Our Year of Thirst and Rehydration

Our Year of Thirst and Rehydration

This September, Brooke Shields had a rough night at L’Artusi in Manhattan. She’d been preparing for her one-woman show, “Previously Owned by Brooke Shields,” by hydrating. A lot. Shortly after she entered the restaurant, everything started to go black. She was having a grand mal seizure. “I had had too much water,” she told Glamour. “I flooded my system, and I drowned myself.” Luckily, L’Artusi’s sommelier called an ambulance, and Shields made a full recovery at the hospital. “I didn’t know. I just kept thinking I was hydrating,” she said in a later interview.

You can hardly blame Shields for her overhydration. Drinking more water is good for us we’re always told, and hydration is the key to health. Drinking enough water each day has been a pillar of wellness advice for years, but in 2023, something tipped hydration culture into overdrive. The viral water brand Liquid Death is a cult favorite of Gen Z, and Liquid IV, which bills itself as a “hydration multiplier” and is used as a preemptive hangover cure, claims to be closing in on a billions dollars in net sales. Prime Hydration, the beverage line created by social media giants Logan Paul and KSI, is also on track to pass a billion dollars in sales this year, even as experts raise eyebrows at its caffeine content. A Le Creuset-like fandom has sprung up around those enormous and apparently indestructible Stanley reusable water bottles, and the widely panned AirUp bottle somehow went viral on TikTok, where #WaterTok also surged in popularity. In 2023, it seems we were thirstier than ever.

Plain tap water isn’t enough because it’s not doing enough for us; drinking a glass of tap water only slakes our thirst for a moment. In our endless quest for hydration, we need Water Plus: It must have vibes, or taste like candy, or go through a rebranding process so mind-bending that it self-describes as a “nonalcoholic seltzer.” It’s no longer good enough to drink only when you’re literally thirsty. We’re told to consume our beverages, be they water, electrolyte solutions, or influencer-peddled caffeine bombs, more often and faster than ever. In exchange, we’re promised more energy, a better immune system, better sleep, a better life.

You might know Ophora water—”water for wellness,” as its website proclaims in large letters—from one of several TikToks that went viral this year. It’s sold at Erewhon for a bold $26. It is the ultimate Water Plus, the apex of uber-hydration. It starts with purity: Ophora claims to filter out contaminants like microplastics and potentially harmful chemicals that many other filtered waters still contain. It balances pH to make the water alkaline, and the big sell is its “hyper-oxygenation”—which means oxygen is stabilized in the h2O at a density of 40 parts per million, the company says. Ophora claims to have patents pending for the technology it uses to infuse the water with “high levels of molecular oxygen,” which creates water that allegedly increases energy, decreases inflammation, enhances cell detoxification, and reduces sports recovery time.

Ophora is more than just $26 bottled water: The company will install a complete water filtration system in your home, or set you up with an entire hot tub or pool filled with nothing but Ophora water. “The skin is the largest organ on your body,” a spokesperson says earnestly in one video. “Imagine soaking in a hot tub that’s 102 degrees that has 30 parts per million of oxygen penetrating your body.” That’s a lot of penetration. Ophora says drinking and bathing in its water will lead to benefits including more energy and less sickness. Testimonials claim the water has led to weight loss, improved metabolism, and the sensation that “the ocean doesn’t feel as cold.” Meanwhile, water experts are skeptical.



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Author:Sam Stone | Website:www.bonappetit.com

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