Australia's purest water

By Dr Joanna McMillan

Joanna is a registered nutritionist and dietician with a PhD in nutritional science from the University of Sydney. She is the resident nutrition expert for Channel 9’s Today Show, contributor to magazines including Life Etc and Slimming & Health and author of numerous books including Inner Health Outer Beauty, Star Foods and the Low GI Diet.

My husband drinks one of the Italian sparkling mineral waters by the case—so much so that our kids even ask for glasses of “sparkles”. He just loves the taste but many others choose a still or sparkling mineral water believing it to be healthier than other water. But do the minerals actually do us any good? The answer is probably no.

The levels of individual minerals may vary slightly from brand to brand, but overall the levels are extremely low compared to our requirements for each. For example my husband’s favourite brand contains the following minerals per litre of water:

  • 36.2mg calcium – that’s only about 3% of the recommended intake.
  • 0.9mg chloride – we do have a small requirement for chloride but most adults have a chloride intake of 3500mg or greater, so the level in this water really makes no impact. High levels along with sodium are thought to induce high blood pressure.
  • 18.4mg magnesium – 4-6% the recommended intake and so for magnesium the level found in the water is relevant. But consider that you would have to drink a whole litre of mineral water to get this much magnesium, whereas in just one slice of wholegrain bread you’ll get about 20mg.
  • 0.5mg potassium – an adequate intake for women is considered to be 2800mg and for men 3800mg so this level is hardly even worth mentioning.
  • 0.6mg sodium – this level is almost negligible, although for those on very low sodium diets they would want to check the amount in any mineral water they consume. We really have no need for any more salt in our diets – most of us have way too much as it is.

So really the levels of minerals present in mineral water make very little impact when we consider how much we really need. Furthermore we probably absorb even less because these minerals are all present together—they compete for uptake making it highly unlikely that our bodies can make much use of these trace amounts at any rate.

What minerals, and particularly the bicarbonate present, do is give the water a distinct taste and being slightly alkaline some people find it aids digestion and eases heartburn and other symptoms of indigestion. However there really is no health benefit of consuming mineral water over other waters. It’s all a matter of taste and whether you like the ‘sparkles’ or not.

One final point to consider however is that many bottled waters do not undergo such rigorous testing as tap water. They are therefore not necessarily any safer. In contrast, Pureau water is tested daily by an accredited government laboratory—it’s the only water in Australia that guarantees that it is 100% free of all impurities. You may also like to consider the environmental impact of both the plastic bottles used and the fuel use in freighting them around the world. By ensuring that the majority of its sales are in 5 and 10 litre cardboard casks, Pureau has much less of an environmental impact. Read more about the environmental benefits of choosing water in a cardboard cask here.