Keeping yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water is not something new to you, as it is an important thing to do for your health. However, the variety of water confuses so many of us. Some of the purest options of drinking water available are filtered and distilled water. However, deciding between the two can be complicated. Health and budget concerns should also be kept in mind before deciding on which type of water you should drink daily. Other than this many people are confused about the difference between filtered and distilled water and it is important to understand the difference between these 2 purified forms of water.
Understanding Distilled Water and the Process of Distillation(1, 2)
The distillation process was used in 200 AD to desalinate ocean water by Alexander of Aphrodisias. So, the process of distillation is not something new and in fact goes back to the ancient era. The water achieved from distillation is extremely pure to the extent that it removes everything and along with contaminants, it also removes all the essential nutrients and minerals in it and this also gives it a flat taste. This has given rise to some concern that drinking distilled water daily is not good for health, as it fails to retain the essential substances that are needed for the human body.
Almost every type of water has some sort of substances or impurities, such as: contaminants, nutrients and minerals.
The process of Distillation completely eradicates impurities via boiling and evaporation and it can have a flat taste to it as it lacks: minerals, metals and other inorganic compounds.
Distilled water differs from other purified waters in its method of purification. Purification of water through Distillation is an ancient method in which the water is brought to a boiling point after which it slowly evaporates and the steam rises and collects in the coiled metal tubes where cooling of vapor occurs resulting in formation of pure water and from where it is collected for drinking.
Water produced through distillation is very pure, as the various bacteria and microorganisms are killed through the boiling process. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind various impurities, such as minerals present in the original water as they are heavy and do not rise along with the vapor. The advantage of purifying water through distillation is it results in extremely pure water, which has enough room for absorption of toxic substances present in the body and helps in excreting them as waste.
Are Both Filtered Water and Distilled Water the Same?
Distilled Water Does Not Contain The Following:(2, 3)
Distilled water as the name goes, does not contain the following contaminants:
Chlorine: Chlorine is a chemical element, which affects the taste of water and is usually found in water because of the processing operations of the municipal water. Chlorine when present at low levels usually doesn’t cause any health issues; however, there are some people who are sensitive to its taste and smell and prefer distilled water, in which the chlorine gets removed completely.
Microorganisms: Microorganisms are completely and absolutely removed by this purification method, which is distillation. People with a compromised immunity will benefit a lot from distilled water, as some like organisms like Cryptosporidium, can make even healthy people sick. Cryptosporidium is chlorine resistant and can cause death in people with weak immune system. Hence the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommend such individuals to drink only distilled water.
Contaminants: Along with healthy minerals, distillation also removes heavy metals like arsenic, mercury and lead. Distillation also removes volatile chemicals present in cleaning fluid along with nitrates that can affect the body if it gets converted to nitrite. Nitrite hinders with the capability of carrying oxygen by the red blood cells.
Additives: Certain substances are added to the water by the Municipal authorities for health purpose. One of the minerals added is calcium, which is crucial for health and development of the bones. However, excess of this mineral can potentially cause kidney stone formation. When you are drinking distilled water, you do not have to worry about additives, as this process completely removes additives too.
Understanding Filtered Water and the Process of Filtration(4)
There are various different methods used for water filtration and one of the most effective methods for water purification is Micron filtration. This process consists of a filtration medium having microscopic holes in it that doesn’t allow any matter or toxins and other harmful substances larger in size to pass through. Water that is well-filtered gets the label of “purified” if it has a ratio of fewer than 10 contaminant ppm. One benefit of filtered water over distilled water is it preserves the dissolved oxygen in the original water giving it some life when drinking it directly or boiling for tea or coffee.
Some common filtration methods to eliminate unwanted contaminants and minerals are:
Reverse Osmosis: In this water purification process, the water is pushed through an extremely fine filter using high pressure and this removes different molecules, such as pollutants and harmful microorganisms.
Water Filters: Water filters also work like reverse osmosis systems; however, larger pores are used here which need less pressure for passing of the water. The main function of water filters is to remove pathogens and microorganisms from the water supply. This process is effective; however, it does not completely remove all the chemicals and minerals from the water. Water filters are great for making spring water pure, which is naturally healthy and safer to drink.
So, What is the Difference Between Distilled & Filtered Water?
There is no doubt that both types of water purification methods, that is, filtered and distilled water achieve comparable purity levels. However, the distillation process additionally removes all the additives and important minerals present in water and this is the primary difference between distilled and filtered water. The human body is not made to drink completely pure water and as it can be a tad flat in taste. There are always some traces of minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium present in fresh water which our body utilizes.
How Different Are Filtered Water And Distilled Water?
There is a fundamental difference in the method of water purification in both distillation and filtration; however, both the filtered and distilled water can have levels of purity that are similar. According to research, filtered water through the process of filtration gets rid of most toxic and harmful contaminants, but is considered better for human health than distilled water. The reason for this is, the distilled water along with removing the contaminants also removes some useful minerals that are commonly present in drinking water.(5, 6)
Distilled Water vs. Filtered Water: Which Is Better for Drinking?
There is nothing wrong with drinking an occasional glass of distilled water. However, while you can drink distilled water, the lack of vital minerals could harm your health over time. Filtered water retains these minerals and this is the reason why filtered water is suitable and preferred for daily drinking.
Distilled water is recommended or preferred for people with compromised immune system. Otherwise for drinking daily, filtered water is better and preferred over distilled water, as it also has the minerals required by the body.
Other risks with distilled water especially if it is taken from a hazardous supply, is the process of distillation may not be able to remove some pollutants. Other than this, if the equipment is contaminated, then it could sometimes further pollute the water during the distillation process.
With a home filtration system, there is a continuous safe water supply which is rich in minerals. This system uses tap water that is considered safe despite some impurities; and also having a home filter system carries little harm for your health.
The Effects of Distilled Water on the Human Body
The primary thing of importance when it comes to distilled water is that it is extremely pure and is absolutely void of any contaminants, minerals, nutrients, debris, bacteria or any particles. In contrast, filtered water does retain some healthy nutrients, whereas distilled water completely eliminates everything resulting in extremely pure H₂O. Distilled water also doesn’t contain magnesium, potassium, or chloride that are needed by the body and this has led to claims that drinking distilled water regularly or on a daily basis can be detrimental to health.
Drinking Distilled Water Cannot Replace Minerals Lost Through Urine And Sweat: The minerals that our body loses through sweat and urine need to be replaced for optimum health. Distilled water does not contain any minerals and cannot replace them that are lost through sweating and urination.
Electrolyte Imbalance: Our body needs electrolytes to function properly and to help in removing the waste. As distilled water lacks these electrolytes, it is ineffective in helping the body balance the electrolyte levels resulting in a gradual decrease over a period of time.
Tooth Decay: As the distilled water does not have fluoride, which helps in preventing tooth decay, so drinking only distilled water can increase the risk of weak enamel and tooth decay.
Distilled Water Can Change Body pH in a Bad Way: Drinking water should be slightly alkaline and calcium and magnesium are such alkaline minerals which achieve this by increasing the pH of water slightly. With a pH of 7.0 in distilled water, which is lower than the recommend blood pH of 7.35, it can lead to extra acid exposure and can be harmful to the tissues and blood in the long term and this is referred to as acidosis. Drinking distilled water causes this imbalance and further leads to fatigue, fluid retention, headache, muscle cramps, nutrient deficiencies and impaired heart rate. Experts say that this build up of acid waste in the human body can lead to premature aging and degenerative diseases.
The Effects of Filtered Water on the Human Body
On the other hand, filtered water has the minerals required in the right proportions, which make it ideal for maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes and everyday drinking. These filters are made to work with treated tap water making them suitable for home and office use. The activated carbon systems in the filtration process helps in removing microscopic contaminants that are carbon-based contaminants and this keeps the water tasty, healthy and safe.
This is a big advantage of purified or filtrated water over distilled water where it retains the dissolved oxygen present in the source water.
What Are Other Health Benefits Of Filtered Water?
- Filtered water helps by retaining healthy minerals such as magnesium, calcium and zinc.
- Filtered Water removes majority of the microorganisms and chemicals and potentially improves the overall taste of the water.
- Filtered water eliminates contaminants, such as pesticides, mercury, arsenic, lead and heavy metals.
- Filtered Water removes pathogens and thus protects the body from diseases.
The Verdict: If you have a choice between distilled water and filtered water for drinking daily, then drinking filtered water definitely is the healthier and better choice.
Distilled vs. Filtered Water: What Are The Differences?(8)
Difference in the TASTE: The taste of the distilled water is flat as it is completely pure and is “empty” without any nutrients or minerals leading to its flat taste. This is the reason many people prefer filtered water, as it contains natural and healthy minerals with a familiar taste.
Difference in the PROCESS: The Process Of Distillation Affects The Environment: Distilling the water tends to leave excessively hard or saline water behind and this can cause harm to the local ecosystem. Distillation also consumes lot of energy and this can not only be harmful for the environment, but also increase the energy bills when done at home. A far more efficient alternative will be a home water filtering system that can save some money also. The ideal water for human consumption should be mildly alkaline.
Difference in the COST: The Equipment For Distillation Is Expensive: The purchase of the equipment for distillation is very costly and furthermore can take toll on the environment. However, by using a home distillation system, the water costs and impact on the environment can be reduced. Even though this can cut down on the cost of purchasing the water, the maintenance can add costs to the expenses. When it comes to expense and other things, filtered water is not only cheaper, but also more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
Difference in the TIME CONSUMPTION: The time consumed for distillation of water is more; whereas, filtration of water is quick and low maintenance. Water filters act continuously and immediately depending on the water flow from the tap. There is no waiting time required for water filtration and it is not only accessible all the time, but does not require any charge up time too.
Difference in the CONDITIONS NEEDED: The right conditions are needed for distillation of water: If the distillation process is not done correctly, it can easily cause error. The water for the purpose of distillation needs to be boiled at the right temperature and for the right amount of time, if not, and then it can contain traces of contaminants like volatile organic chemicals, herbicides, chlorine and insecticides. It is hard to know if the water has distilled adequately.
Other than this, if the distillation equipment is contaminated, then it poses more risks that will cancel any benefits from distillation process and thus add more harmful contaminants to the water than before. For commercial distillation purpose this is not something of a big concern, however, when using at home it can pose risks.
Difference in AFFECTING OTHER SUBSTANCES: Distilled water is prone to dissolving other substances: As distilled water is completely pure and doesn’t contain any dissolved materials or minerals; hence, this makes it more prone to dissolving other substances. So, when distilled water is carried in plastic bottles, this can cause contamination from the dissolved material from the plastic bottles used resulting in unpleasant taste or change in taste.
Filtered water has minerals that are good for health and this cuts down on the tendency to dissolve the toxins in any plastic container.
Can You Drink Distilled Water Every Day?
A recent study from World Health Organization shows that drinking de-mineralized water regularly can lead to fatal health conditions.(7) If there are any concerns regarding the nutritional value and the quality of the water, then it is better to skip distilled water and go for filtered water, as it will be safe, clean and with nutrients and minerals in it; plus it saves on the cost too.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can Distilled Water Be Replaced With Filtered Water?
Filtered water is more recommended and beneficial for everyday drinking. Whereas, there are some specific technical or industrial uses, which need distilled water, such as automobile coolant systems work better with distilled water, as it is more pure in nature and doesn’t contain any type of substances that can potentially erode the metals.
What is the Main Difference Between Filtered Water and Distilled Water?
The primary difference between filtered water and distilled water is their method of purification. Other differences includes: filtered water retains some minerals and nutrients; whereas distilled water is completely empty or pure and does not contain any dissolved material, such as healthy minerals or additives or anything else for that matter.
Does Bottled Water Contain Distilled Water?
Not usually; however, distilled water is available for purchase in bottles, but store-bought water isn’t distilled water.
To conclude, the differences between the distilled and filtered water are many, the main being in its process of purifying the water. Other differences include: the taste of the water, the expense, the effects of both types of water on the human health etc. When it comes to similarity, the purification achieved from both distillation and filtration is good, with distilled water being more pure than filtered water, which accounts for its flat taste.