Water water and more water

Water water and more water

Most people know our bodies are about 72% water but did you know that your skin is 80% and your blood 90% water? All our physiological processes require water to function (such as temperature regulation, digestion, respiration and detoxification). Did you know that a 5% drop in body fluids can cause a 25-30% drop in energy? If you are hungry that can sometimes also be a sign you are dehydrated so if you are watching your weight or trying to lose weight then being hydrated can help keep your satiety under control too! Put bluntly water is one of the most important things you can put in your mouth if you want to be healthy, or live for that matter! Water works optimally to hydrate in its natural form – the only thing you can do these days (thanks to people adding things like fluoride which is a neurotoxin) to improve water is purify / filter it (which i also recommend). Even if you have a rain water tank it still hits the roof, runs through the gutters and pipes before it reaches your tap and your glass. This means it can be contaminated by whatever is on your roof, in your gutter, in your tank or from your pipes (this includes dead animals, rust, chemicals, copper and other heavy metals to name a few!). Altering water by adding anything to it (including adding lemon, vitamins, minerals, sweeteners or alkalising) all change the way water is processed and in most cases changes water from being life promoting to a diuretic – this means that instead of the body using the water to support vital physiologic functions, the kidneys excrete most of it instead!

Do we all need the same amount of water?

I have always found it interesting (even before i came across the water formula i believe to make the most sense), how 8 glasses of water was the standard for everyone. How big should the glass be? What if you don’t sweat or alternatively sweat a lot? What if you are sick and have a hiher toxin load? Surely your size, health status, lifestyle and activity level should have an influence on how much water your body needs to function optimally! The answer to all these questions is a resounding YES! YES — it does matter how much you weigh and what activity you do and how stressed you are! The more toxic you are the more water you need to consume!

The Water Formula

So who is right when it comes to how much water we should drink? Who knows!! But one thing is for sure we all require different amounts of water to be healthy. Besides calculating your water requirement to be specific for your body, health and lifestyle another easy tip is to check your urine colour. If you are well hydrated your urine should be clear or close to it (please noet if you are taking supplements and medication – especially those with B vitamins can affect this as they often turn your urine bright yellow!).

I stand by the TBM (Total body Modification) way of calculating water requirements.

43ml of water per kg per day if you are – injured, ill, exercising or stressed.

35ml of water per kg per day for maintenance.

* An easy way to calculate if you don’t have a calculator is to allocate 1L of water for every 25 kilograms of body weight.

*  You ideally should have an extra 500ml of water for every coffee, alcoholic beverage, processed piece of food (especially processed sugar and sweeteners).

What are the main sources of water you need to know about?

According to Dr Mercola the main sources of drinking water that you should understand are:

1.  Tap Water – Test your water to see what contaminants are lurking before trusting it as a clean source. To make your water supply “safe” to drink many treatments plants add chemicals like chlorine, chlorine dioxides or chloramines.

2.  Bottled Water – More than 40% of bottled water is actually tap water and Australians spend more than $385 million dollars a year on bottled water! Not only that bottled water is not subject to the same EPA standards that tap water is. Check on the bottle to ensure you are drinking natural spring water but remember most plastic bottles contain BPA and other nasties. Not to mention it takes so much energy to obtain the water, produce the bottles, transport and refridgerate and recycle the bottled water that the huge environmental impact is often overlooked ( in Australia only 35% of plastic water bottles are recycled with more than 67 million plastic water bottles are thrown out each DAY in the US alone!)

3.  Distilled Water – It’s believed long term use can be detrimental to our health due to the lack of minerals in the water – so the minerals may be leached out of our body to maintain overall mineral balance, not to mention that contaminants in the water are more concentrated!

4.  Alkaline Water – If you are really sick or acidic then alkaline water may be useful as a short term health aid but beware that alkalising does NOT necessarily filter water of other nasties and if your body is already alkaline it can actually upset your natural body pH causing you to crave acid foods to balance it back out (that’s what happened to me and i put on 4kg in two weeks and felt aweful!)

5.  Vitamin Waters – I’m sure you realise that vitamin water is not really water but just in case you didnt know they often contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), artificial additives, preservatives, colourings and caffeine, not to mention they are made with ditilled water (which you now know is not ideal!)

What is the best container to store water in or drink from?

Glass wins hands down as it is does not leach ANY contaminants into your water. I’m not sure if it’s just me but water tastes soooo much better out of glass too! Next best option is stainless steel. No matter what type of water bottle you use please make sure you wash your bottle regularly so no mold or microbes start growing on it that are then ingested!

However if you are going to use plastic here are some tips:

–  Buy a re-usable plastic drink bottle and DO not ever re-use bottles that are used to sell bottled water (as soon as they get hot they leach all sorts of contaminants)

–  Use High-density polyethylene, labeled as "#2 HDPE"

–  Use Low-density polyethylene, labeled as "#4 LDPE"

–  Use Polypropylene, labeled as "#5 PP"

–  Avoid all plastic bottles labeled “Nalgene”, PVC #3, and Polycarbonate #7.

What are the most common water contaminants?

–  Microbiological – bacteria, protozoa (E coli, cryptosporidium, giardia and their cysts), viruses, faecal coliform

–  Inorganic compounds and chemicals – pesticides, herbicides, nitrate, nitrite, , fluoride, arsenic, heavy metals (especially aluminium, copper, lead)

–  Radionuclides – alpha, beta and photon emitters, combined Radium 226/228, radon gas

–  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)  –

–  Disinfectants and their byproducts – chlorine (and chlorination by-products such as chlorine dioxide and cholramines), total trihalomthanes, haloacetic acids, bromate, chlorite

How do i choose a water filter?

The three main things to consider are:

1.  Value for Money: Look at the ongoing cost of running it (and factor in how much you will save if you buy bottled water) rather than the initial outlay of money. A cheaper filter may not actually filter what you are buying it to do either.

2.  Effectiveness: Make sure that all the nasties can be filtered.

3.  Ease of Use: Make sure you ask and understand what is involved to install, clean, change filters etc or otherwise you may find you don’t actually make the most use of it!

4.  Certification: To ensure that the filter is filtering what they advertise then you need to get a filter that is certified

What types of water filters are there?

1. Jug or Water Bottle Style Filter – These are the least cost effective and least effective filters as they are only designed to filter 5 or less contaminants, filters need to be changed regularly (which most people don’t do rendering them totally ineffective) and need to be filled regularly. They are generally used to make water look, taste and smell better (but not necessarily better for you!)

2.  Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filter – These are the most expensive but generally remove the most impurities. Water is passed under high pressure through a thin membrane where contaminants are either physically blocked or washed away. The downfall with their effective filtration is they also filter many of the essential minerals from the water which need to be replaced (which is easy if you are organised!)

3.  Ion Exchange Filter – These filters remove dissolved salts from the water such as calcium and softens the water (softening) or exchanges natural forming mineral ions in the water with ions from the filter (deionisation).

4.  Distillation Filter – These filters boil the water creating steam which cools and condenses to form mineral-free water droplets that are then collected in a container. This is then combined with a carbon filter for 99.9% contaminant free water, however all the minerals are removed.

5.  Granular Carbon and carbon Block Filters – These are the most common filters and can be used on the counter top or under counter and perform the same process of contaminant removal and adsorption

i. Granular Activated Carbon Filters – recognised by the EPA as the best available technology to remove chemicals however due to the loose material inside some of the contaminants can escape filtering through channeling in the carbon.

ii.             Carbon Block Filters – these use a more solid material to filter which eliminates the channeling and escaping of contaminants meaning the filter can selectively remove a wider range of contaminants. It also has the added benefit of cyst reduction which makes it more effective at removing organisms like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

* Ideally, you want a filtration system that offers a variety of methods to remove different contaminants.  Most systems do not address a combination of organic, inorganic, cyst, sediment and metals. 

Comparison Table of Water Filters – Advantages versus Disadvantages

Type of Filter




–  Convenient

–  Cheap to buy

–  Easy to change filters

–  Least cost effective ongoing

–  Small storage ability

–  Shorter filter lives (change often)

–  Only filter 5 or less contaminants

Reverse Osmosis

–  Removes most amount of contaminants

–  Expensive Outlay

–  Filter essential minerals (which need to be replaced

–  Uses a lot of energy

–  Wastes up to 85% of water in the filtration process


–  Balance the minerals in the water

–  Removes dissolved inorganics effectively

–  Regenerable

–  Relatively inexpensive initial investment outlay

–  Doesn’t effectively remove particles, pyrogens or bacteria

–  Can generate resin particles that culture bacteria

–  High operating costs long term


–  Removes a broad range of contaminants

–  Re-usable

–  Some contaminants can be carried into the condensate

–  Requires careful maintenance to ensure purity

–  Consumes large amounts of energy

–  Takes a large amount of space

Carbon Block

–  Very effective at removing contaminants


– Tap Fitted

–  Convenient

–  Small and easy to use

–  Easy to replace filters

–  Slows the flow of the water

–  cant be used on all taps

– Counter Top

–  Filters large amounts of water without plumbing modifications

–  Less likely to clog up than jug or tap mounted

–  Quick to install

–  Clutters the counter top

–  Can’t be used on all taps

– Under Sink

–  Filters large amounts of water without taking up precious bench space

–  Doesn’t have to be attached to existing tap

–  Unlikely that the tap will clog up

–  Requires plumbing modifications

–  takes up space under the sink

–  More expensive outlay

*UV Treatment is another useful advantage of a water filter as the ultraviolet light is used to disinfect water (please note that UV light only works on relatively clear water, otherwise the light can’t penetrate sufficiently).

Author: Kate Wood

Kate has represented Australia as an 800m runner, winning five Australian titles and competing on the international stage. She also lectured track & field at the Australian College of Physical Education. After being forced into an early retirement due to injury, Kate turned to helping others with their health and wellness, with a special focus on families, pre-conception, pregnancy and paediatrics.

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