FOOD & COOKING

Best Water Enhancers: Adding Some Flavor to Water

Henry Silva
Written by Henry Silva

If you are looking to be healthier, one of the easiest things that you can do is swap drinking sodas and juices for drinking water.  Studies have shown that even drinking diet sodas versus plain water can cause more weight gain than just drinking water. If you’re wondering how long our body digest the water we drink, see our article on this topic to find out more.

The downside that some people bring up is that water doesn’t have any flavor to it, so it can be a bit dull to drink.

Beautiful coloured bottles

In the past few years, though companies have put out new products to add a touch of flavor to the water, to get you drinking more water.  But what should you look for in your search for the best water enhancers?  We’ll need to go through what you need to know to pick the right choice for you.

What are water enhancers?

These are little bottles filled with a liquid that you squeeze into a container of water.  They are formed from a mixture of ingredients that will differ from company to company.  Some will just add flavor in, others will add in various vitamins or ingredients like taurine to help keep you alert.  Since they are sold in easy to carry small sizes, you can take them with you on a hike or to the office.

liquid-water-enhancers

Also, you are in control of how much you put into your water bottle.  This will be affected by how big of a bottle you are using and also how strong you want the flavor to be.

One of the main selling points of these little bottles of flavoring is that they are shelf stable.  Where you may need to keep a bottle of juice refrigerated, especially after you open it, these can easily be tossed in a bag or a pocket and toted all over town.  There is no need to refrigerate the water after you add some unless you really would like it chilled.

Though for your own safety it might be a wise idea to not leave an unfinished bottle just sit out on the counter for a number of days.  You might wonder what about calories since you are adding in substances to your water.  For that, we need to take a dive into what is used to make these enhancers.

What are water enhancers made of?

If you are trying to be healthier, you have probably already learned how important it is to look at the ingredients on the foods that you buy.  The problem is that sometimes it is hard to tell what is good for you and what is more on the chemical side of the equation.

For example, in water enhancers, you will often find things like citric acid, propylene glycol, and sucralose, among other things.  Are these natural ingredients or man-made ones?  Let’s take a look.

The healthy, functional beverage market is overflowing with opportunities.

First, consider citric acid, it is a naturally occurring acid.  This one is found in citrus fruits and can be beneficial to your body.   But as we move on, things get a little bit muddier.  As we take a look at propylene glycol, there are some interesting things to consider.  It is used to prevent food discoloration when food is stored over periods of time.

Some people will tell you that it is the primary ingredient in anti-freeze, which it normally is, but it can also be found in shaving creams, toothpaste, brake fluid and e-cigarettes.  While studies have shown that this can be problematic and even be damaging to some of your organs if used in high amounts, the FDA does recognize this substance as generally safe.

Is this an ingredient that you should run in fear from?  Probably not, though it may not be the worst thing to consider how many food items it is in that you use.

Then we have the case of sucralose, this is what is sold under the brand name of Splenda.  This substance is apparently made from sugar and so it is supposed to taste like sugar.  However, adding this in instead of sugar means that the product can be labeled sugar-free. Since it is several hundred times sweeter than the ordinary sugar, you can buy companies can put a lot less of this into you a product and make it just as sweet.

This has also been approved by the FDA after they ran tests and found no threat to humans if it is used in the proper amounts.  There are some people that will say that it isn’t great for people much like aspartame.  All in all, this is not a product that you should be overly worried about.

H2O All Natural Liquid Water Enhancer

In addition to these, some will have various other extracts like taurine, ginseng or guarana.  Also, some add in vitamins like B vitamins to perk you up a bit more.  At the end of the day, you have to make the call if you are ok with these ingredients, but they have all been approved by the FDA, showing that they are safe for use.

You can even take your top backpacking water filter to always have clean and potable water to on the go.

How much should I use?

Here is where the real push happens.  You have to exhibit some level of portion control to get the most out of these products. All of them will have a suggested serving size printed on their packaging.  This is a good place to start.

You will want to remember that there are still artificial sweeteners in these products while depending on which study you would like to believe they are better for you or perhaps no worse for you than regular sugar, you don’t still don’t want to take in great gobs of them. You may also want to know the top hydration drinks for more options and choices.

Man Pouring Water Bottle on His Mouth

Many will also have some level of caffeine in them.  In a number of cases, adding in a single serving is like drinking a six-ounce cup of coffee.You might want to up the dosage somewhat if you would like a stronger flavor in your water.  There are some people that have taken it to what could be considered unhealthy levels, though.

If you search on YouTube you will find videos of people pouring the entire bottle into a shot glass and knocking it back all at once. While this is clearly the extreme end of the spectrum you will have to determine how much is enough for you.  At some point, after adding water flavoring to your water bottle the product that you are drinking would be more correctly considered a juice or flavored drink instead of the water.

What does the evidence say?

When you go through the studies and the fact that these are approved by the FDA, it is fairly safe to say that these water enhancers aren’t harmful to you if used according to the serving size.  Like nearly anything that you eat, if you disregard the serving size and go hog wild, they might not be the best thing for your body.

On the other side, though, even with using them according to the serving suggestions, there is no evidence to suggest that they are necessarily healthy for you.  The biggest benefit is most likely being able to get people to swap from drinking soda and sugary juices to drinking more water.  If nothing else, this will keep you well hydrated.

a bottle of water overturned

Which to Choose

Any number of companies are putting out water enhancers.  Are they all equal?  Well, no, not at all really.  There are a wide variety of options and choices and a lot will have to do with your personal preferences.  One of the first things to consider is the reason why you are looking for a water enhancer in the first place.

If you are going about it to get healthy and kick your soda habit you might want to take down some of the offerings from Stur or Skinnygirl Water Enhancement.  These are also good choices if you don’t feel comfortable with propylene glycol.

stur-liquid-water-enhancer

If you are looking for more of something that is easy to carry with you to add a bit of flavor to a bottled water you plan to pick up on your travels, the search is a bit wider.  With so many companies giving you offerings you can narrow it to what style flavoring you want.

If you are looking for a simple fruit flavor there is a range from Dasani or Mio.  If you would like a bit of iced tea on the go Crystal Light has a good selection, even a few lemonade options as well.  If you want to have a connection back to your youth or looking for something your child might enjoy there are several Hawaiian Punch and Kool-Aid offerings that are sure to please.

How about some other options?

There are other choices than just buying a bottle of stuff to squeeze into your water to add a splash of flavor.  You could always just pour some juice into the bottom of your bottle and then fill the rest with water.  This will dilute the juice and give you a hint of flavor while still giving you, the health benefits of drinking mostly water.  Then there is infusion water.  This is normally accomplished by adding some fruit or vegetable to your water.

One of the most popular is to add a wedge of lemon or lime (or even both) into your bottle.  This gives you a crisp bit of flavor to your water.  Of course, it works best when you have a bottle with an opening big enough to add the fruit in.  There are a few bottles on the market now that have a separate compartment to hold the fruit with a screen, or even a juicer, that will let the water flow through but keep the seeds and most of the pulp at bay.

water enhancers

You can also buy a number of seltzers or carbonated waters.  These can come with any number of flavorings added to them.  This may be a choice if you love that fizz of soda, but are looking for an option that is a bit better for your waistline.

Or if you like your water ice cold, why not add some flavors to the ice itself.  You can toss a berry of your choice into each opening of your ice cube tray and then add your berry ice to the water.  As an added bonus the freezing process will burst a number of the cells inside the berry, letting its juice flow out more readily.

Or if you need a bit of a caffeine boost, why fill an ice cube tray up with coffee and let that freeze.  This can add a bit of a coffee bust with your hydration.  If you get creative you can come up with a number of ways to craft your own water enhancers.

Water enhancement on the trail

One place that these little bottles can truly shine is on the trail.  If you are going out on a backpacking trip, there is no way that you’ll be carrying juices or drinks that require refrigeration.

However, with these enhancers, you can add a splash of flavor to your drink as you roll down the trail or stop for a meal.  The ability to switch from just water all day long could be a saving grace or that special treat when it comes to having a glass of juice with your meal.

While there is any number of amazing filter pumps to get great tasting water out of streams and other water sources, not everyone goes that way.  There are some people that purify their drinking water with iodine tablets while out on the trail.  Other times you might stop by a campsite for a night or two only to find that their water is delivered via old rusty pipes, giving it that hint of iron taste.

In either of these scenarios or any number of others that might come up on the trail, a little flavor enhancement when it comes to your water might be a welcomed change of pace.

adding flavours into water bottle

One thing you will want to consider is if you feel comfortable adding these flavorings into your water bottles. Some back country hikers will tell you that if you add any flavoring, or even use soap, in a water bottle, then it has to go into the bear bag overnight and definitely can’t be taken into your tent.  These people might only want to add this to water in their mess kit cups to feel safe.

Others may choose to mark certain water bottles that they feel comfortable adding flavors to and leaving others for straight water. Then there will be some laid-back types that have no trouble adding these to water they happen to be drinking from.  You might want to experiment with your gear to see if adding certain levels of flavoring might leave a residual flavor in your chosen water bottles before using it in too many of them.

Wrapping Up Water Enhancements

As you may have come to see water enhancements can be a bit of a murky topic.  There is no doubt that they are big business, the first-year Mio was out it brought in over $100 million dollars.  As a new product goes that can’t be ignored.  Those kinds of numbers are the reason that so many companies are now making their own offerings.

One thing that you will have to remember is that just because a company makes money with a product doesn’t mean that it is for you.

Helping people to drink more water is a great idea, as water is a very healthy beverage.  Some people drink it all day without a thought of adding anything more than a slice of lemon to it.  Other people can only drink so much before they are looking for something with some flavor to it.

two adults drinking-water-filter

These bottles can help to add to that flavor and if that is enough to get people to swap sugary sodas and juices for more water, we have no doubt that doctors will be happy about the change.

As for the ingredients, you have to make a call on that one on your own.  On one side of the argument, all the options that are sold in the US have the Food and Drug Administration’s approval that they are safe and use ingredients that are considered safe.

From the government’s point of view if you use them in accord with the serving suggestions there is no problem.  On the other side of the debate, people are arguing that anti-freeze and fake sugar substitutes are not good for the human body.  If those are things you are concerned with there are still a few options on the market for you.

Finally, we would love to hear what you have to say and find out what your favorites are.  In the comment section below to let us know what your top choices are and why you chose them.  Also, how much do you add in a standard bottle of water?

For the best water bottles out there that will help keep you hydrated, see our article on this topic.

fresh healthy drinks

And don’t forget to share this article out with your friends on social media, quite of few of them have a bottle or two of water enhancement either in their car, purse or kitchen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry Silva
Henry Silva

Henry was hiking since he was 4. He was lucky enough to be born in Boulder, Colorado and enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park hikes growing up. His favourite is Longs Peak, which rises to 14,259 feet (4,346 m) above sea level. It is the highest point of the park. Henry likes to explore new hikes and spend his spare time in the wilderness.

  • Frederik Marner

    Interesting article. I’ve gotten water enhancers before and I didn’t like them. The sugar free ones have that diet aftertaste if you know what I’m talking about. Which one’s have sugar in them? I don’t like the alternatives. Also, will they leave a sticky residue on my water bottle or straw?

  • Henry Silva

    A sticky residue should not occur as these are simply enhancers, therefore it is still nearly all water. Many of the ones listed have sugar in them, so you can take your pick! Just look for the sugar free label and avoid it!

  • Fabienne Robert

    I have never tried this before and I have no idea about the healthiness of this water enhancers. What the best flavors? How about the prices?

  • Henry Silva

    The prices are low enough that you won’t be discouraged. There are many flavors out there, so go with the flavors you enjoy right now…maybe you like grape or lemon. Try those out.

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