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“Fancy” Water: Worth It or A Waste?

By Lucas Johnson

Water is one of the most important things in life. But for something so essential, it’s not very exciting, is it?

Drinking plain water isn’t always the most Earth-shattering thing in the world, but here are the facts you need to know before you spend money on one of those specialty bottles of water, such as coconut water, vitamin-enhanced and electrolyte water.

Coconut Water
Dubbed “mother nature’s sport drink,” coconut water’s high levels of potassium, sodium, and antioxidants make it seem like the ultimate post-sweat swig. But just last year, scientists at took several brands of coconut water to the lab and tested them to be sure. Their findings? Only one brand actually contained the amount of sodium and potassium claimed on its nutritional label.

Assuming the label is telling the truth, coconut water is a decent choice for after a light workout, but it’s not a good call after intense ones because it doesn’t contain enough sodium.

Vitamin-Enhanced Water
Now some of these beverages do have vitamins in them. But many of them also are 200 calories and have 33 g of sugar per bottle, making them more like soda than water.

What’s more, says Ara DerMarderosian, PhD, a pharmacognosy professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, waters that are heavily fortified with vitamins and minerals may actually suppress your immune system if you’re already taking in enough vitamins and minerals through your diet.

Electrolyte Water
Electrolyte water is distilled (which means it’s boiled and then recondensed from the steam to kill microbes and remove minerals) and enhanced with potassium, magnesium, and calcium. According to the company’s website, it also “one-ups ma nature by adding in electrolytes for faster hydration.”

But there’s no real evidence of there being a benefit to adding electrolytes to a hydration formula, experts say, unless you’re intensely exerting yourself in blazing heat and eating isn’t an option. Otherwise, plain water is just as effective.

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