Filtered Water vs Bottled Water What's Better?


Water is a crucial part of our daily routine – but where you get it from makes a big difference. Learn why I typically shun bottled water in favor of filtered.

How Much Water Do You Need Daily?

Our body is 60% water, and we need it to survive.

When we are dehydrated,

  • we can become constipated,
  • low energy, and
  • even overeat (because we often confuse it for hunger).
  • Dehydration takes a toll on our skin, leaving it dry and weathered looking.

Adequate water consumption

  • helps speed waste through our colon,
  • gives us energy, and
  • prevents overeating.
  • It also keeps our skin looking fresh.

While eight glasses, or 2.5 liters of water are easy amounts to aim for, some health experts suggest that if you want to get specific, take your weight in pounds, divide it in two, and then you should drink that many ounces of water a day.

The Problems with Bottled Water

Bottled water is convenient, and I will occasionally drink it when I don’t have any other choice, but when I’m at home, it’s filtered tap water all the way.

There are a number of problems with bottled water.

  • You’re Paying for Tap: Forty-five percent of bottled water in the US is simply packaged municipal (tap) water. If your bottle says “drinking water” or “purified drinking water” that’s a sign it’s tap. Some of the largest packaged water brands, including Dasani and Aquafina are bottled municipal water. The other 55% is bottled from a natural source.
  • Controversial Chemicals from Plastic are Leaching into Your Water: Even if you do buy spring water or water bottled from a natural source, the biggest problem may be the plastic bottle. Plastic water bottles are made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polycarbonate, or polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which can leach chemicals into the water. The most controversial chemicals leached into the water are phthalates and BPA. Both phthalates and BPA mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt the hormones.

Phthlates have been linked to asthma, ADD, breast cancer, obesity, Type II diabetes, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. BPA has been linked to obesity, Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, allergy, asthma and general inflammation.

If a plastic bottle has a number 1, 3, 6, or 7 on the bottom, it could be leaching one of these (or other) chemicals into your beverage or food. (1, 2, 3, 4, ) Naturopathic doctor Marianne Marchese breaks down each of the plastic number and whats in them here. Dr. Mercola has a good break down as well, if you’re interested in further reading.

  • BPA May Reduce Chances of Having a Baby: According to a review of 91 studies published in Reproductive Toxicology, men and women undergoing in-vitro fertilization who had high levels of BPA in their blood, urine, and work environment were less likely to have a successful pregnancy, While more research is needed, research suggest that BPA interferes with various stages of pregnancy, such as fertilization and implantation. (5)

Plastic degrades in heat, so in summer months with warmer temperatures or in a hot car, the amount of chemicals released into the water increases.

  • The Environmental Impact: Only about 23% of plastic bottles are actually recycled, and the rest end up in landfills. (6)

You can avoid these issues by buying water bottled in glass bottles (like Mountain Valley Spring Water or certain Voss waters). You can avoid these issues and save money by buying a high quality filter and filtering your tap.

Why I Prefer Filtered Water vs. Bottled Water

Personally, I prefer filtered water over bottled water because I want to limit my exposure to BPA, phthalates, and plastic in general.

Because tap water is often contaminated with its own set of chemicals, it is imperative that you filter it.

First off, because our planet is unfortunately so polluted, even water from natural sources is often tainted with chemicals from agriculture, industry, run off, and urban sprawl.

Additionally, before it is piped into our homes, it is treated with chemicals that “make it safe for drinking”. While these chemicals help kill certain pathogens, they can end up causing toxic effects. Case in point? Chlorine.

In NYC, we are known for having “super clean” tap water…but the truth is, a glass of tap water here smells like a swimming pool, as it is loaded with chlorine.

The unintended side effect of chlorinating water to meet federal drinking water regulations is that  a family of chemicals known as trihalomethanes are created in the water. (7)

According to The Environmental Working Group, “Scientists suspect that trihalomethanes in drinking water may cause thousands of cases of bladder cancer every year. These chemicals have also been linked to colon and rectal cancer, birth defects, low birth weight and miscarriage.” (8)

The Best Water Filter

The best water filter for you depends on where you live…and ultimately what contaminants are in your tap water.

Find out what chemicals are in your local tap water with this database from The Environmental Working Group (EWG). It will allow you to look up your water quality by zip code, and even suggest proper water filters that will remove the contaminants. The finding a water filter part is a bit frustrating, though, as it doesn’t give you one recommendation, instead, you can see which filters filter out individual contaminants. You will likely need more than 1 type of filter to remove all of the contaminants.

My advice is to go for a multi-stage filter, which will end up removing the widest variety of contaminants, versus a pitcher-type filter.

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The Water Filter I Use

In NYC, according to the EWG there are 6 potentially cancer-causing contaminants. Five of which are by-products of chlorine and other disinfection agents.

I personally have been using a 4-stage filtration system that is hooked up to my tap under my sink, which filters out chlorine, fluoride, lead, mercury, rust, scale, and bacteria for the past 4-5 years (After it is installed, you just have to change the filters a few times a year). You can truly taste (and smell!) the difference.

However, now that this report has come out, I plan to add another filter  that will remove the chlorine and disinfectant by-products, specifically TTHM, chromium (hexavalent), and DCA/ HAA which are found in NYC tap water.

I have heard good things about AquaTru filter (the filter that can turn diet soda back into water) – although haven’t tried it myself. According to the company in their performance report, their filter has been vetted by an independent lab and appears to remove the majority of common contaminants – including many, (although not all), the contaminants in NYC water.

I’m still on the search for the perfect filter, but am happy with my 4-stage filtration for now. I will keep you updated on my search for the best option.

Do you have a favorite filter that removes most contaminants?

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Hi, I’m Maria and I’m an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

I help busy women lose weight or clear up their acne by developing healthier eating habits, based on a plant-based paleo diet.

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