A new, misguided fad is luring some people into drinking so-called “raw” water. Find out why this is dangerous and a terrible idea for your health.
Last week, we took a look at one of the best and most basic health-related new years resolutions you could offer yourself: the goal of drinking more water in 2018. Yet, thanks to some ridiculous fads and marketing ploys, we find ourselves in the position of having to clarify what kind of water we mean.
Yes, the “raw water” fad is a pseudo-scientific and unfortunate trend that is luring in health-conscious citizens with dubious claims of benefits one might receive from drinking untreated spring water. Since buyers have been conditioned in recent years to believe that raw, or organic, or untreated, or unmodified products are better, this must also extend to water, too… right?
Wrong. Even the company behind the main “raw water” out there agrees: these water bottles are filled to the brim with bacteria. There’s no disagreement there. The point of contention is that this company portends that this bacteria is beneficial, and somehow helps you “digest” your food better. Scientists and medical professionals, on the other hand, suggest that this is a great way to sicken yourself and contract a disease.
Our tap water and the vast majority of water that you purchase bottled at the store has been thoroughly treated and sterilized before it reaches you. The goal is to remove undesirable things like… oh, you know… the E. Coli bacteria, traces of arsenic, and other things that can seriously endanger your health.
The point is, we simply don’t know what’s in untreated spring water — nobody does. This water could be downstream from where animals like to relieve themselves; or, it could be near a polluting factory that releases harmful chemicals into the environment. The water might contain Giardia, a parasite that will leave you doubled over in gastrointestinal distress and with diarrhea for weeks; or, it could contain things like cholera or typhoid, which can often have a much more serious consequence: death.
Don’t fall for slick marketing campaigns that try to convince you that “raw” is always better. In the case of our water, it’s critical that you’re drinking safe, sterilized water that doesn’t expose you to unknown and potentially deadly bacteria. Be smart about your choices when it comes to shopping for food and drink, because as we like to say at Urgent 9: nutrition is preventative health care.