Flavoured waters: Is this new trend healthy?

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Flavoured water, also referred to as enhanced water, is a trendy drink found on market shelves in recent years. Whilst wildly popular in the United States, they are now starting to find their way into stores in the UK and across Europe. If you are tired of drinking plain water, could flavoured water be a tasty substitute for this healthy thirst-quencher? Not necessarily so, depending on what’s in it. Here’s what you need to know about flavoured or enhanced waters.

What’s in them?

Although the label contains the word “water”, chances are that bottled drink you select is full of ingredients in addition to water. In fact, the large majority contain all kinds of additives. Of course, you can expect sugars, some of them natural but most often artificial in order to keep the calorie count low.

Vitamins, minerals and other enhancements are also quite common. Many enhanced waters contain potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12. These are all healthful minerals and vitamins found naturally in food sources. This may lead you to believe that flavoured waters are healthy.

The ingredients

Under the category of other enhancements, you can expect to find SuperCitriMax, ChromeMate, and Epigallocatechin gallate in the flavoured water you buy from the market. Never heard of them? You’re not alone. But you should be aware of what these ingredients are made from and why they are included.

SuperCitriMax is a form of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). It is derived from the Garcinia Cambogia fruit, which is known for its appetite suppression qualities. Although it is a safe additive, some medical studies have shown that there is little to no effect on weight loss or fat reduction when ingesting HCA unless accompanied by vigorous daily workouts. And that, of course, will cause weight loss on its own, without chemical help!

ChromeMate is another common additive in flavoured waters. It is a form of the nutrient chromium, which regulates metabolism. Proponents claim it has a positive effect on the body’s insulin levels and aids weight loss. However, because the amounts in enhanced waters are so miniscule and chromium represents only one tiny piece of the metabolic process, it’s doubtful a bottle of water could help you shed pounds.

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is found in green tea. It is also a metabolic aid that is thought to help burn calories as well as function as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Research on the effects of EGCG on the body has been positive in regards to weight loss. Once again, however, it’s doubtful that the small amount of this additive included in enhanced waters could make much of a difference.

If you are drinking flavoured water because of its health benefit, you should keep in mind the amount of sugar it contains – which could be as much as a fizzy drink! When you really wish to drink something healthful, stick with plain old water from the tap, fridge or water cooler enhanced with, perhaps, a slice of lemon – there’s really no substitute.

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