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A Look At Bottled Water

With record high summer temperatures sweeping the nation, there's no better time to stay well hydrated and studies show Americans are shelling out ten thousand dollars, every minute of every day, on commercial water.

But with so many bottled waters on the market, it's hard to know what's a gimmick and what's really a worthwhile sip. Robin Vitetta-Miller, Contributing Editor to Health magazine, visits The Early Show to give us the nutritional breakdown on various bottled waters.

Drinking several glasses of water a day has long been touted by health professionals as one of the best things you can do for your body.
First, we were filling our cups at the kitchen sink, and then came bottled water, a supposedly healthier version of what we were getting from our at-home taps.

Today, the number of different bottled waters on the market rival that of soda. From spring water to fruit water to vitamin water, it's hard to know what is just a marketing gimmick and what's truly good for us. Many health experts are divided on the issue.

Vitetta-Miller has done extensive research on water. She says most of the bottled waters on the market are good for you (excluding Caffeine Water), but many don't do what they claim to, so when shopping for a sip, it's just a matter of what tastes good to you.

Tap water undergoes painstaking purification (the EPA checks for 90 known contaminants in all public water supplies and suppliers can't supply water if any contaminants are present), so it's actually quite good. Fact is, over 90 percent of water systems in the U.S. meet the EPA's standard for tap water quality, says Vitetta-Miller.

But tap water isn't as easily transportable, and the more accessible water is, the more likely we are to drink the amount we need, thus the need for bottled water. Today, there are "fitness waters" available that promise to replenish the body after a workout.

The following are Vitetta-Miller's nutritional breakdown on the various bottled waters:

Penta Water by Bio Hydration Research Lab - Penta is modified thin water with added oxygen. The claim is that since the water molecules are so small, they're better absorbed into our body's cells, resulting in quicker re-hydration, faster delivery of oxygen and better removal of wastes. It's too soon to tell whether this really works. The research is not in yet. This would be good to drink if you just went running.

Propel Water By Gatorade - Made from purified water, it's enhanced with three different B vitamins and vitamins C and E (both anti-oxidants). Anti-oxidants prevent cells from oxidizing and can prevent cancer, heart disease, etc. There are a fair amount of anti-oxidants in this water. Propel is targeted towards healthy folks who just want to stay hydrated while sneaking in a few extra vitamins. It's unlike Penta Water or Gatorade, a sports drink geared towards athletes looking to quench thirst, replace fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat and obtain energy for working muscles.

Vitamin Water - Vitamin waters cannot replace your daily dose of vitamins or vegetables. But it can be a legitimate extra boost. You get no fiber from these waters. It's always best to get your nutrients from food, not supplements or enhanced beverages, although some varieties pack a good dose of vitamins A, B C, E, and zinc. If you are someone who doesn't take any vitamins and you drink this and have a bowl of fortified cereal in the a.m. you may be all set. If you take vitamin water and a handful of vitamins, however, there might be a risk of over-supplementing, but only with the fat-soluble vitamins A and E. So it's best to read labels, and/or limit your consumption of highly fortified beverages if you're already taking a multivitamin or other enhanced products.

Fruit2o by Veryfine - Fruit2o is natural spring water with a touch of fruit and Splenda artificial sweetener, all natural, better than Sacrine and with zero calories. Calorie content in fruit-flavored waters varies, and many have just a few calories. But be sure to read labels to make sure there's not added sugar. That's where the calories come in. Fruit water is not a bad choice for people who need "help" drinking water (the flavor makes it more enjoyable). If a glass of water with lemon never worked for you, maybe this will.

Caffeine Water by Water Joe, Buzz And Niagara - If you need a quick fix, this water has 60 mg of caffeine in a cup, same as in a cup of coffee. It's only better than coffee or soda in that it wouldn't stain your teeth. But caffeine is caffeine. If you're trying to re-hydrate or stay hydrated, it's not the right choice.

Baby Water by Beechnut and Gerber - This water is treated with ozone to make it safe, but it's not necessarily sterile.

Just remember: bottled water isn't cheap, so know what you're buying. It may not be worth $3 a bottle.