The “Raw Water” Trend & 2018’s Best Diets

North Fork Smith River by Don Hollander

I was surprised to see the headlines about a new trend, “raw water”. It piqued my interest. What the heck is “raw water” & why would I want to drink it? These were just a few questions that went through my mind. I researched it & will tell you what I know.

The second part of the post will be about the U.S.News, 2018, report on the 40 top diets in 2017. I always find this interesting. We will take a look at which diets made the top 3 in all 9 of the categories.


This new trend for “raw water” started in & around Silicon Valley, California. There are many start up companies bottling this water which has caused the price to jump to $60 for a 2.5-gallon jug! People around the country are buying it. It is flying off the shelves in a San Francisco Co-op at $16 a 12 ounce bottle! 

Basically it is unfiltered water from natural sources such as streams, creeks, groundwater & lakes. The reason people are interested in it is because it doesn’t go through any type of filtration system & there are no additives such as bleach or fluoride added. This may sound good to water purists but it does open the door for bacteria, viruses, & parasites that can be in these natural water sources. 

The CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch and other health officials are warning that the “raw water” can hold bacteria linked to cholera, E. coli, Hepatitis A, and giardia. As avid hikers & backpackers we are aware of these diseases & always carry a water purifier. Diarrhea is not our idea of a successful trip 🙂 Drinking from a pure, cold spring is magical & tastes wonderful. I won’t deny that. But care has to be taken when drinking from rivers, streams. creeks & lakes. 

As reported in the articles below, the sources used by some of the bottling companies are being monitored by local water companies. This is because the local water companies are using the same source for the community water supply & by law have to test the source for diseases & contaminants. This isn’t true for all sources of “raw water”.

If you are worried about your tap water here is a must have resource for you EWG’s Tap Water Database. “EWG’s drinking water quality report for California shows results of tests conducted by the water utilities in California and provided to EWG by the California State Water Resources Control Board.” Here is the link to California water safety; enter your zip code on the right. 

On this page you will also find the following useful guides:

  • EWG’s Updated Water Filter Buying Guide “Find the right filter for your water – and budget”
  • Top 5 Reasons to Choose Filters Over Bottled Water  “But if you want safer water for yourself and your family, bottled water isn’t the solution – not for your pocketbook, not for your health and certainly not for our planet. Your best option for cleaner, healthier drinking water on the go is filtered tap water and a reusable glass or stainless steel container. As we say here at EWG, know your water, pick the best filter and choose a BPA-free container.”

Before we look at the list of the best diets 2018, I want to share this article I saw this morning as I was editing my post. USNews: Why Eating Fewer Calories Won’t Help You Lose Weight  Conventional nutrition wisdom overlooks key biological processes. By Alissa Rumsey, Contributor, Jan. 8, 2018

The reasons the author, Alissa Rumsey, lists are not only for people who are trying to lose weight. These are good tips for everyone deciding on a lifelong way of eating. Read the article for the details . Here are the tips:

  1. Give yourself permission to eat all kinds of food. This will take away the bad food vs good food syndrome. It will also open up the idea of eating a balanced diet. 
  2. Learn to honor your hunger & fullness cues. Sometimes it isn’t about the foods we eat but the portions we serve ourselves. Do you really need an extra helping? Take a few minutes to see if you still feel hungry.
  3. don’t discount the importance of satisfaction. This one is really important. If you are on a diet that puts your favorite foods in the “bad food” category, you will not be satisfied with what you are eating. For example substituting an apple for that piece of chocolate or cookie that you crave. Yes, the apple is better for you, but if you had just eaten that one piece of chocolate you wouldn’t find yourself eating everything in the house after the apple & still not feeling satisfied! Now you just feel guilty.
  4. Get rid of the food police. I like this one. Read what she  wrote about them. The food police can also be a partner, spouse or friend. 

At the end of the article is a slide show of: 8 Food Trends Nutrition Experts Pray Will Never Return Check it out 🙂 


Now to the U.S. News: U.S. News Reveals Best Diets Rankings for 2018 U.S. News evaluated 40 of the most popular diets and identified the best. Find which top-rated diet is best for your health and fitness goals. 

Once again the U.S. News has evaluated and ranked the most popular diets of the year. They do this yearly with a panel of health experts. Their criteria does not include cancer prevention specifically, but it does address all the other inflammatory diseases. This means that the top diets will indeed be preventative & lower the risk of cancer. It also means that they will boost your immune system & improve your overall health. As you well know, most people don’t just have cancer, they also are at risk or have been diagnosed with other chronic diseases such as pre-diabetes, high blood pressure or even heart disease. 

Who are the experts? Experts Who Reviewed the DietsA panel of health experts, including nutritionists and specialists in diabetes, heart health, human behavior and weight loss, reviewed detailed assessments prepared by U.S. News of 40 diets. The experts rated each diet in seven categories, including short- and long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety and nutrition.”

The diets are then ranked in the following categories; click on the category to be taken to the full list & information about each diet. When you get to that list you can click on the diet you are interested in. Not only is each diet rated on it’s own page but it also has a tab for recipes & information about how to follow the diet.

Best Diets Overall 
1. DASH Diet (tie)
1. Mediterranean Diet (tie)
3. Flexitarian Diet: I like this approach. Here is an excerpt from the diets page…The theory: Flexitarian is a marriage of two words: flexible and vegetarian. The term was coined more than a decade ago, and in her 2009 book, “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life,” registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says you don’t have to eliminate meat completely to reap the health benefits associated with vegetarianism – you can be a vegetarian most of the time, but still chow down on a burger or steak when the urge hits.

Once again the DASH & Mediterranean Diets tie 🙂 The Paleo diet was #29 thru #35 out of 40 in all categories. Under “Health & Nutrition: Slapping the diet with multiple low scores, the experts couldn’t accept that entire food groups, like dairy and grains, are excluded, making it hard for dieters to get all the nutrients they need. It’s one of the few diets that experts actually considered somewhat unsafe and only somewhat complete nutritionally.”

Best Diets For Healthy Eating 
1. DASH Diet (tie)
1. Mediterranean diet (tie)
3. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
3. TLC Diet (tie): I am not totally on board with this one…The theory: Created by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet is endorsed by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy regimen that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The key is cutting back sharply on fat, particularly saturated fat. Saturated fat (think fatty meat, whole-milk dairy and fried foods) bumps up bad cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. That, along with strictly limiting daily dietary cholesterol intake and getting more fiber, can help people manage high cholesterol, often without medication. I will recommend it to people with extremely high cholesterol.

Easiest Diets to Follow 
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
2. Weight Watchers (tie)

Easiest diet to follow; #1, my favorite!!! The Mediterranean is the most flexible diet for anyone trying to move towards a healthier lifestyle. You can make slow changes to become more plant based & still stay within the parameters of the diet.

The Flexitarian is easy to follow because it is so flexible for those who want to eat more plant based with the option to eat meat when they want it. Keeps the “good food, bad food” guilt under control.

Best Diets for Diabetes 
1. Mediterranean 
2. DASH Diet 
3. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
3. Mayo Clinic Diet (tie)  This excellent diet plan from the Mayo Clinic Diet is the real thing. There have been many, many fad diets for decades claiming to be from the Mayo Clinic. All of them fraudulent & unhealthy.
3. Vegan Diet (tie)
3. Volumetrics (tie): I like this one. Makes you more mindful of what you are eating. The theory: People tend to eat the same weight, or amount, of food each day, regardless of how many calories they take in. Since some foods are less energy dense than others – that is, they have fewer calories per gram – filling your plate with more of those means you’ll be eating fewer calories without actually eating less food. Low-density foods, which are low in calories but high-volume, help you feel full and satisfied while dropping pounds. Fruits and veggies are ideal, since they’ll fill you up without breaking your calorie bank. (A pound of low-density carrots, for example, contains as many calories as an ounce of high-density peanuts.) Volumetrics is all about getting more mileage out of what you eat.
3. Weight Watchers (tie)

Best Heart-Healthy Diets No surprises here 🙂
1. DASH diet
2. Mediterranean Diet (tie)
2. Ornish Diet (tie)

Best Plant-Based Diets  Love it! 
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. Flexitarian Diet
3. Ornish Diet

Best Commercial Diets 
1. Weight Watchers
2. Jenny Craig 
3. Flat Belly Diet (tie)
3. Nutritarian Diet (tie)

Best Weight-Loss Diets
1. Weight Watchers
2. Volumetrics
3. Jenny Craig (tie)
3. Vegan Diet (tie)

Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets 
1. HMR Diet (tie)
1. Weight Watchers (tie)
3. Biggest Loser Diet (tie)
3. Medifast (tie)
3. SlimFast (tie)
3. Volumetrics (tie)

Weight Watchers has always been about eating a healthy, balanced diet. They have tried to make it simple using a point system rather than counting calories. The only thing I don’t like about it is the Weight Watcher Brand products; too processed. You are not asked to eat their products, they are there to help you stick to the program. That’s good when you work full-time. 

For those of us who are vegan, here is how it was ranked in all categories. This makes sense because not all vegans are eating a healthy, balanced diet. It takes some planning & commitment to make sure you are getting enough fat, protein, complex carbs, vitamins & minerals in your diet.

Vegan Diet is ranked:

  •  #19 (tie) in
    Best Diets Overall
  •  #3 (tie) in
    Best Weight-Loss Diets
  •  #3 (tie) in
    Best Diabetes Diets
  •  #27 (tie) in
    Best Diets for Healthy Eating
  •  #10 (tie) in
    Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets
  •  #5 (tie) in
    Best Heart-Healthy Diets
  •  #9 in
    Best Plant-Based Diets
  •  #36 (tie) in
    Easiest Diets to Follow

I hope this has been helpful. Until next week…Mary 🙂