Magical (Properties of) Water – Part 1

Essentia Water Label


I bought this water at Whole Foods in Chapel Hill, which was conveniently in the same mall as the knitting store, Knit a Bit. I love wandering around places like Whole Foods to see what new and wonderful food I can buy. Their produce section is typically bigger than my house. It is very inspiring for a vegetarian food scientist.

I had to buy this water because of its ‘health’ claims. As I realise the above image is too small to read, I expanded each section and added commentary.


Front Detail

The ultimate drinking water, cor. I must drink a lot of this. Is it like Ultimate Frisbee? The water is purified enhanced using ionic separation. While they have nice diagrams of their purification method, it does not give details on their method of ionic separation. I assume it must be the same technique by which we obtain deionized water for the lab, which removes ions from water. Essentia then added electrolytes. Which are, aha, ions.


Nutrition Facts:

Essentia nutrition facts

Well, this water contains no nutrients. Not one. Nada. Unless you consider water to be a nutrient, of course.



Essentia ingredients

Electrolytes can’t be derived from sodium bicarbonate etc. as these are pure molecules. They are only derived from these molecules because in solution, any water based solution, the molecules become ionized producing Na+, HCO3 etc.

Electrolytes are important, Essentia’s website says so:

In a battery, the electrolyte fluid, creates an electrochemical pathway between one pole (+) and another (-). Electrolytes, minerals and salts do the same thing between your body’s cells in a network many billions of times more complex-and critical to maintaining normal blood pressure, restful sleep, proper cardiac rhythm, muscle strength, endocrine balance, intestinal function and more.

And more:

Essentia Water has been specifically formulated to rapidly restore intracellular fluids to their optimum state by taking advantage of the process the body naturally uses, the phenomenon of osmosis. Essentia Water has been designed to simulate intracellular fluid electrolyte concentrations. Solutions that have identical osmotic pressures are said to be isotonic solutions. For optimal and rapid replenishment of intracellular fluids and electrolytes, the replenishing fluid must be isotonic with intracellular fluids. [Their emphasis.]

So their you have it, electrolytes are a good thing. Actually, are they actually saying anything? After reading the first paragraph, I have this image of my cells having positive and negative poles with molecules lining up to the appropriate cathode or anode. I think not.

While Essentia don’t get into the details of ozonation, it is explained by the American Water Works [I must stop laughing. Waterworks is what my grandma called it when she need to pee or if I cried too much: “Switch off those waterworks, Lab Cat”] Association in this fact sheet. Unfortunately, this is the same method used by Coke to produce Dasani water in England. It caused bromate to form in the already pure and clean Thames tap water. Bromate is a potential carcinogen. Great, bottle free tap water, charge 95p per liter adding a carcinogen at no extra charge. Good thing none of those added electrolytes is bromide.

The statement about this water being bottled according the the requirements of the USEPA is a red herring. Bottled water is actually regulated by the FDA since it counts as a food. As this document shows, the EPA requires the FDA to adopt EPA’s water quality standards. This means that this water is a pure and clean as your faucet water. While searching for this information, I found this very informative document (pdf).

There is more…but that will have to wait for a second post. Too much information, not enough time.



Too Much Water

I mentioned in a previous post how much water we should drink but I don’t think I emphasized enough that you can have too much water. Now some one died after drinking too much water as part of a competition to win a Wii. It isn’t worth it! Orac has a couple of posts (1 & 2) and Radagast explains what goes wrong when you drink too much water.

It really is a stupid way to die!

Water Activity

With the introdution of water activity, Food Scientists defined a unique and important property of food. It is also unique to Food Science as you do not meet this terminology in many other scientific disciplines. According to Chambers Dictionary of Science and Technology, water activity (Food Sci) is: Continue reading

Water Cycle

At the Clearwater Festival back in June reminded me about one of the most important aspects of water and that is the water cycle. My memory was also aided by the fact that Delaware NEEDS rain, NOW. My garden is dying. My blackberries are dying. So consider this post a raindance!

We are introduced to the idea of the water cycle at primary (elementary) school. The simplest form is: Continue reading

Water is Unique

So how does hydrogen bonding cause water’s uniqueness?

The presence of hydrogen bonds means that more energy is required to convert ice to water and water to steam than for other molecules of a similar size (e.g. methane). So water has a higher melting point and boiling point. This is good for us as it means that water (the liquid) is available at most of Earth’s ambient temperatures.

Another effect of hydrogen bonding is the density of ice versus water. We are all familiar with the ice floating on the top of a drink such as water or coke or scotch. This happens because ice is less dense than water. That means there is less weight per unit of volume. In other words, 1 ml of ice weighs less than 1 ml of water. What would happen if, as for many compounds, the solid form of water was denser than its liquid form? Continue reading

Water Chemistry – Hydrogen Bonding

Perviously I have discussed water’s nutritional properties and how much we should be drinking. This post is a beginning of a series on water chemistry. I’ve been putting off this post because water chemistry is so complicated. Fascinating but complicated.

The easy bit. Hopefully most people realise that water is made up of two chemicals, hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). There are two hydrogen molecules for each oxygen so water can be represented as H2O.

A single water molecule is typically drawn looking a bit like Mikey Mouse with grey hydrogen ears and blue face:


Continue reading