Best & Worst

The Best & Worst Water Enhancers

Beverage marketers have really outdone themselves this time. They’ve actually been successful at selling us “diet water.” Think about that for a second.

Best & Worst

The Best & Worst Water Enhancers

Beverage marketers have really outdone themselves this time. They’ve actually been successful at selling us “diet water.” Think about that for a second.

Yes, you can buy little bottles of colorful liquid to squeeze in your water that say they add B vitamins and other vitamins and minerals, but let’s be clear, most of these flavor squeezers are just artificial chemical concoctions that don’t do anything to enhance the properties of water. (Even chocolate milk would be better; we created a milk diet around that.)

Here’s our run down of the best and worst water enhancers (unfortunately there are very few that make the cut!):

DRINK THIS!

Stur Liquid Water Enhancer

Stur

Again, this is not going to make your water healthier, but at least it doesn’t contain some of the more egregious chemicals found in most other drink squeezers. That is, if you don’t mind Stevia extract, which we're still on the fence about.

DRINK THIS!

Skinnygirl Water Enhancer

Skinnygirl Water Enhancer

While there are still more preservatives in here that we would like, at least it doesn’t contain antifreeze and “weighting” agents. It has vegetable juice for color and Stevia Extract and cane sugar for sweetness.

NOT THAT!

Crystal Light Liquid

Crystal Light Liquid

With claims like “zero calories” and “no sugar” you’d think this was a harmless drink mix. But when you look at the ingredient list you see 12 ingredients, including the artificial sweetener Sucralose and sucrose acetate isobutyrate, a thickening or “weighting” agent also found in printing inks.

NOT THAT!

MiO Liquid Water Enhancer

MiO Liquid Water Enhancer

The second ingredient in these little bottles is propylene glycol, a preservative, thickening agent, and stabilizer, also used as antifreeze to de-ice airplanes, as a plasticizer to make polyester resins, and found in electronic cigarettes.

NOT THAT!

Dasani Drops

Dasani Drops

Nestled in this 13-ingredient list are the artificial sweetener Sucralose, and ink thickener sucrose acetate isobutyrate.

NOT THAT!

Propel Zero Sport

Propel Zero Sport

This zippy sounding sports drink mix is nothing more than citric acid, salt, and antifreeze (propylene glycol)—mixed with a little artificial coloring and a splash of B vitamins.

Also, to ensure that you’re adequately hydrated, below are five ways you could be drinking water wrong.

1. You’re Drinking More Water Than You Need

If you go several days without drinking water, you’ll be in a world of trouble. But the idea that eight glasses a day is optimal — well, that’s soggy logic. In 1945, The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences claimed that the body needed two-and-a-half liters of water a day — without citing a clinical study!

In a 2011 article published in the British Medical Journal, that myth was debunked. The study’s author, Margaret McCartney, noted that this spurious fact had been widely disseminated by a water-advocacy group called Hydration for Health. The group was created by the French food giant Danone — which happes to own the Volvic, Evian and Badoit bottled-water brands. Quelle surprise! New guidelines by the Institute of Medicine are more specific. They recommend 91 ounces of water per day for women and 120 for men. However, they note that "the vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide."

2. You’re Avoiding Caffeine Unnecessarily

Caffeine can raise your heart rate, boost your workout and boost your metabolism. Don’t worry that that a cup of coffee or tea will cause your body to shrivel like a raisin; their diuretic qualities are largely overblown. "Recent research shows that caffeine doses between 250 and 300 milligrams — about two cups of coffee — will minimally increase urine output for about three hours after consuming it," says Susan Yeargin, Ph.D., assistant professor of athletic training at the University of South Carolina. But the research also shows that exercise seems to negate those effects. If you run within one to two hours of drinking coffee, you don't pee more. "It’s thought that blood flow shifts toward your muscles and away from your kidneys during exercise which means that urine output isn't affected.

3. You Discount the Water Content of Solid Foods

About 20% of our daily H2O intake comes from solid foods — fruits and vegetables in particular. Although it’s good to be mindful of how much water your body asks for, you can also hydrate with fruits and veggies, most of which are largely water. A cucumber, for example, is 96.7% water. Lettuce, celery, tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit and green peppers are more than 90% water. Unlike pure water, however, these foods are rich in a range of nutrients and vitamins. Eating a significant percentage of your water is an excellent way to achieve your health and fitness goals. Check out our report on the Healthy Food Better for Hydration Than Gatorade!

4. You’re Drinking Too Much Water During Your Workout

The “everything in moderation” dictum should even be applied to water, according to scientists. Drinking too much can cause symptomatic hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium levels in the blood become dangerously low. Sodium balances the fluids in and around your body’s cells. Drinking too much water can cause an imbalance, in which the excess liquid moves from your blood to inside your cells, causing them to swell.

Under normal conditions, you’d have to drink a huge amount of water to experience hypernatremia, which is also called “water intoxication”. However, if you’re a serious runner or a particularly salty sweater — indicated by white streaks on your skin and/or clothing after you run — you could harm yourself by downing H20 too quickly. For these people, sports drinks such as Gatorade can be useful in replenishing sodium and electrolytes in the body.

5. You’re Not Pacing Your Hydration for Your Workout

Here are some guidelines experts have set:

Before

The day before a race or an intense training day, drink extra water and other nutrient-rich fluids. On the morning of the event, drink two cups of fluid two hours prior, giving your kidneys enough time to process the liquids and you enough time to pee before the start. Thirty minutes beforehand, drink another five to ten mouthfuls of water or a sports drink.

During

Experts say that for each pound lost during exercise, you should drink an additional 16 oz. of fluid. That means that if you drank 8 oz. while exercising for 60 minutes and lost one pound, your goal is to drink an additional 16 oz. during your next hour-long workout. That means you would need to drink a total of 24 oz. to ensure proper hydration, or about 6 oz. of fluid every 15 minutes.

After

For each pound lost during activity, drink 24 oz. of fluid. If your body weight has increased, you’ve overhydrated, and you should drink less fluid in future exercise sessions.

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