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Is Alkaline Water Worth Its Price Tag?

For as long as I can remember, I've always had a love-hate relationship with drinking water.

I Tried It

For as long as I can remember, I've always had a love-hate relationship with drinking water. I've always had to make the conscious effort to drink water – it wasn't something I was ever programmed to do, even though I knew it was the right thing to do. Growing up, not many adults around me pushed the "drinking water" agenda. I don't want to dive into the learned unhealthy eating (and drinking) habits that plagues the black community but I kind of picked up this lack of water drinking from home and have always been on the mission to change it.

However, years later, I am finding myself in a bit of a conundrum as I address my water drinking habits: should I buy whatever water is on sale or should I buy the "superior" water because I look forward to drinking it? In my broke college days, the obvious answer was get whatever is on sale. Now that I have a little bit less of a strong hold on my money, the question is, should I spend more on water that I prefer (and promises to benefit me more)?

Through some pre-grocery shopping research, I found this now eye-opening chart of the pH levels of various waters on the market:

I wasn't 100% sure what these pH levels meant, but it dawned on me that those "expensive" waters that I've always favored all had pH levels of 7 or higher, which is considered alkaline. That fact that all the waters that I prefered were alkaline intrigued me to dig a little deeper into this whole alkaline water thing.

By definition, alkaline means "having the properties of an alkali, or containing alkali; having a pH greater than 7." pH level pertains to how acidic or alkaline a substance is. When water is alkaline, although it can naturally occur in nature, for most bottled water, the end result is replicated through a chemical process called electrolysis.

Here are the pH levels of my 3 favorite bottled water brands:

  1. Core - 7
  2. Fiji - 7.5
  3. Essentia - 9.5

There are a few claimed health benefits of alkaline water but there is little to no scientific research to show they are actually real. Some of the alleged benefits of alkaline water include:

  • Superior and quicker hydration compared to regular water
  • Immune system boosting properties (neutralizing the body's acidity due to poor diet, stress and toxins)
  • Slowing down the process of aging with antioxidants (alkaline water is rich in antioxidants)
  • Improved skin health

I decided the only way for me to really know if these claims were true was to drink alkaline water for two weeks and see for myself.

Through my research, I found that Essentia was the most alkaline water on the market. For this experiment, I drank primarily Essentia water, so it may be possible that's a major factor in my results. In my local convenience store, one 33 ounce bottle of Essentia water would typically cost me $3. In the past, I've also bought 6 bottles from Target for about $10.99. As I mentioned, I preferred the taste of high pH level water like Essentia, so I was open to spending the extra cash.

By day 3, I was drinking two-three 33.8oz bottles of Essentia water a day. Here's what I experienced during the two weeks that I drank alkaline water:

I did not lose weight.

Let's just get that out the way. I didn't magically get snatched or shed water weight drinking bottles of alkaline water everyday. It would probably take much more time and some cleaning up of my diet in order to experience these kind of results from drinking alkaline water.

However, I did feel and look less bloated.

To some, this may be just as good as actually losing weight. After week one, I did feel like I looked slimmer. Even during my period, when I usually feel as big as a house, my stomach wasn't bulging. I was very happy about that.

My skin did not magically clear up.

Many people think that drinking alkaline water (and a ton of water period) is the magical answer to clear skin but it's not. At least from my experience, my skin still was having minor breakouts and congestion on the right side of my face as it usually tends to. My skin was less problematic during my period but drinking alkaline water did not save me from hormonal breakouts. It wasn't as bad as it had been in the past but I've also been putting more effort into my skincare as of late with the major changes in weather.

Also, drinking a ton of alkaline water did not magically hydrate my skin. Though my skin this time of year has the tendency to be much worse than it is now, I still had to load up on moisturizer to keep my skin hydrated in freezing NYC weather. However, my lips, which usually show the first signs of dehydration, were very hydrated this time of the year. This was a shocker to me and might be because of the alkaline water.

Surprising to me, my menstrual cramps were significantly reduced. 

This wasn't something that I was expecting. Usually when my period is coming, I can tell a few days to a week before because I usually have cramps and backaches. It's been that way for as long as I can remember, and for the first time, I couldn't clock my cycle. The Essentia water is loaded with electrolytes, which have been known to ease period cramps. Alkaline water is made through electrolysis or adding electrolytes to water, so I'm confident that drinking so much alkaline water around my period helped ease my pains.

My energy levels have increased without feeling the need for caffeine.

Usually in order to get through the madness of the day, I have to have coffee, tea, or even a Red Bull first thing in the morning and throughout the day to survive. Once I started getting in the habit of drinking alkaline water, I didn't feel the "need" for caffeine and drastically decreased my intake without struggling to be productive.

My urge for sugary drinks decreased.

This probably was my favorite result for this experiment. Over the summer time, I became a chronic soda and juice drinker (thanks to the plethora of brunches and happy hours). It's been hard to curb my craving for sugary drinks but upping my water intake has helped tremendously. In fact, by week two, I found myself thinking about reaching for water before sugary drinks. I was only planning on doing this for two weeks but considering it usually takes 21 days or more to break a bad habit, I'm going to continue drinking alkaline water until drinking water is second nature and not a forced act.

Getty Images

My final thoughts on drinking alkaline water:

Though I didn't experience all the benefits that people attribute to drinking alkaline water, I'm very happy with the things it did do. My lips haven't been chronically dry as they usually are when temperatures go below 40 in New York. It was also nice finding that it "cured" my menstrual cramps without me having to result to medication. Alkaline water will definitely be heavy in my diet around my period for this reason. Lastly, I haven't reached for my morning coffee as much, which may have been the most surprising result yet.

If you can afford to drink alkaline water regularly and enjoy it, go for it. Buying it bottled of course is the easiest way to drink it but you can also add baking soda to regular water to alkalize it or purchase alkaline drops to alkalize water at home, I would recommend having bottled alkaline water strictly for on the go so you won't be emptying your pockets on bottle water.

Although regular water is considered best for most people, due to my personal taste preferences, drinking alkaline water is ideal for me. It has significantly helped me increase my water intake because I genuinely prefer the taste. I only intended on doing this for a couple of weeks for this experiment, but I'm so happy with my results, I'm making drinking alkaline water an official lifestyle change.

Disclosure: In order to conduct this experiment to the best of my ability, I reached out to Essentia Water to provide a two-week supply of alkaline water. The experiment was initiated by myself and these are my honest results.

Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)

Featured image by Shutterstock

Originally published on January 2, 2019

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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