Big brands sponsoring athletes and celebrities isn’t anything new. We’ve all seen Paige Hathaway pushing Shredz Supplements on her Instagram, and Nicole Scherzinger pimping Proactiv on television. However, recently there has been a surge in sponsorship by one particular area of the market that no one was expecting: water companies. In particular, “functional” water companies.
Functional water makes up an estimated 11% of the $19.8bn bottled water industry in the U.S. One of the biggest names in this market is Core Hydration, created by Dr. Luke (yes, the same Dr. Luke involved with the Kesha lawsuit) and touted by the likes of Katy Perry, Jessica Alba, Adam Levine, and Becky G. Core Hydration is described as “the most premium water on the market, which promises to deliver healthy hydration.”
Although that doesn’t sound particularly nefarious—after all, any gym-going female knows the importance of hydration—the carefully selected celebrities chosen to do the promotion for the high-end H2O don’t seem to be any the wiser to the actual science behind Core Water. But to be fair, there is absolutely zero science behind it.
Beyond the fancy packaging and the impeccably media-trained celebrities, it’s a big bottle of bullshit. There is no proven evidence backing its claims of ultra-purification, improved hydration, or pH balancing properties. Despite a stylish-looking bottle that may intrigue you while shopping at your local Whole Foods, here is exactly why you should leave it firmly on the shelf and opt for a standard glass of water instead.
1. It is made from tap water
When we pick up a bottle of water, it will often say its contents are sourced from a natural spring in some exotic land. Sometimes, we even think that we can taste the freshness of the French Alps upon cracking open a bottle of Evian. Core Hydration, however, is made from tap water. Yep, the stuff you already have in the convenience of your home. Sure, it has been heavily purified, but do you know what else purifies your water? A standard fucking water filter.
Let me hit you with a quick math lesson:
- A single 20-ounce bottle of Core Hydration costs $2.50
- 20-ounces of tap water from your home costs around $0.06
- A Brita water jug and filter costs $19.99 or $0.33 for every 20-ounces filtered
- Therefore, 20-ounces of filtered tap water has a total cost of $0.39
By comparison, Core Hydration has an eye-watering 540% markup! I think I’ll stick to standard tap water and spend my hard-earned cash on something else, thanks.
2. The “added minerals” do fuck all
Core’s ingredient list says its BPA-free bottles contain reverse osmosis water, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and potassium bicarbonate. While magnesium and potassium are both electrolytes that can benefit the body, the amounts in Core Hydration are so minimal that they have little to no effect.
Michael Sawka, a professor at the School of Applied Physiology at Georgia Tech, studies hydration and fluid-electrolyte balance. He explains,
If you’re eating a normal diet, you’re not adding anything magic by drinking these waters. The added minerals are in there purely for taste and preference but not for health.
3. All water is pH neutral
In a carefully crafted press release, Core Hydration claims:
As more health conscious consumers become aware of the harmful effects of an acidic diet and seek ways to bring their body fluids within an acceptable range, Core serves up a 7.4 pH solution that works in harmony with your body’s natural pH balance.
Harmony, natural, balance—that sounds exactly like what we all need, right? Well, you can achieve all that and more just by drinking regular ole water! All water, by its very nature, is pH neutral. So, claiming that one water is more pH balanced than another is some next level bro science.
4. Celebrities are paid to promote it
Not a single actor, athlete, or musician posting photos of their Core Hydration bottles on social media has done so simply because they love the brand. No, each of these celebrities has been paid to promote it, knowing that their endorsement will get thousands of people to jump on the bandwagon!
Known as “influencer marketing,” many brands are turning to this method of advertising. It is less overt and far more genuine than a billboard or an online banner ad. However, this is the underlying issue: It’s still advertising. These celebrities don’t believe the hype, but a new Lambo and hundreds of thousands of dollars can easily convince them to pretend that they do. But that’s really nothing new.
5. Dr. Luke isn’t even a real doctor
The website for Core Hydration is littered with scientific phrases such as “reverse osmosis” and “carbon filtration.” Oh, and not to mention having the backing of a real life doctor! However, if we look beyond the glossy online presence, you’ll quickly realize that the medical professional who has helped bring this branded water to the market is none other than Dr. Luke.
What are Dr. Luke’s credentials? Well, he’s a Grammy-nominated musician and producer. Dr. Luke is the stage name for Lukasz Gottwald. This is a man who can pen a pretty pop song but has no scientific or medical qualifications whatsoever. You’d be better off trusting Dr. Nick from The Simpsons than “Doctor” Luke…
Although the stylish bottles of Core Hydration look fabulous as a music video prop, the truth is it’s just another over-priced “health” product that none of us really need. Spend your money on something wiser and keep these con artists from getting richer. For us lady lifters, CrossFit queens, and gym bunnies, we’re better off sticking to our plastic mixer bottles and the not-so-stylish (but just as hydrating) water fountains.