Does Alkaline Water *Really* Hydrate You Better?

Photo: Stocksy/Marc Tran

Drinking water used to be simple: You grabbed a glass and filled it up, right? Now, staying hydrated can feel like an entire shopping experience. When walking down the beverage aisle of your favorite health-food store, you'll see plenty of different varieties, all promising benefits beyond regular H2O. But is alkaline water—one of the buzziest—worth the hype?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but according to science, there's no proof alkaline water—which has a higher pH, between 8 and 10, opposed to the regular stuff, with a pH of 7—is any better at keeping you hydrated than what you can get from your own (purified) sink for free. In fact, one expert contends it's simply a waste of money: "It’s all about marketing. There's no science to back it up," Tanis Fenton, RD, PhD, told The New York Times.

"It’s all about marketing. There's no science to back it up." —Tanis Fenton, RD, PhD, on hydration benefits of alkaline water

Dr. Fenton says despite there being claims that alkaline water appeals to hydration and even cancer prevention, the evidence for such effects is seriously lacking. But, the elixir might pose risks like from skin burns (when at a super-high pH) and impaired growth.

Ultimately, when it comes to alkaline water, Dr. Fenton says "the only health effects that we know of are danger signs." So, while you're probably safe to drink a bottle of the stuff, it might be smarter to splurge on products that more directly benefit your health. For hydration, you be better off sticking to plain, old H2O.

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