I've heard friends talk about switching to raw water. Why is this so popular?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

While the U.S. has one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world, concerns over lead and other contaminants have led some to seek alternatives to tap water. As a result, drinking unprocessed water, also referred to as raw or live water, has become a trend.

Raw water often comes directly from springs or streams and is not treated as tap water is. Proponents of raw water say it contains beneficial bacteria and natural minerals.

However, public health experts warn that water from springs, streams and rivers can contain disease-causing bacteria, as well as viruses and parasites. Diarrhea is the most common illness linked to contaminated water and causes more than 500,000 deaths globally each year.

Infants, young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of illness from contaminated water. For these individuals, treated water is a safer choice.

If you are concerned about the safety of your local water, you can request a water report, called a Consumer Confidence Report, from your local water utility. This report lists the levels of contaminants that have been detected in the water and whether the system meets federal and local safety standards.

May 22, 2019 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. MIND diet may cut Alzheimer's risk
  2. 3 diet changes women over 50 should make right now
  3. 3 key changes in the new Nutrition Facts label
  4. Healthy-eating habits
  5. Reduce sugar in your diet
  6. Acai berries
  7. Added sugar
  8. Alcohol use
  9. Alkaline water
  10. Are energy drinks bull?
  11. Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes
  12. Autism spectrum disorder and digestive symptoms
  13. Bad food habits at work? Get back on track in 5 easy steps
  14. Best oil for cooking?
  15. 2015-2020 Dietary guidelines
  16. Boost your calcium levels without dairy? Yes you can!
  17. Breast-feeding nutrition: Tips for moms
  18. Caffeine: How much is too much?
  19. Is caffeine dehydrating?
  20. Calorie calculator
  21. The role of diet and exercise in preventing Alzheimer's disease
  22. Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
  23. Carbohydrates
  24. Chart of high-fiber foods
  25. Cholesterol: Top foods to improve your numbers
  26. Coconut water: Healthy drink or marketing scam?
  27. Coffee and health
  28. Diet and overactive bladder
  29. Diet soda: How much is too much?
  30. Dietary fats
  31. Dietary fiber
  32. Prickly pear cactus
  33. Does soy affect breast cancer risk?
  34. Don't get tricked by these 3 heart-health myths
  35. Don't go cuckoo for coconut water
  36. Make healthy snack choices
  37. Eat more of these key nutrients
  38. Eating well with COPD
  39. Eggs: Bad for cholesterol?
  40. Energy drinks
  41. Fat grams
  42. For a healthy gut, feed the good bugs
  43. Fiber: Soluble or insoluble?
  44. Fish and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  45. Fit more fiber into your diet
  46. Foods for healthy skin
  47. Grape juice health benefits
  48. Is chocolate healthy?
  49. Healthy heart for life: Avoiding heart disease
  50. Healthy-eating tip: Don't forget fiber
  51. High-fructose corn syrup
  52. High-protein diets
  53. Alcohol during the holidays: 4 ways to sip smarter
  54. Holiday weight: How to maintain, not gain
  55. Takeout containers
  56. Is there more to hydration than water?
  57. Juicing is no substitute for whole foods
  58. Juicing
  59. Depression and diet
  60. Limit bad fats, one step at a time
  61. Make food labels required reading
  62. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  63. MUFAs
  64. Multigrain vs. whole grain
  65. Need a snack? Go nuts!
  66. Need more fiber? Take 3 steps
  67. Nutrition Facts label
  68. Nutrition rules that will fuel your workout
  69. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  70. Omega-3 in fish
  71. Omega-6 fatty acids
  72. Phenylalanine
  73. Play it safe when taking food to a loved one in the hospital
  74. Protein: Heart-healthy sources
  75. Healthy eating plans
  76. Reduce sugar in your diet
  77. Health foods
  78. Portion control
  79. Planning healthy meals
  80. High-fiber diet
  81. Social eating can be healthy and enjoyable
  82. Sodium
  83. Sodium: Look beyond the saltshaker
  84. Stevia
  85. Tap water or bottled water: Which is better?
  86. Taurine in energy drinks
  87. Time to cut back on caffeine?
  88. Time to scale back on salt?
  89. Trans fat
  90. Underweight: Add pounds healthfully
  91. Want a healthier dinnertime? Science says change your eating space
  92. Daily water requirement
  93. Functional foods
  94. What is a good ileostomy diet?
  95. What is clean eating?
  96. What's considered moderate alcohol use?
  97. What's the difference between juicing and blending?
  98. Why does diet matter after bariatric surgery?
  99. Working out? Remember to drink up
  100. Yerba mate