by Pamela Redwine
Do you carry a bottle of water? In recent years, consumption of bottled water has soared. The bottled water industry began in the late 1950’s and by 2005 total annual sales for Americans was about 7.5 billion gallons. Except for soft drinks, people living in the U.S. drink more bottled water than any other beverage! With today’s consumer demand, soft-drink companies have added bottled water to their line. The most common types include mineral water, purified water, sparkling water, spring water, and well water…plain or lightly flavored.
Today’s supermarket shelves offer bottled waters – some flavored, others plain. But what do the terms on the label mean? According to the FDA:
· Artesian water is a certain type of well water, collected without mechanical pumping. The well must tap a confined aquifer that has water standing much higher than the rock, gravel, or sand. An aquifer is an underground layer of rock or sand with water.
·Well water is collected from an underground aquifer, too, but with a mechanical pump.
· Drinking water is bottled water from an approved source. It must meet state and federal standards and go through minimal filtration and disinfection.
·Mineral water contains minerals at a standard level, no less than 250 parts per million (ppm) of total dissolved solids, or minerals. These minerals must be naturally present, not added. If the level is less than 500 ppm, it will be labeled “low mineral content”’ if higher than 1,500 ppm, “high mineral content.”
· Purified water has been processed to remove minerals and other solids. The process may be distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, or another suitable process. Tip: “Purified” doesn’t mean that purified water is any more “pure” or better for you than tap water.
· Distilled water, which is one type of purified water, has been evaporated to steam, then recondensed to remove minerals.
· Sparkling water is water with a “fizz.” Either carbon dioxide is added, or water is naturally carbonated. If carbon dioxide is added, it can’t have any more than its naturally carbonated level. It can be labeled as natural sparkling water only if there’s no added carbonation. Seltzer, tonic water, and club soda are considered soft drinks, not sparkling water, and may contain sugar and calories.
· Spring water comes from an underground source and naturally flows to surface. It must be collected at the spring or through a bored hole that taps an underground source of the spring. If it’s collected by an external (not natural force), it must have the same composition and physical qualities (perhaps carbonated) as the naturally flowing spring water.
From a nutritional standpoint, there’s no significant difference in bottle water than tap water, except that bottled water likely doesn’t have as much fluoride. In large municipal water systems, either bottled or tap water is safe and healthful. In fact, some bottled water is tap water, reprocessed to change its taste and composition.
The bottom line is if you like bottled water and it helps you get your recommended glasses of water in then buy it. But know that you may pay 240 to more than 10,000 times as much per gallon for bottled water that’s no more healthful than most United States’ tap water.
Recipe of the Week
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Applesauce
4 cups sliced peeled Red Delicious apples (about 2)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon canola oil
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and toss well. Cover with plastic wrap, and microwave at High 12 minutes or until tender. Cool 5 minutes. Place apple mixture in a food processor, and process until smooth. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; add to pan. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until pork is done. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve with applesauce. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and 6 tablespoons applesauce).
Calories 251, Fat 8.1g Protein 25.4g, Carb 18.6g, Fiber 1.5g