Bored with Water?
Many sweet alternatives come with sour realities difficult to swallow
This month, we take a look into the market of water enhancement products. It seems that drinking plain old water is no longer popular, as many people are turning to solutions with sweeteners and added flavor.
The variety of sweeteners has been marketed towards those trying to lose weight, sports fans and those looking for a burst of energy or focus. Popular brands, like Mio and Crystal Light, promote a variety of products with various enhancing properties. In addition to sweetening, these products also add ingredients such as caffeine or electrolytes to the user’s drink for even more appeal. Normally, carb conscious consumers wouldn’t glance twice at these sweetening products; but because these beloved little tubes add ZERO calories it makes them a hip and guilt-free option.
These sweetening options may seem harmless, but there are indeed some sour aspects behind the “enhancement” of your water. The most obvious red flag should be the large amount of artificial sweeteners. Some of these products are essentially a concentration of chemicals. Even though the FDA has deemed them safe for consumption, there is conflicting evidence that artificial sweeteners are to blame for several health ailments. A recent study has shown adverse effects such as weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes with regular intake of artificial sweeteners. Another complaint is that these unnaturally sweet chemicals desensitize our taste buds to whole-food flavor profiles. This means some fruits or vegetables may taste less desirable to those whose taste buds are accustomed to overly sweet artificial sugars.
Besides sweetness, these products also typically contain concentrated amounts of caffeine, artificial colors, and other chemicals. While these ingredients may be safe in small amounts, many of the water enhancement products are notorious for under-emphasizing proper serving sizes. The commercial of colorful characters comes to mind…squirting beverages multiple times – their excitement building with each additional serving added. The products’ small shapes and sizes also make it easy for unknowing people to devour their concentrated chemicals, colors, and caffeine all at once.
There is obviously a market for solutions that make water more desirable, as most people still do not drink enough water each day. Even with the clear health benefits of staying hydrated, some people need extra incentives to make water a priority. While the syrup and powder products fail in terms of nutritional benefits, they can be easily replaced with healthier options that DO actually enhance water. In fact, there are many less expensive options to flavor water. Try some of the following to hydrate with more pizazz:
- Add flavorful fruit to water: berries, oranges, watermelon, cherries, lemons, limes
- Add something out of the ordinary like sliced cucumber or lemongrass
- Spices and cooking herbs add tons of natural flavor. Nice additions include: ginger, mint, and basil
- Herbal teas like hibiscus flower, rose petal or orange blossom add flavor, antioxidants, and natural sweetness
Water doesn’t necessarily need enhancement, but more people do need to drink water. The common enhancement products on store shelves shouldn’t cause harm in small amounts, but they won’t lead to better hydration or help with weight loss. The easy alternatives on the other hand are more flavorful, completely natural and WILL provide benefits such as antioxidants without any of the sour downfalls.