13 July, 2011
Is Fruit-Flavored Water Good for You?
It's important to drink plenty of water because it promotes the normal function of your entire body. Plain water is your best bet because it's calorie-free, but many fruit-flavored waters are available on store shelves as well. Many of these varieties, however, aren't exactly nutritious even if they do supply some vitamins and minerals.
There's No Real Fruit
Fruit-flavored water doesn't contain actual fruit, but most varieties instead contain artificial flavors meant to mimic the taste of fruit. Eating real fruit is wise because it contains a good dose of many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and potassium, that you need for good health. Though some fruit-flavored waters do have nutrients, they can't replace whole fruit if you want to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Fruit-flavored water can count toward your daily fluid intake, however, if you choose the most nutritious versions.
Spoonfuls of Sugar
A serving of many fruit-flavored waters contains between 36 and 52 calories, unlike calorie-free plain water. The calories in these varieties come from the added sugar. A serving of fruit-flavored water can have between 9 and 13 grams of added sugar, which translates to between 2.25 and 3.25 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that women keep their daily sugar intake to 6 teaspoons or less and that men have no more than 9 teaspoons each day. Other varieties of fruit-flavored water don't contain added sugar, and these are better alternatives.
You Might Get Some Nutrients
Fruit-flavored water does have some redeeming qualities. For example, many fruit-flavored waters are fortified with vitamin C, a nutrient that helps keep your skin and bones healthy. Some fruit-flavored waters are also fortified with vitamin E, an antioxidant that works to protect your cells, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You might also get small amounts of calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin A from a serving of fortified vitamin water.
Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fruit-flavored water, can lead to weight gain, according to a 2006 article in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." The high amount of sugar is what contributes to weight gain in individuals who drink sugary beverages. Opt for plain water most of the time. Look for fruit-flavored waters that aren't sweetened with sugar or artificial flavorings. These can be just as good as plain water because they don't contain calories or any of the sweet stuff. You might also make your own fruit-flavored water by adding 100 percent fruit juice or fresh fruit chunks to your plain water, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Water With Added Vitamins and Minerals, Bottles, Sweetened, Assorted Fruit Flavors
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Water, With Corn Syrup and/or Sugar and Low Calorie Sweetener, Fruit Flavored
- American Heart Association: Sugars and Carbohydrates
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Intake of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Rethink Your Drink
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin E
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