Vitamin water and alkaline water are part of a growing trend these days.
As a society, we know that lifestyle changes are needed. Things like obesity, heart disease and cancer are affecting more and more people each year. For that reason, the popularity of health boosting drinks is growing. But before we invest hundreds to thousands of dollars in the next drink fad, do these supplemented beverages really have a pay-off?
Let me start with Vitamin Water.
Many of us hate eating fruits and vegetables so Vitamin Water seems like the next best bet. Here is the problem with Vitamin Water. First, the added vitamins and minerals are synthetic. This means they were made in a lab as opposed to grown in real foods. Dr Daniel H. Chong ND likens consuming synthetic vitamins to eating refined foods. These “refined” vitamins and minerals are in an artificial form and are do not contain the full nutrient structure of their whole food counterpart. We must add to the equation that Vitamin Waters contain high levels of sweeteners. The first ingredient listed on the label after water is crystalline fructose followed by cane sugar. That is a lot of sugar. At the end of the day, drinking Vitamin Water is not much better than drinking a soda.
What about Alklaine Water?
This fad arose from the growing concern that modern diets leave our bodies in a detrimental acidic state. The ideal pH of the body is about 7.2, meaning slightly alkaline. A bodily shift to an acidic pH becomes problematic on a cellular level. The liver, pancreas, heart, lungs and brain can not function properly in an acidic environment. Alkaline water is made by altering the pH of water to above 7 to mimic the desired pH of the body.
Does consuming alkaline water therefore alter the pH of the body?
Unfortunately, no. Dr. Mercola likens Alkaline Water to snake oil. It seems like a good idea, but it doesn’t solve the internal problem. Dr. Mercola states that the only possible short term benefit of Alkaline Water is a slight temporary increase in bodily detoxification. Unfortunately this benefit is brief, only lasting for the first week or two of regular consumption. Although balancing the body’s pH is never simple, consuming more fruits and veggies and less sugar and refined carbohydrates is a good start.
High end fruit juice blends like Naked Juice are another problematic category of product.
These are often given the label “no added sugar” to appeal to health conscious customers. Here’s the thing though. Fruit only has a small impact on blood sugar. This is because the fiber in fruit helps slow the surge of sugar into the body. Once the sugar has been separated from the fiber, it is perceived by the body very similarly to table sugar. One of these Naked Juices has about 26 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving. A Coca Cola has about the same. While there are other reasons to choose juice over soda, juice isn’t as healthy as one might think.
What should you drink if you want some health benefits from your beverage?
Certain teas are extremely beneficial for health. For instance, green tea is a extremely high in the catechin EGCG which has been shown through numerous studies to provide protective cardiovascular and metabolic benefits. Chamomile teas are great for blood sugar stabilization. Oolong teas was found through a study to improve lipid metabolism and fight against obesity. Teas are a great way to go if you want a drink that will support your health.
Coconut water is another healthy drink option.
Coconut water is not a concocted “health beverage” like Vitamin Water or Alkaline Water. It is a naturally occurring product extracted from young coconuts. Coconut water is high in vitamins and minerals, electrolytes and antioxidants. Unlike Vitamin Water which provides synthetic nutrients. coconut water’s nutrients are in their natural state and are more likely to be properly metabolized by the body
So that is why I avoid Vitamin Water, Alkaline Water and other fad health drinks.
They are all hype and little help. If you really love the taste of one of these drinks, then go ahead and include them occasionally for fun. Things we enjoy enhance our lives. You all know how I love my coffee. But don’t waste your money on a bunch of empty promises. You can get a quality box of tea for $6 to $10. I’ve gotten coconut water on sale for 99 cents. If you really want to use beverages to support your health, those options will give the best bang for the buck.