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How to make money selling nothing

The Wall Street Journal reports that 2016 was the first year that bottled water outsold carbonated beverages, in number of units. The good part of this news is that sugar-sweetened beverages make up the bulk of carbonated beverage sales, and a decrease in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is helpful from a public health standpoint, especially for school age children.

The other part of the news, the continued increase in bottled water sales, is also notable. Sheer marketing prowess has created a $20 billion U.S. market. Tap water is nearly free, is generally purer and better tasting than bottled water, and doesn’t harm the environment by creating tons of extra trash. Yet we continue to buy more bottled water, and the industry even has us worried about our hydration status. Their messages have carried over to many naive wellness and exercise specialists who promote frequent water drinking. Unless you are a professional level athlete or a frail older person, there is no need for people to worry about their hydration status. The body has an exquisitely sensitive sense of thirst and our kidneys are very smart about keeping our fluid balance. Drinking eight glasses of water a day and keeping your urine “dilute” are other myths that have been adopted by many wellness and health advocates, although there is clear physiologic data telling us that these myths are not true. Let’s. just hope that we aren’t soon lured into paying for oxygen

See Wall Street Journal report on consumption here.

For a good explanation of why tap water is a better choice than buying bottled water, see here

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