It’s a trend, apparently. Facepalm. Here Elite Trainer Andy Vincent explains why this latest wellness money spinner doesn’t hold, um, water.

Like ‘low-fat’ in the nineties, ‘raw’ has somehow become synonymous with healthier. Which isn’t necessarily the case. That raw snack bar you ate? It was actually a load of sugary, calorific dates squished together. Delicious? Kind of. Healthy? You might as well stick to Snickers.

Whether you agree or not, raw is on the rise as wellness gurus search for a new and interesting way to be <even> healthier. Add to this the new (and far more laudable) pursuit of sustainability, plus a mindfulness of how we use natural resources and you have a very potent sales pitch. Which is where the weird rise of raw water has bubbled over from. It’s tapping up the eco-warrior in all of us.

Raw or ‘live’ water isn’t treated but taken directly from its natural source. Supporters claim there is a host of benefits to this kind of drinking water, so much so that Silicon Valley start-ups are charging nearly $40 for just 2.5gallons and its popularity is booming on the west coast of America. Californian trends have a knack of crossing the pond to London pretty quickly, but is this one worth your money? Or is it even safe?

Devotees claim that raw water contains minerals and probiotics and is naturally alkaline, abundant in sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, and high in natural silica. These are killed or removed by water treatment plants and by bottled water companies. Living Spring Water is a one start-up that believes raw water is the key to unlocking a perfect micro-biome and states, “anxiety, weight gain, fatigue, and countless other ailments are linked to an imbalance of proper gut bacteria.” Which is short for; “Drink our water, it’s really <really> good for you,” Add to that the concerns surrounding levels of chlorine, fluoride, and prescription drugs present in our tap water and it sounds like a clear winner. Were it not centuries of hygiene science to suggest otherwise, that is.

Water treatment is ultimately intended to remove harmful bacteria such as E-coli and Salmonella, which can be contracted by drinking untreated or improperly treated water from lakes, streams, or wells. As much as bottled water isn’t environmentally friendly, if you are seriously concerned about the quality of your tap water, you can have charcoal and fluoride filters installed in your home or buy table top water filters such as the Big Berkley.

But most of all, what is getting lost here is that the purpose of water is not nutrition – it’s hydration. We can get all the minerals and probiotics we need from our food. Why run the risk of illness when you could just as easily eat some vegetables? Exactly. This is one trend we recommend switching off at the mains.