Water is important for health. Your body is 80-90% water. On a cellular level water removes waste, brings nutrients to the cells and transports oxygen. Water is essential and it is recommended you drink 40-50% of your body weight in ounces of water daily. That may seem like a lot of water to consume daily.
This does not include water that may be present in other drinks such as coffee, caffeinated tea, sodas, etc. Non caffeinated herbal tea does count toward your daily water intake.
It is important to drink mostly plain water without sugars, artificial sugars, chemical additives, preservatives or colors.
So in the quest to drink more water and perhaps drink less sugary drinks such as soda, energy drinks, flavored coffee and electrolyte drinks that are mostly sugar, we reach for flavored water or water flavoring enhancers. It is a better choice than sugary drinks? Is it healthy?
How healthy a drink is depends on it’s ingredients. All flavored waters or water flavoring enhancers are sweetened with some type of sugar or artificial sweetener. Cane sugar is a healthier choice than artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are known to cause cravings, headaches, weight gain (yes, zero calorie artificial sweeteners have been shown to cause weight gain), metabolic syndrome (a precursor to type 2 diabetes) and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Some of the better known artificial sweeteners are: aspartame, Equal, NutraSweet, Phenlalanine, saccharin, Splenda, sorbitol, sucralose, Twinsweet and Sweet ‘N Low. Avoid these if you can. They are chemicals and why would you put chemicals in your water?
Also avoid high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup & fructose syrup which are known to cause weight gain and contribute to obesity.
Since all flavored water or water flavoring enhancers are sweetened it would be best to chose a sweetener that is natural. The natural sweeteners include cane sugar, honey, stevia, coconut sugar, maple syrup and monk fruit.
All flavored waters contain artificial colors such as Yellow #5, Blue #1, and Red #40. These are 3 of the most popular FDA permitted food colorings. Only seven colors remain on the FDA’s approved list and they are likely in your flavored water or water flavoring enhancers. Again these are chemicals. Instead look for naturally colored and flavored water alternatives.
When looking for flavored water or water flavoring enhancers choose one with the least number of ingredients. You should be able to pronounce all of the ingredients and each ingredient should be found in nature.
Another point to consider is that none of the flavored waters or water flavoring enhancers contain any significant nutrition. They are for taste value only.