Water - The Foundation of All Beverages

A beverage refers to any liquid that is suitable for drinking. However, although water is the foundation of all beverages, and is suitable for human consumption, there is some debate as to whether it is really a beverage in its own right.

Some define a beverage as a drink or a liquid to consume but often exclude drinking water from the list. On the other hand, water is said to be the most popular beverage in the world, closely followed by tea and coffee, both of which contain a large proportion of water. Other beverages include beer, liquor, juice, milk and soft drinks.

Nevertheless, whether water is a beverage or not, it is defintely a nutrient which human life depends. Water is more essential for living than food and without liquid, death will occur. On the other hand, a person going without food but still consuming water or other liquid beverages can survive for several months.

Water beverages fit for human consumption are available in a variety of forms and names. These include bottled water, tap water, mineral water, spring water and flavored water.

Bottled Water

There are several types of bottled water but all are defined as water intended for human consumption that is delivered in sealed food grade plastic or glass bottles. The Federal Food and Drug Administration in the USA classes bottled water as a food which means that it must adhere to strict FDA guidelines in respect of food safety, labeling and inspection requirements. Bottled water can be still, sparkling, spring, mineral, purified or artesian. Bottled waters must be calorie and sugar free but they are permitted to contain flavors, extracts or essences that are derived from fruit or spice. However, these additions must not exceed one percent by weight of the end product. Other than these extras, no other additives or sweeteners are permitted.

The following are FDA definitions of the various types of water used in bottled waters

Bottled Spring Water

Spring water must be derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth at an identified location. Spring water may be collected at the spring or through a bore hole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring.

Sparkling Bottled Water

Following treatment and possible replacement of carbon dioxide, sparkling water must contain the same quantity of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source.

Bottled Mineral Water

Mineral water is defined as containing not less than 250 ppm total naturally occuring dissolved solids that originate from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. Mineral water is characterized by constant levels and relative proportions of minerals and trace elements at the source. No additional minerals can be added to natural mineral water.

Artesian Water

Water from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

Purified Water

Also called demineralized water, deionized water, distilled water, or reverse osmosis water, this is water that is produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes and that meets the definition of purified water in the U.S. Pharmacopeia.

Any other bottled water that has extra carbonation added, soda water and tonic water are classed as soft drink beverages and are regulated by the FDA as such.