Alkaline water, that is, water with a pH value higher than 7.5, is an antioxidant with many benefits. It protects our DNA against oxidative damage, balances the pH of our blood, can help fight acid reflux, and improves blood and oxygen flow. That’s why those who are into fitness or leading physically active lives (athletes, actors, and so on) prefer it over other types of water.
There are and have already been many spring water brands that are naturally alkaline on the market. Recently, though, some brands have started to collect tap water, treat it in robust multi-stage processes, raise its alkalinity, bottle it, and sell it with the label “alkaline water.”
This type of water is actually far inferior to the organically collected spring water that has been on the market for ages because it’s been heavily treated and has additives. However, this doesn’t stop alkaline water brands such as Glaceau Smartwater and Essentia from gaining a lot of momentum through marketing with world-renown athletes and actors like Millie Bobby Brown.
Despite their approach, Glaceau Smartwater is actually a decent bottled water brand that complies with the Food and Drugs Administration’s rules. But that’s not the case with all water brands that market themselves as “alkaline.” Below is a list of these brands and our reasons for thinking they’re shady.
Alkaline Water Brands You Should Avoid
Real Water is a Las Vegas-based bottled water brand that jumped on the alkaline water bandwagon with too much hype. The brand marketed its 9.0-pH water as premium and claimed that it utilized a technology called “E2 Electron Energized Technology,” which is supposed to add electrons to water.
For scientific purposes, note that all matter on the planet already has electrons and that this is not the big deal it’s marketed as — by themselves, random electrons don’t and can’t have any effect on the makeup of drinking water.
Yet, the brand went on with its pseudo-scientific and non-factual marketing campaign — up until 2021.
In late 2020, five children in Nevada suffered acute liver failure. Later, eleven adults were diagnosed with acute non-viral hepatitis, with one of them who had other preexisting conditions sadly passing away.
In June 2021, the United States Food and Drugs Administration released a statement establishing that the only connection between these cases was the consumption of Real Water’s alkalized water. The brand then allegedly recalled all its products from the market, but you may still run into them somewhere if somebody stocked up on Real Water before they were recalled, so you need to be careful.
The brand’s following statement read that this was a lesson to be learned and that they were going to seek further improvement of their ground-breaking technologies. Still, we think the main takeaway from this story is that you need to be wary of any alkaline water brand that markets its water with pseudo-scientific claims and terminology.
Since its conception, AquaHydrate has been getting mixed reviews on Amazon.
Some of these reviews claim that the water is not alkaline because it just tastes like tap water.
And they’re likely right — in the sense that most artificially-produced alkaline water brands collect tap water and purify it through reverse osmosis, vapor distillation, and ultraviolet sterilization before bottling it. That’s the case with AquaHydrate: it’s tap water that’s been purified with reverse osmosis.
However, what’s interesting is that, allegedly, some reviewers tested the water themselves by using litmus paper, and the results showed it had a pH value of 5-5.5, putting it on the acidic end of the pH scale.
That doesn’t come as a surprise either because reverse osmosis produces acidic water.
While alkaline water brands typically follow this process, in the last stage, most of them utilize electrolysis to raise the water’s alkalinity. If AquaHdyrate’s water tastes like tap water and tests acidic in a litmus test, it means the brand’s technology isn’t always reliable. It’s a good idea to avoid them.
Nestlé, Danone, Coca Cola, and Pepsi Brands
These supranational and gargantuan corporations are in the habit of acquiring (and then sometimes selling) water brands from all over the world. These brands, such as Dasani, Essentia, Evian, Aquafina, etc, don’t necessarily disclose the corporation name transparently, but should you study the bottle sleeve closely, you’ll see it.
And if you see it, not purchasing that bottle might be a good idea.
The fault of these companies doesn’t lie with the quality of the water inside the bottle. All of them comply with regulations, and if they say that their water comes with a raised alkalinity, it does.
However, the problem with these brands is beyond what’s in the bottle. It’s the bottle.
A recent study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that 90% of the water distributed by these brands contained microplastics. According to the study, there are 325 plastic particles (avg.) per liter of water sold by these brands.
Nestlé was the worst — there were more than 10,000 plastic particles in one Nestlé Pure Life bottle.
These brands mostly claim that they bottle their water in 100% recyclable and non-dissolving PET, but as the study shows, that’s not always the case. Our recommendation is to stick to glass bottles when purchasing bottled water if, of course, you have the means.
Alkaline water brands usually take pride in their multi-stage technologies that purify tap water. Then, there comes the electrolysis part where they raise the water’s alkalinity by artificial means.
As exemplified by the case of Real Water, the allegedly cutting-edge technologies the brands claim to have developed don’t always have scientific backing, and they might even prove detrimental for people with underlying health conditions.
On the other hand, the AquaHydrate case shows us how employing a complicated water treatment procedure to produce alkaline water isn’t always dependable.
And at the end of the day, there are many spring water brands on the market that bottle naturally alkaline water directly from its source without any interference or treatment. Why go for the brands we discussed above when you have so many better options?
Most of these brands bottle their water in glass containers, too, eliminating the risk of microplastics like in Nestlé, Danone, Coca Cola, and Pepsi brands. So, our final recommendation is: stick with spring water.