Why Bodybuilders Drink Distilled Water
by Carmen Grange
The human body is made up primarily of water, approximately 73%. Because the body is made up largely of water, it craves water for healing, replenishing energy, and day to day functioning. Without water, humans become lethargic, weak, experience headaches, cramping, and may even death if dehydration becomes too severe; therefore, drinking water is essential to everyday health. In fact, athletes, bodybuilders, in particular, drink water in abundance to eliminate waste and toxins, promote fat loss and increase lean body mass, and to improve energy and performance. But did you know that competitive bodybuilders drink distilled water? The reason for that lies in the elements and minerals (or lack thereof) present in water that has been distilled.
What is Distilled Water?
Unlike tap water, spring water, or filtered water, distilled water goes through a purification process to eliminate toxins, minerals, and nutrients. Distillation occurs as water is brought to a boil and the resulting steam is collected and condensed back into pure water through cooling tubes. Through distillation, 98% of impurities are eliminated from the water, making it safer to drink and more effective for bodybuilders to consume. Tap water contains various impurities and nutrients including magnesium, calcium, and sodium, all of which are no longer present after distillation occurs.
Why Do Bodybuilders Drink Distilled Water?
Tap water contains about 12 milligrams of sodium per cup. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, for bodybuilders, it’s a nightmare. Athletes who must consume 1-2 gallons of water per day are drinking 128-256 oz of water. That’s 16-32 cups in one day. If we multiply 16-32 cups by 12 mg of sodium, that’s 192-384 excess mg of sodium per day. All that sodium holds the water tightly in various cells and tissues, giving the appearance of a fluffier aesthetic. Competitive bodybuilders are seeking to achieve the opposite. The less the sodium, the less water being stored in the cells, the more shredded and lean the body appears.
Why Too Much Distilled Water May Be Bad…
For bodybuilders (especially during peak week), distilled water is an easy solution to minimizing sodium intake and reducing water in the cells, but too much distilled water may be dangerous. Through other methods of cleansing water, like filtration, impurities, harmful chemicals and waste are removed to provide for safe drinking water, however, the essential minerals like sodium, magnesium, and calcium remain intact. Distilled water, on the other hand, removes all those impurities and then some. Inadequate supplies of nutrients lead to a higher risk of osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and several other degenerative diseases and illnesses. Likewise, the distillation process itself may be harmful as it promotes an elevation in blood acidity levels. Through the evaporative process of distilling water, the steam collects carbon dioxide (an acid) and holds onto it throughout the entire process, making the water acidic. Elevated blood acidity may be deadly.
In short, avoid distilled water unless special circumstances are present. Distilled water eliminates too many particles, making it dangerous, even deadly in the long run. While people who supplement with vitamins or minerals are not lacking in their daily needs, they have still shown to have fewer vital nutrients than those who drink non-distilled water. Filtered water is the safest route to take, as it eliminates impurities while keeping the essential nutrients and minerals intact. So, unless you’re an athlete looking for that little extra edge and the end of prep, stay away from distilled water. But, if you’re going to consume it, please do so in moderation. The heightened levels of acidity and lack of essential nutrients are dangerous.