Raw water is a recent trend that has gained traction among health-conscious consumers in recent years in a similar way as structured water and hydrogen water. It’s said to be more “natural” than regular water and is thought to carry several health benefits because it’s completely unprocessed and unfiltered.
However, it’s also incredibly controversial and often considered dangerous or even deadly in some cases.
So what is the raw water trend? Can you drink raw water, or should you opt for other types of water instead?
This article will take a closer look at raw water to help you determine how you should meet your hydration needs.
What Is Raw Water?
Raw water is a form of water that has not been filtered, processed or treated in any way. The trendy movement is often associated with Doug Evans, one of the most prominent proponents of raw water.
This raw water Silicon Valley entrepreneur is also known for creating Juicero, a pricey and controversial cold-pressed juice machine that was revealed to be no more efficient than juicing fruits and veggies by hand.
Following the fall of his company, Evans, also known as the “raw water guy,” underwent a 10-day cleanse in which he drank only raw water from a company called Live Water. This prompted him to join the raw water movement himself and begin promoting the purported health benefits of this popular trend.
Proponents of the movement claim that drinking raw water is a more natural alternative to the filtered and processed water varieties, which can preserve many of the beneficial minerals and compounds found in water.
However, there are no raw water strainers or raw water pumps that you can use to obtain this unique type of water. Instead, you must either collect it directly from natural springs or purchase it from companies online.
Raw water is touted as a healthy alternative to regular water because it’s completely natural and has not been filtered or processed in any way. Because it’s not treated at all, it’s also believed to contain a higher amount of minerals that are said to be removed through the purification process.
It’s also free of fluoride, a mineral that’s often added to drinking water to promote oral health and prevent cavities. The fluoridation of water is highly controversial, with some claiming that consuming high levels of fluoride could have a negative impact on cognitive development, thyroid function, cancer development and bone health.
However, this widespread public health measure is hotly debated. Most research suggests that these adverse effects are limited to extremely high amounts of fluoride, and levels are closely regulated by the government.
Raw water also contains many strains of bacteria, both good and bad. Advocates claim that drinking raw water could boost your intake of probiotics, which are a beneficial form of bacteria involved in several aspects of health, including immune function, mental health and nutrient digestion.
Manufacturers of raw water also note that it may have a higher pH than regular water, marketing it as a natural alternative to alkaline water. While the benefits of alkaline water are also a subject of controversy, some research has found that it could help prevent acid reflux, decrease bone loss, boost hydration status and support blood circulation.
Because it’s not filtered or treated in any way, raw water can contain contaminants that may be harmful to health. Certain strains of bacteria and toxins that could be found in fresh water can cause illnesses like cholera, dysentery and typhoid.
These waterborne illnesses can be dangerous and even fatal if left untreated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disinfection and treatment of drinking water is credited with significantly decreasing the incidence of these serious conditions, even just within the past century.
In addition to possibly containing bacteria, it may also contain harmful physical and chemical contaminants as well. Animal waste, pollutants, and heavy metals like lead, arsenic and copper can all be found in raw water, all of which can have a significant impact on health.
According to a review published in Interdisciplinary Toxicology, long-term exposure to heavy metals can lead to progressive physical, muscular and neurological degenerative processes.
Besides the possible dangers of raw water, it’s also important to consider the price.
How much does raw water cost?
While the cost can vary depending on which raw water company you purchase from, the raw water price typically starts around $6 per gallon and goes up. This can take a serious toll on your bank account, making it difficult to meet your hydration needs without making a hefty investment.
So what is the best water to drink? Although raw water has been associated with several dangers and downsides, there are plenty of safe and healthy alternatives that you can drink instead.
Filtered water, for example, is a great alternative to regular water.
What is filtered water?
It is a type of water that has been run through a filter to remove any impurities and improve the taste. There are several different methods used to filter water, including reverse osmosis water filters, infrared filters, activated carbon filters, or screening and grit removal.
What is raw water screening?
This is a type of water treatment process used to remove physical contaminants.
Alkaline water is another good option, although it tends to have a higher price tag than regular water. Alkaline water is produced through a process called electrolysis, which splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen to increase the pH of the final product.
Although the benefits of alkaline water are somewhat controversial, it’s definitely a safer option than raw water.
Keep in mind, though, that tap water may contain more fluoride than filtered or bottled water as well as certain chemicals and compounds that could be dangerous in high amounts. Installing a water filter can help you remove any harmful heavy metals or chemicals to keep your water supply safe, directly from the faucet.
Risks and Side Effects
Because of the potential for contamination, raw water is generally not considered safe for consumption. Using filtered water instead is a healthy and safe alternative that can help minimize the risks and dangers associated with raw water.
Additionally, although drinking enough water and staying hydrated is absolutely essential to health, keep in mind that more is not always better. Water intoxication, also sometimes called water toxicity, water overdose or water poisoning, is a serious issue that disrupts the balance of electrolytes in the body.
Some of the potential symptoms of water intoxication include confusion, nausea, vomiting, fluid retention and even seizures.
How much water is too much?
According to one paper published in the Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, water intoxication symptoms can occur when drinking three to four liters of water in a short amount of time, which is about 0.8 to one gallon of water.
Does water go bad?
Most types of water can be stored indefinitely, but proper storage is key to ensuring long-term safety. Glass or steel containers are best, as harmful chemicals could potentially leak into the water from plastic bottles or containers.
If you do choose to use plastic to store your water, be sure to select BPA-free containers whenever possible.
- What is raw water? It is a type of “natural” water that has not been filtered, treated or processed in any way.
- There’s no raw water strainer or raw water pump available to produce this type of water. Instead, the water is obtained from natural springs or other sources directly from nature.
- According to proponents of the movement, raw water benefits include a higher mineral content, decreased fluoride levels, increased pH and higher levels of probiotics.
- However, raw water also has a high risk of contamination, which can cause several negative effects on health. It’s also very pricey and can cost double or even triple the price of regular filtered water in some cases.
- Besides the dangers associated with raw water, it’s important not to go overboard with your water intake.
- How much is too much water? Symptoms of water intoxication can occur after drinking 0.8 to one gallon of water within a short period of time.
- Filtered water is a safe alternative to raw water that can help you stay hydrated without the risk of illness or infection.