taste differently. For instance, some waters may have a higher level of sodium and a higher sapidity. Others may be richer in magnesium or calcium and have a slightly bitter or milky taste, respectively.
What is Purified Water?
Unlike mineral or spring water, purified water doesn’t have to come from an underground spring or well. This means that brands can filter tap water, bottle it, and sell it to consumers. To label water as purified, the water must go through one of the three FDA-approved purification processes (2), including ionization, distillation, or reverse osmosis.
All these purification processes remove most impurities from water, including bacteria, microbial cysts, parasites, heavy metals, potentially harmful chemicals, and healthy minerals. According to the World Health Organization(4), drinking demineralized or low-mineral water can have various adverse effects, including metabolic disturbances, increased risk of fractures, premature birth, and heart disease.
But why is purified water bad for you? Let’s have an in-depth look at spring water vs. purified water characteristics to find it out.
Minerals, pH, Taste: Spring Water vs. Purified Water Characteristics
As mentioned above, all bottled water brands have to comply with specific regulations. However, while these regulations tell what elements the water can’t contain to be deemed safe to drink, they don’t specify what nutritional elements should be present in water and why they matter.
Spring Water Pros & Cons
Spring water, also called artesian or groundwater, is water collected from a natural spring or well. To be labeled as spring water, brands have to filter it to remove any potentially harmful contaminants while keeping the healthy naturally occurring minerals.
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These minerals may include sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, among other nutrients.
Spring Water Advantages
- Minerals in spring water give it a slightly alkaline pH level. Alkaline water helps neutralize the acidity in the body and can reduce free radicals damage.
- Minerals in spring water also improve muscle, bone, and heart health.
- Spring water tastes better than purified water, quenching thirst and refreshing faster than other types of water.
Spring Water Disadvantages
- Some minerals might be bad for you. For instance, if you have high blood pressure, you should avoid drinking water rich in sodium.
Purified Water Pros & Cons
Purified water has been filtered or processed to remove impurities, such as heavy metals, particulate, and microbial cysts.
Any water can become purified water if it goes through the filtration process, and its level of impurities is no more than ten parts per million. These “impurities” include minerals, too. For these reasons, purified water lacks all healthy minerals, and other nutrients spring water usually contains.
Purified Water Advantages
- Purified water contains no harmful chemicals or contaminants that may pose a threat to human health.
- Because it contains no minerals, purified water is a better choice for appliances, such as a coffee maker. You will not have to worry about limescale deposits.
- Bottled purified water is often cheaper than spring water.
Purified Water Disadvantages
- Purified water doesn’t quench thirst as rapidly as spring or mineral water due to its total lack of taste.
- It doesn’t provide any healthy minerals, so you’ll have to pay more attention to your diet to ensure a proper intake of those nutrients.
- It could make you drink more than necessary and lead to loss of electrolytes in the body. This loss can have numerous adverse effects.
Which Is Best For Our Health?
Overall, spring water is best for our health. Since all bottled water has to comply with strict regulations, you don’t have to worry about any impurities or potentially harmful agents in spring water. Moreover, spring water is rich in nutrients.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, consider a water filter pitcher or another type of water filtering system that doesn’t remove healthy minerals. Alternatively, some reverse osmosis water filters are designed to add beneficial minerals back into the water after they’ve purified it – these systems are another excellent choice for your home.
Is purified water the same as distilled water?
Distilled water is a type of purified water, but not all purified water is distilled. Most brands specify the purification method on the label, so make sure to read it to ensure the water is distilled. Other water purification processes include reverse osmosis and ionization.
Can you drink spring water every day?
Yes. Bottled spring water is safe to drink every day. If you’re using groundwater in your home, you should invest in a whole house or under-the-sink filter to remove contaminants before consuming it.
What is the best type of water to drink?
Spring water is the best type of water to drink. Purified water and tap water are also considered safe. However, if you’re sourcing water from a well, you should filter it before drinking or cooking with it.
Spring water and purified water are both excellent choices for drinking or household consumption. Spring water is your best option for drinking, but purified water could be a better choice to use with appliances.
If you consider bottled water too expensive, a great idea is to install an under-the-sink or whole home water filter system that removes contaminants while keeping healthy minerals. In this way, you can make sure the water in your glass is as healthy and as tasty as the expensive store-bought spring water.