fitness

Alkaline water: a trendy and pointless fad not worth following

image description: close up of drinking glass with water being poured into it, almost full, with bubbles from the pressure of the pour, against a blurred green background.
image description: close up of drinking glass with water being poured into it, almost full, with bubbles from the pressure of the pour, against a blurred green background.

When Sam tagged me on an article about alkaline water, “Is alkaline water a miracle or BS? The science is in” I replied, “I haven’t read the article yet but I call BS.”

About 18 months ago I posted “Alkaline water is a thing (but is it a thing we should care about?)”. I’d just learned about it and had an initial skeptical gut response. Kind of like clean eating and the whole “detoxing” idea, I’m not keen on fads that purport miracle cures, especially if not strongly supported by facts. And the facts never support a miracle cure, by the way.

The new article in question casts further doubt on the claims of alkaline water. First, what is the idea behind it. According to Dr. Tanis Fenton, from the University of Calgary and an evidence analysts for Dieticians of Canada:

the marketing claims behind alkaline water are based on an old idea called the acid-ash hypothesis. This posits that eating certain food like meat, dairy and eggs results in something called acid ash in your body, which increases your acid levels and causes adverse health effects including osteoporosis.

Trouble is, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that raising the body’s alkaline level has any health benefits at all. According to Dr. Fenton:

you simply can’t change the pH of your body by drinking alkaline water. “Your body regulates its [blood] pH in a very narrow range because all our enzymes are designed to work at pH 7.4. If our pH varied too much we wouldn’t survive.”

While you can’t change the pH of your blood, your diet does affect the pH of your urine. “Most people’s urine is about 6, which is acidic,” she explains. However, “that’s no problem, that shows our kidneys is working.” So while it’s possible drinking alkaline water may make your urine less acidic, that doesn’t really make a difference; you’re literally just flushing money down the drain.

Bottom line: we don’t need to drink alkaline water because there is no problem for alkaline water to solve.

So yeah, even after reading the article (maybe even more intensely so, in fact), I still call bullshit on alkaline water.

What’s your take on fancy water (alkaline or other)?

6 thoughts on “Alkaline water: a trendy and pointless fad not worth following

  1. Great post. After my husband got diagnosed with hereditary kidney disease we researched alkaline water while chugging $4 bottles of it. Hydrating snake oil. Now we’re just drinking regular filtered water. I think there’s benefit to drinking filtered, spring and mineral water vs city tap for sure. Putting crystals in water looks pretty but will it really supercharge my chakras?

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  2. Folks..contact your municipality’s Water treatment division. Sure, water quality varies from place to place in North America but it IS regulated. I noticed where I live, the water is harder compared to ie. Vancouver BC, where water is naturally softer due to rainwater from Seymour Dam.

    Those in Water/Ulitities Engineering follow strict standards for water quality and water treatment. It is very strict, for public health safety. Their water testing and water quality for residential use is world is very tight re security concerns. If there are problems, your municipalty is the direct contact.

    phH water sales is crap. Do they have science degree on water quality and testing? Could they give advice to a municipality?

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  3. It seems like optimizing the type of water we intake is just drilling deep in a single area where most of us would get better results from “smaller” improvements in other areas. (And that’s if the whole thing isn’t just nonsense!) But for most people, drinking *enough* water is more important than drinking the *right* water. Other improvements in food, activity, etc. are probably more beneficial than expensive water for most people, I’d think.

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