DIY SmartWater
September 2, 2006 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Can I make my own "smart" water?

Recently, my wife and I have gotten into drinking a brand of water called Smart Water - the bottled water that's vapor distilled and contains electrolytes. We enjoy it, and it seems more refreshing than regular water - though perhaps that's just because of the marketing. :) However, the price tag is not very "smart", at least compared to good old tap water. Can I make my own version of this stuff at home with a reasonable amount of effort? Can I assemble it from cheaper materials bought in bulk? e.g. buy a 10 gallon jug of vapor distilled water and add some electrolyte tablets? And where to get this stuff?
posted by ivarley to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
When I was biking a lot a knew a few people that mixed pedialyte with their water.
The times that I tried it, it tasted almost no different from regular water run through a home filter.
As for the water itself, places like whole foods often have taps available with various types of filtered/distilled/osmosized water. I think it usually runs a couple dollars and change for a gallon.
posted by gally99 at 2:37 PM on September 2, 2006

That stuff has the one glaring omission of lacking sodium, which is definitely a key electrolyte (and one easily lost through urination and sweating).

Here is a page that lists commercially-available electrolyte drinks, as well as a home-brew recipe.
posted by Humanzee at 2:38 PM on September 2, 2006

And by "that stuff" I mean "smart water".
posted by Humanzee at 2:38 PM on September 2, 2006

I wouldn't think that having sodium added to the water consumed by a non-athlete would be beneficial in any way. I've heard several times recently that Americans consume far more sodium than they should, and certain stroke-related organizations are working to get the RDA for sodium significantly lowered.

Does Smart Water also contain vitamins or is that just their fancy 'Vitamin Water' and whatnot cousins?
posted by monochromaticgirl at 2:50 PM on September 2, 2006

It's the marketing.

And monochromaticgirl is right, we take in, I believe, 10 times more sodium than we need. Heck, if you eat a balanced diet, you pee out those vitamins and minerals your smart water contains anyway.
posted by gramcracker at 2:59 PM on September 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

The only addition to SmartWater are the electrolytes. wikipedia entry for Glaceau. VitaminWater and FruitWater contain other additives like flavors and vitamins.
smartwater consists of vapor-distilled water with added electrolytes: calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and potassium bicarbonate, designed for quick and efficient hydration.
WebMD offers a recipe for a homemade version of "Electrolyte Drinks" with these ingredients:

* 1 quart (950 ml) water
* ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) baking soda
* ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) table salt
* 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 g) sugar
* If available, add ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) salt substitute, such as "Lite Salt".

Basically you could leave out the sugar to make smartwater, but I'm not sure of the taste.

(I might try it myself, I'm a smartwater addict myself.)
posted by aristan at 3:05 PM on September 2, 2006

In regard to the healthfulness of sodium, one has to ask, why are you adding electrolytes into beverages? If you're losing fluids because of sweating or diarrhea, then you will want the sodium in there to replenish what was lost. If you're just drinking this stuff for flavor, then by all means leave out the sodium; but the other stuff won't have any benefit to you either ---you might as well just dump in anything that you think tastes good. I personally like club soda, which is basically carbonated water and baking soda (and is both commonly available and cheap). There is no real health benefit to trying to saturate your system with extra electrolytes, because your body works to balance electrolyte levels, and will just dump excess into your bladder.
posted by Humanzee at 3:39 PM on September 2, 2006

Electrolytes are useful for some people, some of the time. If this woman had been fortifying her tea with electrolytes, she might not have killed herself. However, for most people, most of the time, they consume plenty of sodium and plenty of other electrolytes and would receive no benefit from it.
posted by jellicle at 5:30 PM on September 2, 2006

why are you adding electrolytes into beverages?

Because the water is distilled first, and if you don't add back some salt, it tastes funny. Try it for yourself- next time you're at the supermarket, pick up a gallon of distilled water. You end up sort of tasting the inside of your own mouth.

The fact is that "smart water" is exactly the same thing as, e.g. Dasani from Coca-Cola. It's tap water that's been distilled and/or reverse-osmosis-filtered, to yield very pure water. Salts (electrolytes) are then added back to make the water taste like the drinking water we're used to.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:54 AM on September 3, 2006

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