Poor water. It’s fallen prey to the marketing machine, being jazzed up with such captivating words as ‘vitamin’ or ‘blueberry-pomegranate’.
Phil just found some vitamin water in our apartment building’s exercise room, and looked at the bottle and the case it came in but couldn’t find any nutritional information. So how can you decide which is the healthiest flavored water?
The first time I saw flavored water it was in New Zealand 8 years ago. I was there with my family, and my brother and I had just spent the afternoon mountain biking so we were really thirsty.
I thought it sounded intriguing, and it tasted great – plus I felt so much better drinking it than sugary juice or iced tea.
About halfway through my bottle, I was reminded of something and felt embarrassed. My mom, for as long as I can remember, would never drink juice straight. She’d put the tiniest bit of juice into a massive glass of water, and my brother and I would tease her about it.
But drinking this flavored water, I realized that was exactly what she was doing – not watering down the juice, but flavoring the water.
Commercial vitamin water, despite the added vitamins, is definitely not the healthiest flavored water. It has a lot of sugar – 32.5g in a 591 mL (or 20 fl oz) bottle – and it often comes in the form of highly processed sugars or syrups. People often compare the sugar content to a can of coke, which has 40.5g of sugar but in only 330 ML (or 12 fl oz).
Vitamin water isn’t quite as bad as sodas, but 32.5g of sugar in a drink is still a lot – especially when that drink is marketed as healthy. The benefit – miniscule amounts of added cheap vitamins – isn’t even worth it when you can just take a multivitamin and get the same thing without the sugar and with higher-quality vitamins if you choose your supplement well.
Other brands don’t bother adding vitamins, and don’t add sugar, but still aren’t the healthiest flavored water because they use chemicals and artificial sweeteners instead. Those compounds can do just as much – if not more – damage as sugars.
So looking at all of this, my verdict is that the healthiest flavored water is the one that you make yourself. It’s so easy, too!
- Fruit-Infused Water. Just throw some lemon, lime, orange and/or grapefruit slices in a pitcher of water and keep refilling the water until the fruit’s looking old. Berries or kiwi are another great fruit to try.
- Iced Tea. Another strategy that I’m using right now is to brew some fruity herbal teas and then put them in the fridge. You can add a bit of unrefined sugar or maple syrup if you want to give it a touch of sweetness.
- Juice-Flavored Water. For the ultimate simplicity, just buy a jar of 100% real juice (cranberry is my favorite) and add a little bit to your glass of water. Phil adds about 33% juice because it tastes better, while I add only about 10%.
The main thing is that you want to get enough water during the day. Water is a hugely important part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s involved in every one of your body’s processes, and makes up a big part of your cells’ structure. If a bit of flavor helps you do that, then go for it!
What do you think of flavored water? Do you make your own? Or do you buy it? Let me know by leaving a comment below.