Distilled water vs alkaline water – what is the difference?

We often get asked if alkaline water is better for you than distilled water due to the pH level, so we have decided to clear things up for you in this article. 

What is distilled water? 

Distilled water is created by boiling any water and then turning the vapour back into water through condensation. Distilled water is free of toxins and minerals. It is the purest water available. 

How to make distilled water? 

The easiest way to make distilled water is by using a water distiller. It usually costs about 9p per litre in electricity - considerably cheaper than bottled water. Our distillers hold 4L of water, so you pay roughly 36p per distillation. Explore our range of water distillers here

You can also buy distilled water online  - it usually costs about £1 per litre. Although the plastic containers it comes in are generally not food grade.

Remember: all bottled water in plastic bottles contains microplastics.

What is alkaline water?

Alkaline water is essentially tap water that has been filtered to increase the pH level of the water to make it alkaline. This process does not remove minerals or impurities, but most of the machines use a charcoal carbon filter which removes VOCs (volatile organic compounds such as human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals and refrigerants). 

How to make alkaline water? 

Alkaline water can be bought in many food stores. It is also widely available online. 

You can purchase water ionizers which would save you time and prevent you from buying plastic bottles

Alternatively, if you are looking for a cheaper method, you could add pH drops or baking soda. 

The pH level of alkaline water vs distilled water

The pH level is a number that measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is on a scale of 0 to 14. For example, something with a pH of 1 would be very acidic and something with a pH of 13 would be very alkaline.

Tap water generally has a pH of 7 (neutral). 

Alkaline water has a pH of 8 or 9. Because of that, alkaline water is believed to have anti-aging, colon-cleansing and detoxifying properties. It is supposed to neutralize the acid in your body, help your immune system as well as promote weight loss and cancer resistance. Currently there is no verified scientific evidence to support the many health claims of alkaline water. 

Distilled water at the moment of distillation is pH7 - neutral. Soon after the distillation is completed, a very small amount of the distilled water will bond with atmospheric carbon dioxide to make a very small amount of carbonic acid, much less than you would get with a carbonated drink for example but enough to push distilled water to pH6. That is about the same as most fish, meat, bananas and asparagus. To put it in perspective Coca Cola (and most fizzy drinks) has pH 2.5.

The benefits of distilled and alkaline water 


Benefits of alkaline water 
Benefits of distilled water
Reduces acid reflux 
Distillation removes bacteria and chemicals
Reduced blood pressure and diabetes
Reduced risk of waterborne viruses 
Boosted immunity
No VOCs

Improved bodily functions 

Prevents kidney stones 

Great for people with low immunity

The risks of distilled and alkaline water


Risks of alkaline water 
Risks of distilled water
It can alter natural stomach acidity
Minerals and electrolytes are removed during the distillation 

The excess alkalinity in the body may cause

gastrointestinal problems and skin irritations

Different taste compared to tap water

Too much alkalinity may also agitate the body’s

normal pH, leading to metabolic alkalosis – a medical emergency

Slightly acidic after distillation.                     

Is alkaline and distilled water safe to drink?

It is generally safe to drink both, alkaline and distilled water. 

There is some evidence that drinking too much of alkaline water can interfere with your stomach acid and cause muscle twitching, so stop drinking it if you experience these symptoms. If you decide to drink distilled water, ensure you have plenty of veg and fruit in your diet to replenish the minerals.

You can make your own alkaline water by taking distilled water and adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) until the correct pH is reached.

Health Warning re alkaline water

Your body works hard to keep blood pH within narrow limits. It does this so that the enzymes your body uses can function. Trying to alter your blood chemistry by drinking large amounts of alkaline water runs the risk of putting you into hospital with a metabolic alkalosis. Your gut is better equipped to handle acidic things rather than alkaline because stomach produces stomach acid.

Summary

The bottom line is, if you do not like tap water, try something else: distilled water or possibly alkaline water.

If you want to read about different methods of filtration, we have an article on charcoal filtered water, reverse osmosis, distilled water, purified water and demineralised water which can be found here


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