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Water Quality and Healthy Living

Show Summary - March 30, 2009

Guest: Arthur Von Weisenberger

Arthur Von Weisenberger (Santa Barbara, CA), author of,"H20 Guide to Water Quality"

The first guest, Arthur Von Weisenberger, is an expert in water tasting and author of several guides to bottled water. His expertise began while living in Europe as a child where he drank mostly bottled water and because intrigued by the slight differences in taste. The importance of water was driven home when he came down with typhoid from drinking contaminated water and nearly died.

Years later, in 1973, while living in California, he observed that the tap water tasted awful because it was loaded with chlorine and the "wrong" minerals. Bottled water was not popular then and he used to add a slice of lemon to kill the taste.

In 1978, Arthur wrote his first book on bottled water. That was at the height of the Perrier boom (a natural sparkling water from France). Bottled water today is an $11 billion annual business. He has since had a long career as a taste and marketing consultant to the bottled water industry. He has also written several more guidebooks.

Regarding tap water, some is good but most isn't. However, you also never know what's in the pipes in the building you're in. Water with low pH is acidic and can dissolve the lead out of older pipes.

Sharon talked about the importance of water to health and the fact that the "official" national nutrition chart does not mention water at all. Not only is water a nutrient, they agreed, but it is the most important nutrient without which all other nutrients are ineffective.

Water will be the battleground of the future, as oil is today, suggests Mr. Von Weisenberger. Earth's population is growing rapidly but the amount of water never changes and the amount of fresh water is shrinking due to pollution and land development. At this rate, fresh water will eventually be rationed.

No two waters are exactly alike and taste can vary greatly due to mineral solute content, trace elements and the water source (spring, glacier, well, processed).

A "spring" surfaces on its own but may be capped and the water stored in a holding tank.

A well is a bore hole that taps into groundwater or an underground aquifer. The deeper the well, the less contaminated it is. Well water usually (but not always) needs to be pumped out of the ground.

Glacial water has been frozen for thousands (or millions) of years and can be milky due to pulverized rock.

The best water comes from mineral springs in Europe. Some is naturally carbonated, some is not. Oregon, with its volcanic mountains and abundant rainfall, is also home to many excellent bottled waters. Canadian bottled waters are also excellent.

Mr. Von Weisenberger is involved with the annual International Water Tasting Competition in Berkley Springs, W. Va. He helped develop the categories and train the testers, although he says that most people can taste the difference between good water and bad water, especially in a comparison test. Some brands rate consistently better than others.

Arthur underscored some of Sharon's suggestions about water drinking. The bulk of the water you drink each day should be pure water and not soft drinks, tea, coffee or juice. Tea, coffee and cola are physically dehydrating. For good health, you should ingest an adequate amount of water each day, and drink it throughout the day.

A simple test to see if you drink enough water is to pull up the skin on the back of your hand. If it stands up, the skin is dehydrated. And you should never wait until you are thirsty to drink (although paradoxically, the more you drink, the more frequently you will feel thirst).

Bottled water is now the #2 selling beverage after soft drinks. It should be #1.

Website: http://www.bottledwaterweb.com/index.do

Categories: Health and wellness; water and philosophy