These days, people are keen to get more out of their water in the pursuit of health. So, brands like Smart Water hit the market with bottles of water that are meant to be of better quality than tap water.
Smart Water is seen as a cut above the rest when it comes to bottled water. But, is this popular brand of bottled water really all it’s cracked up to be? Surely, water is just water, right?
We’ll dive into what kinds of water they sell, and whether it really is better than other bottled water available.
The TLDR: Smart water contains electrolytes for more effective hydration – however, other brands also provide this. It’s not much smarter than other bottles of water in terms of reaping any extra health benefits, but if you like the cleaner taste then there’s no harm trying this brand.
- What is Smart Water?
- What kinds of Smartwater are there? Are they beneficial?
- What are the health benefits of Smartwater? Is Smart Water good for you?
- Is there a better alternative to Smart water?
- The Bottom Line
What is Smart Water?
Glaceau Smartwater is a popular bottled water brand selling distilled water made from spring water. Their parent company is Coca-Cola. They claim to have smart hydration choices for all kinds of people and activities.
Smartwater distills their spring water to purify it. Their process involves the hydrologic cycle. It also is said to have a perfect natural pH of 7. Pure water has a pH of seven, but often tape water and some bottled waters can deviate from this slightly.
Smartwater is a source of electrolytes. Electrolytes help to maintain the fluid balance in the body. Water with electrolytes tends to be more hydrating than water without them.
Smart water is sugar-free, sodium-free, gluten-free, fluoride-free, and GMO-free. They also are free from artificial flavors and artificial colors. It’s free from allergens including milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat. So far, these are all things that should apply to most water by default- if not all.
However, water – whether from the tap or plastic water bottles – can end up with fluoride, sodium, or even harmful chemicals. Lots of flavored water can even contain added sugars, which defeat the purpose of water being a healthy drink.
If you’re concerned about the environment, their water comes in plastic bottles which are 100% recyclable. However, lots of other plastic bottles from their competitors are recyclable too.
What kinds of Smartwater are there? Are they beneficial?
There are four main kinds of Smart Water drinks available. By default, their drinks are made from spring water put through vapor distillation.
Smartwater+ Clarity is bottled water that has added ginseng and green tea extracts. There are also added electrolytes. These come from calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and potassium bicarbonate.
Ginseng is an antioxidant and has been linked with reducing inflammation. Studies have even found that it might help strengthen the immune system. Green tea is also a source of antioxidants. Research has suggested that green tea drinkers could live longer than those who don’t drink it.
However, the amount of green tea and ginseng you would realistically get from this kind of smart water to feel the effects is probably negligible. It’s unlikely that all the water you drink throughout the day is going to be Smart Water. Drinking tea is a better way to score these extra nutrients.
Smart water’s alkaline water has been ionized to hit a pH of 9+, which is basic. Pure water will have a pH level of 7, which is neutral. But, it can deviate slightly due to the presence of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, or even because of contaminants. The rest of Smart Water’s bottled water is said to have a perfect pH of exactly 7.
Drinking alkaline water has grown in popularity over the years. While it may help ease acid reflux, many of the other so-called health benefits of alkaline water – such as having anti-aging properties, being good for bone health, and fighting cancer – are yet to be proven through scientific research. It technically is healthy, it’s just not extra beneficial.
Alkaline water may act as a buffer during physical activity. This means athletes can perform longer by offsetting the build-up of lactic acid. This is what results in cramping and fatigue during activity. However, many people will actually just add potassium bicarbonate or baking soda to their drinks to have this effect.
If you enjoy the taste of ionized alkaline water then go ahead, but many of the benefits are just over-hyped. Like their other products, Smartwater Alkaline is still distilled water that has been filtered. It will still contain the added minerals too.
Smartwater offer flavored drinks. These will also go through their vapor distillation process. The distillation process and added electrolytes seem to be the only substantial difference between Smart Water flavored drinks and many other flavored waters. Keep in mind that other brands could have added sugar to their flavored water, so read the label ingredients and nutritional label first.
The flavored drinks come in cucumber lime, strawberry blackberry, pineapple kiwi, and watermelon mint variations. These are said to be made using natural flavors. However, they do not provide more detail about the origins of the flavors on their website. Generally, research has suggested that natural flavors are safe for consumption.
While the original source of a natural flavor must come from an animal or plant, in the end, it can still end up being highly processed. That said, flavored water like this is a much better alternative than buying a bottle of Coca-Cola.
Smartwater Antioxidant has been infused with selenium, which is an antioxidant. Like other Smartwaters, it also contains electrolytes and is vapor distilled.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. Research has suggested it is even more potent than vitamins A and beta-carotene, as well as vitamins C and E. Selenium may even help to protect DNA from free-radical damage (which can cause premature aging). It may even reduce the risk of some kinds of cancer, atherosclerosis, and coronary ischemic disease.
However, the amount of this antioxidant you would realistically get from a bottle of water is quite low. Again, it’s not likely that all the water in your diet is going to be from Smart Water. While this product is better than nothing at all, the best way to add antioxidants to your diet and reap the health benefits is to eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables.
What are the health benefits of Smartwater? Is Smart Water good for you?
Smart Water is good for you as is mostly just because drinking water, in general, is good for you. If the main reason you struggle to drink water, in the long run, is because of the taste, then Smart Water could be a good way to maintain adequate hydration levels. Many people think smart water has a pleasant crisp taste, so it can make drinking water more palatable.
However, there are no major health benefits to drinking smart water that you won’t find in tap water or other bottled waters. Nor do they seem to promise that there are any other benefits either.
Their main goal seems to be to create delicious-tasting water that is tailored to your hydration needs; which seems to be the case. However, this can also easily be achieved by replenishing your electrolyte levels after strenuous activity.
The difference between mineral water and Smart Water is that they remove minerals during the distillation process, and then add them in again. Mineral water typically allows existing minerals to remain. Their water is vapor distilled so the water molecules are separated from naturally occurring minerals and impurities. The minerals added back into the filtered water might be “cleaner” as there are no contaminants, but there is no research to suggest that they are any healthier than regular water or mineral water. So, if you skip out on a bottle of smart water, you won’t be missing out on much.
Does Smart Water make you smarter?
It should go without saying, but Smart Water does not actually make its drinkers smarter. The goal of the product was how to make regular water “smarter” and more beneficial, not how to make its customers more intelligent. Smart Water does not suggest that its products can raise your IQ either, but, the brand name can be misleading for some.
With that said, hydration plays a key role in cognitive function. Studies have found that even mild dehydration can impair cognitive function and overall mood. This includes memory and vigilance, plus an increase in fatigue and anxiety. Not keeping hydrated can also cause headaches, which will certainly affect concentration and mood.
So, Smart Water in particular won’t make you any smarter. However, drinking water, in general, will keep you feeling sharp and refreshed.
Is Smart Water Better than Tap Water?
Given that smart water is vapor-distilled, it could be better than some tap water. This is because impurities, heavy metals or other contaminants have been removed so it is cleaner. Plus, the added electrolytes make it a better source of hydration.
With that said, Smart water is not essential in this scenario. A good water filter will remove impurities from your tap water. You can add lemon or lime juice for some electrolytes to improve the taste.
Is Smartwater Better Than Bottled Water & Spring Water?
Generally, a lot of bottled water does not have added minerals and electrolytes (with the exception of mineral water). This means it is more beneficial when it comes to rehydrating yourself after intense exercise as electrolytes are lost in sweat. However, Smart Water is not the only bottled water consumers have to choose from if this is their goal. It does not appear to have any nutrients that are substantially different or more beneficial than its competitors either.
If you’re trying to save money but are still interested in buying bottled water, other brands can offer almost the same thing for a fraction of the price.
Is there a better alternative to Smart water?
You can save money and skip the Smart Water. Spring water from generic bottled water companies will also contain hydrating minerals like potassium. If you like alkaline water, there are also lots of other brands to choose from.
You can also add some ingredients to your own tap water to give it a nutritional boost. For example, adding lemon, lime and mint for extra antioxidants, electrolytes, and vitamin C.
With that said, there really isn’t much of a need to be trying to get even more out of water than there already is. The point of water is to keep the body hydrated. If you want to nourish your body so you have more energy, eat well, and be active.
The Bottom Line
If you genuinely enjoy the taste of Smart Water, then feel free to keep drinking it. However, it’s really not much “smarter” than other bottled waters containing spring water. They might add in some minerals to make it more hydrating, but they’re not alone in this. Just like they’re not alone in selling alkaline water. So, if you only have access to tap water or a cheaper variation of spring water, don’t fret – it is not much you’re missing out on.