Q: Dear Nutritioulicious,
I know that I don’t drink enough water, so I’ve been trying to drink more. In addition to plain water, I’ve been drinking bottles of vitaminwater10, which is sweetened with Truvia instead of sugar. Are these as hydrating as regular water? And what do you think of the added vitamins — are they beneficial? — Molly
A: Dear Molly,
I think it’s great that you’re starting to drink more water — it is, after all, one of the 6 essential nutrients that your body needs to survive! Plain tap water or bottled water without minerals added are your best sources of water. Some bottled waters add minerals, such as calcium and sodium, so read the labels and be careful not to choose the ones with added sodium.
As for those vitamin waters, well, let’s just say I’m not a fan. Let’s take a closer look at the vitamin water to see why:
- Calories: Yes, vitaminwater10 does contain fewer calories than other vitamin waters, but it still contains 10 calories per 8 ounce serving, and when a whole bottle has 2.5 servings (20 ounces) that means you’re getting 25 calories from water — that’s 25 calories more than you would get if you drank plain water.
- Sugar: While vitaminwater10 has less sugar than the original vitaminwater (3 g vs. 13 g per 8-ounce serving), it is certainly not sugar-free like plain water is. Most people take in a lot more sugar from other sources, but getting extra sugar from water just seems, well, unnatural.
- Ingredients: In plain water the only ingredient you will find is pure, simple H2O — water. The ingredient list of vitaminwater10 is way too long to reprint here (sign #1 that something’s not right), but if we take a look at the first 10 ingredients in the vitaminwater10 low cal xxx (açai-blueberry-pomegranate) flavor this is what you’ll see:
- Reverse Osmosis Water, Crystalline Fructose, Erythritol, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Vegetable Juice (Color), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Berry And Fruit Extracts (Acai, Blueberry, Pomegranate And Apple), Magnesium Lactate (Electrolyte), Rebiana (Stevia Extract)
Do you recognize these ingredients? Some of them I have never heard of, but I can tell you that “crystalline fructose” is a form of sugar and “erythritol” is a sugar alcohol — not so natural.
The antioxidants in the water come from the “berry and fruit extracts” — not really a great source when you can get more antioxidant benefits from eating the fruit itself.
Rebiana, the stevia extract, is a natural sweetener that finally got FDA approval and is fine as long as you can tolerate the bitter taste.
The minimal benefit of the added vitamins from the water are not worth the calories when you can get plenty of vitamins from food itself.
And as for all those electrolytes, unless you’re an athlete or are running marathons, chances are you don’t need to replace them.
The bottom line: As I always say, get your nutrients from food first. If you need some help getting more water in, try adding your own fruit to tap water. For example, add sliced orange, lemon, or lime for a citrus twist, or add cucumber for a cool, refreshing change of pace. Don’t rely on vitamin waters to get your nutrients — you’ll get plenty from a well-balanced diet alone.