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Stiftung Warentest examined and compared 29 still mineral waters in its current magazine "Test". The sobering result: tap water contains more minerals than bought still water. In addition, consumer advocates found germs in some water bottles that are not problematic for healthy people, but can pose a health risk for sick and infants. The comparison also shows that tap water is usually better than many assume.
Still mineral water often contains too little sodium
A comparison of the 29 types of mineral water has shown that tap water often contains more minerals than bought still water. Still water is still a trend drink, the sale of which has increased by 14 percent since 2011, says Stiftung Warentest. The investigation showed that only one of the 29 waters had a high mineral content. This product is the only one that can "make a noteworthy contribution to supplying bones with calcium and muscles with magnesium", report the consumer advocates. But this water also contains little sodium, which is particularly important for athletes, as they would lose larger amounts of the mineral when sweating. 24 other waters would also be advertised as “low in sodium”. According to the manufacturers, they are particularly suitable for people with high blood pressure.
Stiftung Warentest sees EU-wide regulations as the reason for the low mineral content of the still water, according to which a water can be called "mineral water" even if it contains only small amounts of minerals. According to the earlier German regulations, water had to have a higher mineral content.
Tap water is cheaper and often contains fewer germs
The consumer advocates have tested both still mineral water from the discounter and common brands of various supermarket chains. The price was also striking. Cheap varieties are available from 13 cents per liter, while expensive products are paid up to 74 cents per liter.
Another minus point that Stiftung Warentest found in more than a third of the water tested was the bacterial load in the bottles. The germs are unproblematic for healthy people, but they could lead to health problems in sick or infants. In order to avoid this, the water would have to be boiled before drinking, according to the consumer advocates. From a purely legal point of view, the germ load is permissible as long as there are no pathogens among them.
The decrease in acetaldehyde from the plastic bottles, which can detach from the plastic and pass into the water, is positive, so that the taste is impaired. The substance was only detected in six of the waters tested, but only in small amounts that were unproblematic in terms of both health and taste.
How much water do people need?
A person's water needs depend on their body mass, physical condition, activity and climate. The World Health Organization (WHO) specifies two liters of water per day for an adult weighing 60 kg when there is a high demand. For a child who weighs ten kilograms, the daily requirement is one liter. (ag)
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