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Water Flavoring: Is It Healthy?

Water flavoring packets have been popular for over a decade now and they’ve continued to be popular as well. Even if they aren’t as popular as perhaps they once were. Brands like Mio and Vital Protein are still selling very well. This is for a good reason, drinking water instead of soft drinks has become a major health push but water gets boring and these flavorings provide an alternative to soft drinks or sugary juices. Even fruit juice drinks are often packed with sugar and can be worse than sodas for you. So are water flavorings a good alternative or another unhealthy fad? Are there alternatives to the alternatives?

Water Flavoring Nutrition

First let’s dig into the nutrition of water flavorings. Brands can matter a lot here. Do your research and don’t just buy the most popular product. Avoid high sugar options and opt for no sugar added or at least less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.

In some cases water flavorings can even bring more nutrition. Many water flavorings are fortified with vitamins, such as Vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and electrolytes like potassium and magnesium.

Benefits of Water Flavorings

orange slices and kiwis in water for flavoring
  1. Increased Water Intake:
    • Besides avoiding sugar, water flavorings are a great way to encourage better hydration without turning to soft drinks. Although you have to pay extra for the flavorings, if it makes your tap water palatable, you can find yourself saving a lot on drinks. Hydration is crucial for overall health, affecting everything from skin condition to cognitive function.
  2. Nutrient Boost:
    • Many water flavorings are fortified with vitamins and minerals, providing an additional source of essential nutrients. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with specific dietary needs.
  3. Calorie Control:
    • Cutting out soft drinks and juices can make a major impact on your calorie consumption. Water flavorings offer a low-calorie treat that’s easy.
  4. Convenience:
    • Water flavorings are portable and easy to use, making them a convenient option for busy individuals who need a quick hydration boost.
  5. Cost
    • If you haven’t noticed, even buying soft drinks and sports drinks in bulk has gotten more expensive and is becoming a big portion of people’s grocery bill.

Negatives of Water Flavorings

  1. Artificial Ingredients:
    • Many water flavorings contain artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives, which can be a concern for those trying to avoid synthetic additives. While the FDA considers these ingredients safe in moderation, some people prefer to limit their intake due to potential health concerns.
  2. Sugar Content:
    • Not all water flavorings are low in calories. Some contain added sugars which is not ideal for those looking for a healthier option. Excessive sugar can lead to higher calories and higher blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes or are trying to lose weight, avoid added sugar water flavorings.
  3. Dental Health:
    • Acidic flavorings can erode tooth enamel over time, particularly if consumed frequently. It’s advisable to use water flavorings in moderation and maintain good oral hygiene practices.
  4. Cost:
    • Water flavorings can be expensive compared to regular tap water but if they do help avoid soft drinks and sugary juices, it can save you money.
  5. Potential Allergens:
    • Some water flavorings may contain allergens such as gluten, soy, or dairy, posing a risk for those with specific allergies or intolerances.

Alternatives to Water Flavorings

The obvious benefit and purpose of water flavorings is to curb sugary drink consumption for a healthier, flavored drink. That doesn’t mean there are only two options though. There are a ton of other options that are more or less healthy. These can be great options instead of water flavorings or alongside them. 

  • Diet sodas: although they may not be as healthy as water flavorings, diet sodas can still be a good way to avoid high sugar drinks. If you find yourself craving a soda and other options just aren’t filling that need, try a diet soda instead.
  • Tea: tea has long been a great option and there are many cold tea options available. Just pay attention to the nutrients on the back as many have just as much sugar as a full soda. Green tea and peach tea are delicious and can be made at home.
  • Juice: the juice you buy in the store is often got tons of non-fruit ingredients and tons of added sugar. Try to avoid these and instead go for fresh squeezed, no sugar added options. Fruit still has natural sugars so it won’t be sugar free but it will contain additional nutrients.
  • Sparkling water: a popular option these days with LaCroix, Topo-Chico, and tons of grocery store brand options. This is a great way to change the habit from sodas to healthier options while still being more interesting than regular water.
  • Homemade flavorings: You can actually make your own water flavorings at home. Fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice is great to have on hand or simply slices of fruit to add to your water. Refreshing and delicious without all of the additional ingredients that brands add to their water flavorings.
  • Canned or bottled water: Bottled water hs been on the market for a long time but there are more options now than ever before. Canned water has become very popular for convenience, better for the environment, and it feels special as compared to filling a bottle up at home with tap water. The only downside is the additional cost.

Plain water may lack the appeal for some or just never fulfill that craving for a sugary drink but there are options available. Hydration is important, especially during summer months, and drinking multiple sodas a day or even week is not a good idea. Try water flavorings, you may be surprised how much you like them. Creating a new habit starts with the smallest change. If it doesn’t work the first time, try alternatives. It may take a few tries before you find a flavor you like or a process that fits your lifestyle.

Remember, water flavorings are great but plain water is the healthiest option and should always be a part of your daily hydration. Read more about hydration on this article: Sip Smartly

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