Is Smartwater Any Good At All?

During a medical procedure some time back, my wife’s doctor told her to stay hydrated and recommended she drink Gatorade or Smartwater. (Or is it “Smart water”? Even Glaceau, now a subsidiary of Coca-Cola, can’t seem to decide.) We know from its advertising campaign exactly how Gatorade was invented, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that it actually works. We also know that the early formulations were so horrible that they made people throw up — i.e. when you stick enough electrolytes in water to make a serious difference, and you don’t balance it out with something else, the resulting concoction makes people vomit. Why? Well, because it’s basically salt water.

Smartwater claims to have electrolytes in it. I’m sure it has some electrolytes in it, but the question is are there enough to make a medical difference? I have serious doubts and can find no evidence to support any claims for Smartwater being any superior to tap water or other bottled waters except for claims by nutcases and obvious shills.

Searching the web for answers is no use. Almost no-one who cares about bottled water seems to have two brain cells to rub together. Someone will ask a question on Yahoo Answers or some similar website about the product and get replies from people who haven’t even bothered to read the label (no, it’s not probably distilled, it is totally frackingly obviously distilled because it says so on the label) or joke about how it’s overpriced on the basis that all bottled water is overpriced. Yeah dude, I get that, but what do you think the profit margin on soda is? Well, it’s not like I’ve ever found a useful response to any kind of question on a website like that.

I did find an interesting blog entry on the topic. Although purportedly about Smartwater, the entry only gets to its alleged subject in the second-last paragraph, being mainly a swipe at bottled waters in general. When it does criticize Smartwater it seems to lump it in the same category as Gatorade and argues that it’s overkill for ordinary people. It did quote a chemist from UCSB (but Dr. Laverman appeared to be talking about Gatorade, not Smartwater), whom I am attempting to contact. I’ll update this entry if I receive any more information.

Anyway, I leave you with two bits of information that might be relevant:

Smartwater has some amount of Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, and Potassium Bicarbonate in it. First of all, if you dissolve a bunch of this stuff in water, calcium will react with carbonate and precipitate out, and the extra CO2 will make the water fizzy. There’s obviously not enough of these salts in Smartwater to have that effect. Second, you might wonder what this stuff tastes like. Well, according to Wikipedia, calcium chloride tastes extremely salty, magnesium chloride tastes bitter, and potassium bicarbonate tastes slightly alkaline. (Other equilibrium products, such as potassium chloride, are also salty.) Smart water isn’t salty, despite using even saltier salts than Gatorade uses from which we might conclude that it’s not going to have enough electrolytes to make a difference.

Second, Glaceau’s other products are all highly dubious. E.g. its “Vitamin Water” is sweetened with “crystalline fructose” which sounds really cool, right? “Crystals” are obviously healthy. Of course “crystalline fructose” is what you get by dehydrating high fructose corn syrup. If these guys were trying to make a genuinely healthy drink, they sure didn’t try very hard.

So, based on circumstantial evidence at least, Smartwater is a confidence trick. It’s certainly not much worse in this respect than any bottled water, but it’s pretty sad that some doctors seem to have fallen for it.

Post Script

I contacted Glaceau directly and received the following information from Glaceau customer relations:

we add a unique and purposeful combination of electrolytes to smartwater®. one liter of smartwater® contains 10mg of potassium, 10mg of calcium, and 15mg of magnesium.

By contrast, Gatorade contains 440mg of sodium and 120mg of potassium per litre. Evian contains 78mg of calcium, 24mg of magnesium, and 4mg of sodium, but makes no claims about electrolytes. Indeed, from what I can tell, smartwater contains less in the way of electrolytes than most typical mineral or spring waters you might buy, and probably less than your tap water.

  • Prescott Bush

    pure water is what is good for the body. H2O and it is the responsibility of us to eat the high alkaline diet, there is no magic trick to eat wrong and drink high PH just to try to keep an alkaline diet. Filtered rain water and distilled water are the 2 most purest forms of water, closest to our natural state before we corrupted ourselves with drinking filth and water that leaves mineral deposits in our organs (arthritis, it stores in the joints, kidney problems it stores in the kidneys aka kidney stones, and for hand tremors and body tremors and internal tremors it stores and upsets the nervous system).

    the alkaline PH levels are big on the internet, however, in our natural human state pure water is best and it is best to eat a high alkaline diet. unless you have cancer that you are trying to over alkalize to kill the cancer, sure. but most folks best to drink PURE water (distilled) and then eat properly as humans should in our created natural state, vegetables, fruits, plenty of fresh air and sunshine. no pork, ever. and no unclean meat, no drugs, no steroid meats, if you can find any these days in usa. but as for water many people focus on the PH levels because they are ignorantly considering the PH factor more important than the PURE and CLEAN factor. see youtube video called “Distilled Water vs. Filtered Water vs Bottled – The Journey of Water Documentary” and be prepared to be shocked. Oh and pure water is #1 best solvent to cleanse the body it is called HUNGRY WATER and actually goes into each nook and cranny looking for toxins and filth to cleanse and pass out our body. PH waters that are filthy chemical treated tap water basically (that is 99.9% all bottled water on the market in USA) will not be seeking out toxins to cleanse because it is putting filth in us, virus, bacteria, and dirt. looks clear because it is chemically treated. USE DISTILLED WATER, and watch your health problems disappear and eat alkaline foods, cut out processed acid forming foods all together, just like you would cut out cigarettes. all poison and not for human consumption even if we are desensitized to think otherwise. so in regards to water: think PURE first, leave the PH up to our diet. not the other way around. PEACE.