Browse the shelves of any health food store or wellness center and you’re likely to see a selection of alkaline waters, meaning it has a higher pH than regular water.
Alkaline water is touted to help everything from increased energy to less joint pain to clearer focus and better mood, but are these waters really worth the extra money? To find out, we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on all things alkaline water!
- Science class refresher: pH ranges 1-14. 7 is neutral. Higher pH = more alkaline; lower pH = more acidic.
- $$ Price: Most alkaline waters are $1.18-$1.78 per 20-oz. Some as much as $2.29 for 16-oz.
- Two main questions: Are these waters really as alkaline as they claim? Is alkaline water really better?
The brands we tested really are alkaline as claimed: We tested a dozen brands of alkaline waters with Darryl Holliday, PhD, assistant professor of food science at The University of Holy Cross in Algiers, using a pH meter.
pH test strips vs. pH meter: We first tested with 3 brands of pH test strips; all showed each of the waters as more acidic than claimed – but the pH strips were inaccurate. Per Dr. Holliday, most home pH test strips are specifically for saliva and/or urine. If liquid contains minerals (like most alkaline waters), pH strips can give false reading.
Is alkaline water better for us? It’s hard to say for sure, because there’s little published research.
- One study found that drinking alkaline water may benefit people with reflux disease.
- May have potential health benefits re. oxidative stress-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases.
Which Alkaline Waters we LOVE, LIKE, & HATE:
Processes used to make the waters alkaline vary: Many are from mineral-rich springs that are alkaline at the source; others have added minerals to increase alkalinity. And some add strong chemicals to boost alkalinity.
Evamor Natural Artesian Water | ph 8.8-9.1 | Naturally Alkaline
Essence | pH 10 | 2% or less of added minerals calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium
Essentia | pH 9.5+ |
Aqua Hydrate | pH 9+ | Trace amounts sodium, magnesium, iodine, iron, calcium, chromium, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, molybdenum
Tap Water: Algiers tap water tested with a pH of 8.4; the Metairie tap water we tested showed a pH of 7.35.
Crazy Water No. 3 | pH 7.5 | Naturally Alkaline
JUST WATER | pH 7.4 | Naturally Alkaline
The bottom line: Check the label to compare pH, as well as any added ingredients.
All chemical additives used in all of the featured alkaline waters are safe for human consumption at the levels found in these beverages.
Also note: If we’re adding alkaline water for health benefit, it makes sense to keep acidic beverages in check:
- Red Bull has a pH of 3.42; Coca-Cola has a pH of 2.47.
- Wine: Chardonnay tested with a pH of 3.42; Merlot pH of 3.48
- More carbonation => more acidic: La Croix has pH of 3.68. Pelligrino has pH of 5.0. Perrier has a pH of 5.1
- Coffee: pH of 4.88 to 5.1
- Bottled waters like Dasani and Smartwater: pH of 5.96 and 5.76, respectively.
- Green tea relatively neutral pH of 7.06
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