Over the last several years, flavored water has become more popular. We all know that drinking water is good for us, but it can be difficult to drink the recommended amount every day. Some flavored waters offer vitamins or herbs, and some claim to help us with our sports performance. Are these flavored waters just as good as plain water? Are they better in some cases? Although flavored waters may taste better than plain water, unfortunately, there are additions to these waters that you might not want in your drinks.
Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar
Plain water has zero calories and no artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, many flavored waters contain artificial sweeteners or sugar. I have seen artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame in flavored waters on store shelves (I have written previously about my experience with aspartame and memory loss). Some flavored waters even contain sugar. So much for flavored water being a healthy drink that can serve as a water substitute. Many also contain preservatives. If you’re looking for a chemical-free drink with zero (or very little calories), most flavored waters do not make the cut.
Vitamins and Minerals?
Although some flavored waters do contain vitamins or healthy herbs, many of these waters also contain ingredients that you may not want. Glaceau Vitamin Water’s Energy formula contains water and vitamins, but it also contains crystalline fructose, caffeine, gum ester, and caramel color. It also contains 125 calories per bottle. Other flavors have similar ingredients. Snapple’s Antioxidant water contains electrolytes and vitamins, but it also contains modified corn starch, sugar, disodium edta, and epigallocatechin gallate.
Getting Your Water In
Not all flavored water contains sugar and preservatives. Hint has zero calories, no sugar, preservatives, or artificial flavor, and has a small amount of natural flavors. You can flavor your own water by adding a little cucumber, lime, lemon, or mint to your water. Drinking purified water, chilling your water, and finding a container that you like to drink out of can help too.
You probably don’t need to avoid all flavored water all the time. Not all flavored water is made the same; some are less healthy than others. Additionally, a little bit of sugar probably won’t hurt you. Before you decide to buy your next bottle of flavored water, take a look at the ingredients list. There might be things in there that you’d rather avoid, or at least consume in moderation. By paying attention to what you are drinking, at least you won’t accidentally consume excessive calories while thinking you are only drinking “water”.
Amazon.com. Ingredients list for various flavored water products.
Sass, Cynthia. “Flavored Waters: Read This Before You Buy.” Good Housekeeping, August 2010, pp. 49-51.