Question:

Is drinking distilled water bad for you? What type of water should I drink?

– Danisha O.

Answer:

Distilled water is one form of purified water and it is safe to drink, but not exclusively. The thing with removing impurities is that the natural minerals like calcium and magnesium are also removed. This is desirable for household appliances like hot irons, but your blood has sodium and other solutes in it. In summary, distilled water may not be as beneficial for your body as other forms of water.

The water used for intravenous injection is sterile but still contains solutes to match blood concentration and pH. Tap water impurities and micronutrients vary based on the local source, as do those for spring waters and bottled waters. Filtered water removes contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides but some can also lower the mineral content. Carbon block filters allow the mineral salts to remain. Specialty waters that are ionized, reverse-osmosis or alkaline are promoted for various reasons but overall for proper hydration, an adequate volume of fluids is key. Having affordable, good-tasting water means you’ll drink more of it. In the end, there is not an absolute consensus on the type of water you should drink.

A special note: for exercise, sports drinks are actually ideal as they have the proper concentration of glucose and electrolytes to enhance absorption and promote fluid balance.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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