Can You Drink Distilled Water? Here's the Right Answer
This is one of the most asked questions on the entire internet. And yet, many people fail to provide a satisfactory answer for those who are seeking it. To get the full picture, you need to know a few things before even considering such a big lifestyle change.
Distilled water has a high purity value, and it’s the main reason that laboratories and pharmacies consider it the most. This is because the distillation process removed 99.9% of dissolved inorganics, bacteria, and chemicals from water. But how does this translate to human consumption? Let’s find out.
The Basics of Distilled Water
While distilled water is probably the purest form of water you’ll ever get, its effects on the human body once ingested are still largely a mystery. It’s one of the most debated topics to date regarding hydration and health in general. You have to take into consideration the fact that even beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium are removed from distilled water.
Not only that, but your body has a certain way in which it responds to certain nutrients in various forms. For example, there’s one way in which it metabolizes nutrients coming from solid foods and a whole other way in which it processes nutrients coming from liquids. As such, you’re losing quite a few benefits from the get-go when opting to drink distilled water.
What Can a Water Distiller Remove?
A distiller removes a lot of contaminants but also TDS (total dissolved solids), much like a reverse osmosis system or a deionization unit. However, the main difference is that a carbon post-filter is attached to a water distiller to further remove VOCs and other inorganic materials.
Basically, water distillers remove just about anything you can imagine from water, both beneficial and detrimental. Fun fact: water distillers are the go-to choice when people want to convert sea water into drinkable water.
List of Removed Contaminants
- Cryptosporidium (Crypto)
- Bad tastes and odors
The thing is, water without minerals may be more soluble and can absorb metals and other substances from old pipes, which is one reason why distillation is not used for city water treatment.
Distillers for drinking water, however, purify water after it flows through pipes, so you're in no danger from chemical leaching. As such, drinking distilled water from such a unit might not be dangerous as some people speculate.
To see more details about the allowed levels of contaminants and how they affect you, click here.
When Is Distilled Water Good For You?
Even though distilled water has a few downsides here and there, there are times when it can benefit your body immensely. For a start, if you’re trying to limit your sodium intake, distilled water can be a great alternative even when compared to bottled water.
The thing is, we don’t recommend distilled water as a permanent replacement to other forms of water simply because of the lack of minerals. This is especially the case if you’re an athlete or if you’re sick. When you sweat or vomit, you’re not only losing water from your body, but also essential nutrients.
As such, you need to drink water that contains minerals and electrolytes so you can recover faster. If not, you risk staying in a less than ideal shape. That is why we don’t recommend distilled water when you’re sick or if you’re very physically active.
Benefits Vs. Downsides of Distilled Water
So, to summarize, let’s take a quick look between the advantages and disadvantages of distilled water to determine if it’s ok for you to drink it.
- Removes the possibility of limescale deposits on pipes, appliances, etc.
- No added chemicals or other dangerous types of alterations occur to the water
- No sodium and other potentially harmful inorganic ingredients
- 9% of all possible chemicals, bacteria, pathogens, etc. get removed
- It takes about three hours to produce just one gallon of distilled water, so efficiency isn’t its forte
- Tastes flat due to the lack of oxygen, so not great for cooking or drinking for long periods of time
- No beneficial minerals to speak of, unlike a reverse osmosis system which puts the minerals back after filtration
A Few Alternatives to Water Distillation
As you just saw, water distillation does indeed have some advantages, but it’s far from being ideal. To solve the issues that persist with distilled water, let’s look at a few alternatives that might just offer you the same benefits with fewer downsides.
In any case, it might be a good idea to consult your doctor or nutritionist before starting a diet based on one assortment of water. We are not health experts, nor do we claim to have the ultimate advice regarding diets and so forth.
The information presented here is solely as a basic guide, and not to be taken as the ultimate medical advice. Again, seek professional help when it comes to diets. With that out of the way, let’s get to the alternatives to water distillation.
If total dissolved solids aren’t of any concern to you, then you can disregard distillation completely and go for regular carbon filtration. An activated carbon filtration system removes chlorine and other chemicals, as well as contaminants that cause bad tastes and odors. Some carbon filters are also rated to remove lead or cysts.
Reverse Osmosis System
Reverse osmosis filtration might not remove as many minerals as a distillation system, but it is far faster than a water distiller. However, it is one of the best filtration methods that were ever created, so much so that many great restaurants prefer RO water above anything else.
The beauty of RO systems is that they have been highly perfected over the years, so you will find a lot of options with several advantages over others.
For example, if you want to keep the important minerals in your drinking water, you can buy a reverse osmosis system with a remineralizing filter. If you want to waste less others than you otherwise would with traditional RO system, you can get one with a permeable membrane. And the examples could go on and on.
Whole house water filters are made to trap as many pollutants as possible without sacrificing the mineral content. If you were to ask us, this would be the perfect filtration system for just about everything except limescale.
While the unit won’t remove limescale, you can always install an additional tool to help you turn that limescale into a benefit. You see, limescale is merely a combination of calcium and magnesium crystals that bond together and stick on a variety of surfaces, including pipes, sinks, your skin, and much more.
However, if you want to prevent such a thing, you can use a process called ionization to modify these minerals’ crystals to make them less sticky, and thus prevent them from giving you the disadvantages we’ve talked about earlier. Speaking of which:
Finally, we have the solution that we think will give you the optimum result. To make it clear, a water descaler does not remove any minerals from the water, nor does it filter out other pollutants.
What it does, instead, is to modify the shape of the mineral crystals to make them less sticky. As such, you will still get the benefits of drinking calcium and magnesium but without the downsides of limescale.
We need to reiterate; distilled water isn’t for everyone. It won’t do you any damage, but it won’t help you that much either. In fact, it’s detrimental thanks to the lack of minerals. So, in layman’s terms, descaled water is much better and offers tons of advantages as long as it doesn’t contain other pollutants. That’s why we recommend placing the descaler after the filtration unit.
How to Use a Descaler System
We have a variety of easy-to-install water descalers available on our store page. Each one is very easy to use, as you only need to plug it into a power plug to get it working once you’ve installed it. And the best part is that you don’t even need any specialized tools or plumbing knowledge to install one.
It's so easy that you can do it within 15 minutes on the first try with the user manual in front of you. And what’s more, everything you need for installation is included in the box, so you won’t have to shell out extra cash for tools or accessories that you’ll only use once in a long while.
Furthermore, you won’t need to perform maintenance, change out filters, refill salt, or add any chemicals whatsoever. Once the descaler is installed and plugged into a power source, just let it do its thing and it will clear out existing limescale in about 3 months while also preventing new limescale deposits.
And, finally, while it does require some electricity, it will save you more than $1000 per year on heating, showering, washing clothes, dishes, and much more since you’ll be needing far less water for lathering and everything else.
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, drinking distilled water is safe in most cases as long as you don’t overdo it. What matters most is that you drink regular water after an exercise or when you’re sick, as distilled water doesn’t contain any of the important minerals that our bodies need to recover properly.
Other than that, you won’t have to worry much about the lack of nutrients in distilled water as long as its cleanliness is far more important to you than any other aspect relating to drinking water.