Guest Article by Rev. Bren Jacobson
Dr. Teitelbaum asked me to write this article to explain the importance of drinking water for maintaining good health. He asked that I focus on the problems with tap and bottled water, and to recommend the best way to enjoy inexpensive, good tasting, healthy water. After reading this, I invite you to visit my blog where I discuss many important issues about water.
(Full disclosure: I sell water treatment products and provide water consulting at $95 per hour — if you'd like a free 15 minute consultation, just give me a call at 443-949-0409. If I don't answer, please leave your number and I'll return your call.)
Why Drink Water?
- You can't survive more than a few days without it.
- When we don't drink enough it affects our entire system and causes fatigue and disease. To get a quick fix we indulge in caffeine and corn syrup and start indulging in coffee, tea, 64-ounce slurpies (1,000 calorie!), and more. As Dr. T pointed out in his book From Fatigued to Fantastic!, these act as "energy loan sharks." They also affect our nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine and excretory systems, and can actually increase dehydration and put us into a very negative downward spiral.
- Pure water has no sugar, fat, cholesterol or calories, and if it's good water, it has nothing else bad, unhealthy, illegal, immoral or fattening.
- Drinking water when hungry reduces appetite, which is why almost every diet book recommends it.
- It's necessary for and promotes good health. Anyone doubting this or wanting more information should read Dr. F. Batmanghelidj's books, Your Not Sick, You're Thirsty! Water: For Health, For Healing, For Life and Your Bodies Many Cries For Water (visit his website).
- If you're drinking water, you're not drinking the sugar or corn syrup that's so prevalent in most of our beverages today, including what's called "enhanced water," which often is little more than flavored sugar water.
- Good water is delicious and is the best thirst quencher.
Water for Dummies: The Bottled Water Scam
Bottled water, very simply put, is the biggest scam since the emperor's new clothes. And yet we still buy it. Why?
Maybe it's because we assume bottled water is cleaner and somehow better. But that's not true. The federal standards for tap water are higher than those for bottled water. The Environmental Law Foundation has sued eight bottlers for using words such as "pure" to market water that contains bacteria, arsenic and chlorine. Bottled water is no price bargain either: It costs 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water. For the price of one bottle of Evian, a San Franciscan can receive 1,000 gallons of tap water! Forty percent of bottled water should be labeled "bottled tap water" because that is exactly what it is. But even that doesn't dampen the demand.
We spend 90 billion dollars a year on bottled water in the belief that it is from a pristine source, tastes better, and is healthier. And although drinking bottled or boiled water is advisable in some parts of third world countries, here in the U.S. it's unnecessary. It's also:
- Simply stale tap water that doesn't taste as good as fresh tap water.
- In many cases not as healthy as tap water.
- Untested and unregulated.
- Costs thousands of times more than tap water.
- Uses plastic bottles that are leach carcinogenic (endocrine disrupting chemicals in the water and the earth).
- An environmental catastrophe of unprecedented proportions.
A recent article pointed out the dangers of plastic water bottles. Anyone doubting any of these statements should watch two extremely funny 10 minute YouTube videos: Lewis Black on Broadway (on water) and Penn and Teller's Bottled B***t. (Warning: Both videos contain a fair amount of obscenity — although not, to my mind, as obscene as the mountains of empty plastic water bottles in landfills and on beaches). There are many more informative videos on YouTube that you can find by searching on "bottled water." Also watch CNN: Most Bottled Water is Tap and read the NRDC report Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?
As for my contention that bottled water is for dummies, what would you think of someone who paid hundreds of dollars for a gallon of gas? Many think nothing of paying three dollars a gallon for what is essentially nothing more than tap water packaged in bottles with labels like Dasani or Aquavita, and are willing to pay as much as $300 a gallon for spring water (which is often contaminated). As for bottled water tasting better: blind taste tests consistently show that the majority of tasters prefer plain tap water. One TV show did a blind taste test with 20 people who said that they drank their brand because they preferred the taste. Only one of the 20 actually recognized the water that they said they preferred. The other 19 (95%) preferred New York City tap water. What can be made of the fact that we ship Fiji water 5,000 miles at a transport cost of 1/4 bottle of oil, when the citizens of Fiji have a life expectancy 10 years less than ours.
A new marketing racket is "enhanced" waters. These are frequently unhealthy gimmicks. One example is Gatorade (see Study: Gatorade no better than water). As for oxygenated water, micro-cluster water, meditated-over-water, magnetized water, smart water, and all the other super energized waters: if you believe the hype then please contact me because I have a bridge in Brooklyn that is selling for an amazingly low price :-) For more information on these scams, such as $4,000 machines that miraculously transform water into a cure for everything from falling hair to falling arches (and maybe make you immortal) visit H2O dot con, a site that explores water-related pseudoscience, fantasy and quackery.
So Why Not Just Drink Tap Water?
Most, if not all, tap water in the U.S. has unhealthy contaminants. Anyone doubting this claim should visit the websites of the Environmental Working Group, the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest. A search on "water" at any of these sites will reveal copious proof that our public drinking water is polluted with unhealthy organisms and contaminants.
The Solution: Use a Water Filter
A point-of-use water filter can provide good tasting healthy water at your kitchen sink for six cents a gallon without having to drive to the store and carry crates or jugs of bottled water. With any water filter tested by the NSF or the State of California you know exactly what you're not getting in your water. By filtering you're helping to keep your share of 100 billion bottles a year out of landfills. You're also helping to prevent global warming (just supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil — enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere). Using a filter can save from $1,200 to $12,000 dollars a year and is easier and more convenient. It's a simple thing to fill a stainless steel bottle with water to go.
How to Select a Filter
When selecting a water filter there are only four criteria to consider:
- Cost per gallon to operate (the running cost).
- Contaminants removed.
The most important consideration is the fourth: what contaminants the filter removes and how much of the contaminant is removed. Also of importance is that minerals not be removed, which is why, in most instances, I don't recommend distillation or reverse osmosis (RO) as a purification process (although there are some exceptions where I would recommend RO). To put this another way, the only thing that really matters is what is not in the filtered water that you drink. It doesn't matter whether your filter is one cylinder or five; whether it's six inches high or six feet; or whether it's made from carbon, platinum, or a technology developed by NASA or an alien race. The only thing that matters is that you're not drinking stuff that's bad for you.
A lot of false and misleading claims are made about water purification products. In order to compare different products, there are two sources that I trust. One is The Public Health and Safety Organization (NSF). The other is the California Department of Public Health. The very least that a filter should do is remove mercury, lead, VOCs (volatile organic chemicals), THMs (disinfection by products), arsenic, pesticides, PCBs, MTBE, chlorine and cysts (parasites).
I deal with a lot of companies, but the products that I recommend 95% of the time are made by Multipure Corp. for these simple reasons:
- They remove the greatest percentage of the widest range of contaminants of any product on the market, without removing minerals.
- Their operating cost is six cents a gallon and maintenance consists of changing a cartridge once a year or less.
- They come with a three-month unconditional money back guarantee and a lifetime replacement guarantee on defects in the filter housing.
- They can be obtained free of charge by purchasing six to 10 cartridges.
- They are tested and certified by the NSF.
For more information on my recommended water filters, visit jacobsonhealth.com.
— Rev. Bren Jacobson
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.