If you’re like most people, you probably have a Shaker Cup, Reusable Smoothie Cup, Water Jug or the like. While extremely convenient, these cups can also be very dangerous to your health. The problem is that, re-useable water bottles and protein shakers with small moving parts and hard to reach corners (you know, those spots you’re sponge can never get into) create the perfect breeding environment for bacteria to proliferate (make babies). Without proper and regular cleaning, it is highly likely that you are using something that is actually making you ill.
Okay, but how does this happen?
The simple answer is this:
Once you begin drinking from the cup, your saliva enters the cup by means of unintentional backwash and with it all of your tasty food debris. As well, saliva and food debris from your lips are deposited onto and inside of the mouth hole you drink from. This food debris gets stuck into the sneaky little parts of your cup. Think of the snap lids on shaker cups that seal around the mouth hole, or the micro-crevices from the molded plastic underneath the lid. Or even where the lid screws onto the cup itself. These are all excellent real estate for bacteria to chill out and munch on your food debris. It’s warm, it’s moist, there’s food. What more could a bacterium want?
Add to that a dairy-based drink (whey protein) and you’ve got yourself a plethora of bacteria in a very short amount of time. This is not to say that water alone won’t breed these invaders.. it most definitely will, but at a much slower pace. It’s simply that dairy and any supplement that’s been added to the cup provides EXTRA food for the hungry bacteria families. More food = more babies.
If your water bottle has a built-in filter then you should probably consider tossing it for a new one. The filters are usually only good for 200 uses. In general, bottles with extra mechanics tend to be the worst in terms of levels of bacteria. If you can’t reach inside every little crevice or take it completely apart to wash it properly, then there is a real risk you are making yourself sick.
An analysis from New Jersey-based EmLab P&K (treadmillreviews.ca) stated:
“Based on the 12 water bottles we tested, we found that reusable drinking containers may be crawling with an alarming number of viable bacteria cells: more than 300,000 colony-forming units per square centimeter (CFU/sq cm). ”
300,000 – that’s 6 times the bacteria found in your dog’s food dish.
In general, 98% of the bacteria found in these analyses were of a dangerous nature – gram-negative rods (such as E-coli). Along with gram-negative rods, the bottles harbored gram-positive cocci, which can lead to skin infections, pneumonia, or blood poisoning.
The symptoms that you may experience from gram-negative rod bacteria include; gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, weakened immune systems and general illness.
So What Can You Do??
- Opt for Stainless Steel or Glass bottles with entirely smooth interiors, instead of plastic.
- If you must choose plastic, opt for Straw Top cups or simple Flip Cap cups and wash them thoroughly after each and every use. The simpler the mechanics of the cup, the cleaner it will be.
- Do not leave your bottle in your hot car during the summer months and then drink from it!
- If you cannot wash your cup immediately after each use, give it a good rinse in HOT water and make a real effort to wipe dry the nooks and crannies prior to refilling.
- Refill with cold water to slow down the proliferation.