Are you part of a big group of people who know it is good for you to drink the hydrating, tasteless, clear fluid daily...., but just the thought of it leaves you cold? Then much to your relief, water with added vitamins and minerals were introduced and it tastes great! The question then is, can you drink it as a suitable alternative to water?
Sugar and other calorie containing sweeteners
Let’s just put it out there – on average, water products with added vitamins and minerals has about 500 kilojoules (120 calories) per bottle and 31g of sugar. To use a comparison, a can of cola has 39 g of sugar.
To top it off, many of these products have more than just one sweetener added. Look at the ingredients and you will see items such as cane sugar, crystalline fructose or dextrose – all of which contribute to the total amount of sugar.
Thus, the answer is no, water with added vitamins and minerals cannot form part of a weight loss programme and it does not hydrate you.
There is, however, flavoured waters without the added sugar that uses artificial sweeteners which have very little caloric value. If you are not sensitive to artificial sweeteners, then this will be a better option than the sugar-flavoured water from a calorie perspective, however, there are still other ingredients to take notice of that might make you reconsider!
Many products have colouring added; some ranges use vegetable or fruit juice concentrates for colouring, but mostly artificial colouring is used for which some individuals may be sensitive to.
‘Natural flavouring’ might also appear on ingredient list and there is no way to tell what it actually is. Just like most other commercial products, a preservative is also needed for flavoured waters.
Fruit-flavoured beverages usually needs an emulsifier because the flavouring ingredient in these drinks tends to be an oil-based compound. The emulsifier prevents the flavouring oil from separating out and floating atop the water, so the drink tastes consistent from start to finish.
Small amounts of vitamins
Depending on the product, different ingredients are added – typically a selection of vitamins or some minerals such as magnesium, potassium, or zinc (minerals which occur naturally in water in any way).
The name of the drink hints at the intended benefits. For example, if you see the word "energy", a range of B-vitamins and guarana are added. A product with "multi-vitamin" has several vitamins added as well as some minerals.
The Bottom Line
The main fluid you use for hydration should still be water, not water with colouring, sugar and artificial flavourings added. The amount of vitamins or minerals you would get from drinking a bottle of flavoured water isn't worth the additives that tag along.
If you are environmentally conscious, drinking plain water in a reusable water bottle generates less waste than many plastic bottles of flavoured water.
Get your vitamins and minerals mostly from the foods you eat. Drinking a bottle of flavoured water does not replace eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain much more nutrients than flavoured water and of course fibre as well. In fact, research is finding that it is the synergy among all the different phytonutrients and vitamins/minerals within plant foods that matters more, rather than single individual vitamin or mineral.
Tips to increase water intake
Make water accessible! Get yourself a filtering system or table-top cooler or just even a jug
that is where you can see it all the time!
Plan ahead! If you know you’re going to be out and about all day or sitting at meetings out of the office, take your re-usable bottle with.
If drinking water gets a little boring, add some lemon, cucumber or mint to it.
Different strokes for different folks – some like it hot and some like it cold….
Sometimes we just forget …. set a reminder on your phone or electronic calendar