Super Waters: Health or Hype?

Will these new waters actually get us to drink up?

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

These days, bottled water is not necessarily simple H2O. Store shelves and vending machines are filled with plain and so-called "fitness waters," chock full of vitamins, minerals, and herbal potions. Some super waters not only come with nutrient additions but contain soluble fiber, fruit essence, caffeine, and believe it or not, oxygen.

Drink Up

Everyone has heard the age-old advice to drink eight to ten glasses of water a day. More of us need to heed this sage advice to keep our bodies well hydrated and our energy level up. The problem is, we get bored with large volumes of plain water. Enter the age of fitness waters. Savvy marketers have picked up on the need for low-calorie beverages and have developed fitness waters to help us meet our fluid requirements. The real question is, are fitness waters any better than plain water? And the simple answer is, only if they help you drink up. Otherwise, plain water is just fine.

Most of the fitness waters are low in calories and pose little threat to the daily caloric intake or eating plan. If you enjoy drinking them and they help you meet your fluid needs, enjoy one or two per day. For best selection, read the label or check out the following chart of the most popular fitness waters on the market:

Fitness Waters

Product Name
Calories/8 ounce serving
Comments
Aquafina Essentials
40
4 flavors
Dasani NutriWater
20
4 flavors
e20 Energy Water
10 or 40
 
Elements Enhanced Water
40
4 flavors
Enhance
35-40
6 flavors
Fruit20 Plus
0
3 flavors
glaceau vitaminwater®
50
14 flavors
Propel Fitness Water
10
6 flavors
Pulse
9-18
3 formulas, 8 flavors
Reebok® Fitness Water
0 or 10
4 flavors, 1 natural
VitaRain
70
6 flavors

Coffee, Tea, or Fitness Water?

You can satisfy approximately half of your fluid requirements with beverages other than water, such as low-fat milk, coffee, caffeine-free tea, 100% juice, sports drinks, or sparkling water. Not only can drinking these beverages satisfy your fluid needs, so can water-rich foods and fluids such as soup, fruits, and vegetables. The additional benefit of eating water-rich foods is all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals they provide, which will not only quench thirst but also keep you feeling full. Consider these dieters' dream foods!

  • Foods that melt at room temperature, such as gelatin, frozen yogurt, or low-calorie frozen novelty bars, contain plenty of fluids.
  • Broth-based vegetable soup is a winning combination, low in calories, chock full of nutrients, and very filling.
  • Fruits and vegetables can contribute up to 3-4 cups of fluid to your diet. Choose produce with high fluid content such as grapes, watermelon, grapefruit, orange, squash, broccoli, or eggplant.

Oh, you want to be kind to your wallet and get your fluids the good old-fashioned way, with plain drinking water? You can always consider these options to help you jazz up plain water and meet your fluid needs:

  • Create your own flavored water with the addition of fruit slices such as lemon, lime, or orange. They will all add great flavor with virtually no added calories.
  • Freeze chunks of fruit or citrus zest in ice cubes that you then use to flavor plain water.
  • A splash of cranberry or fruit juice and a wedge of lime to turn plain sparkling water into a delicious treat.
  • Make iced tea from a combination of flavorful teas such as mint, mango, or cherry.
  • Herbal teas are soothing and come in a variety of flavors without extra calories.
  • Flavored seltzer waters without added sugars are wonderfully refreshing water alternatives.
  • Try some homemade lemonade -- low-sugar, of course!

Remember to limit your intake of caffeinated, artificially sweetened, and alcoholic beverages to fulfill your requirements as these beverages can rob your body of fluids and contribute to dehydration.

In the end, regardless of your choice of beverage, the most important thing is to drink up for good health!

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