‘Raw Water’ Is Having a Moment, and We Need to Talk About It
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Look, we’re no stranger to the raw food craze—sushi is our lunch go-to, and we’re all about tasty no-bake cookies (and edible cookie dough while we’re at it). But the latest trend for raw water (sometimes called the “water-consciousness movement”) has us asking all kinds of questions. Namely, WTF is going on?

So, what is it? Raw water is water that is unfiltered, untreated and unsterilized. Find it in your nearest babbling brook or from companies like this one that sells it to people in Silicon Valley and L.A. for $16 per jug.

That seems expensive. Is raw water loaded with nutrients? Erm, no. It does, however, potentially contain bacteria, parasites, animal feces and other contaminants, so there’s that.

But there must be some health benefits, right? Proponents say that raw water contains beneficial minerals that are removed from filtered or treated water, and that it doesn’t contain any of the chemicals (like fluoride) typically added to tap water. Scientists, nutritionists and pretty much everyone say that raw water is a terrible idea. That’s because untreated water may include microorganisms that cause diseases like giardiasis, cholera and typhoid fever. And while raw water may indeed contain trace minerals, experts say that you can get all the minerals you need from a healthy diet.

Bottom line: Paying big bucks to drink water that may contain harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses? Pass. We’ll just stick to good old tap water and salad, thank you very much.

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