Next time you head to the grocery store, you may want to think twice about getting those sports drinks. Stephanie Castillo of Prevention broke down the different types of bottled water and the myths surrounding them.
Yes, I know drinking plain water can be boring, especially if you’re getting the recommended eight glasses a day. But before you reach for that “healthy” alternative, read this.
“In general, we have no evidence that water can be improved,” says Prevention’s nutrition advisor David Katz, MD, MPH, an associate professor adjunct in public health at Yale University’s School of Medicine. “There is no convincing evidence of benefit from any version of ‘enhanced’ water.”
In general, he says, “we consider a beverage ‘water’ if it has no calories, no sodium (or trivial amounts in mineral water), and no sweetener (sugar, alternative, or artificial),” says Dr. Katz. “If a product is sweetened, it’s not water—it’s a soda.”
Here’s what you need to know before you glug your next jug of fancy water.
Ah, the current big thing. I’m sure you’ve heard about coconut water. Dubbed “mother nature’s sport drink,” coconut water’s high levels of potassium, sodium, and antioxidants make it seem like the ultimate post-sweat swig. But just last year, scientists at ConsumerLab.com took several brands of coconut water to the lab and tested them to be sure. Their findings? Only one brand actually contained the amount of sodium and potassium claimed on its nutritional label.
Assuming the label is telling the truth, coconut water is a decent choice for after a light workout, but it’s not a good call after intense ones because it doesn’t contain enough sodium, according to a recent study presented at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
Waters Enhanced With Vitamins
Sure, some of these beverages have vitamins in them, but with up to 200 calories and 33 g of sugar per bottle, you’re better off thinking of these drinks as soda.
What’s more, says Ara DerMarderosian, PhD, a pharmacognosy professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, waters that are heavily fortified with vitamins and minerals may actually suppress your immune system if you’re already taking in enough vitamins and minerals through your diet.
Smart Water is distilled (which means it’s boiled and then recondensed from the steam to kill microbes and remove minerals) and enhanced with potassium, magnesium, and calcium. According to the company’s website, it also “one-ups ma nature by adding in electrolytes for faster hydration.”
But there’s no real evidence of there being a benefit to adding electrolytes to a hydration formula, says Dr. Katz, unless you’re intensely exerting yourself in blazing heat and eating isn’t an option. “Under other circumstances, water in its native state will do just fine.”
Read more here 6 Sketchy “Enhanced Waters” – Exposed!