It’s all about the ingredients, folks.
Last month, we walked you through the pros and cons of drinking beverages that use different kinds of “natural” sweeteners, but what about the ones that use “natural flavors” to intrigue your taste buds? According to the Wall Street Journal, a surprising 20 percent of Americans don’t like the taste of plain water. So it makes sense that a ton of beverage companies out there have tapped into this valuable market over the past decade or so by making healthy (or at least healthier) drink options more palatable to this chunk of the population. The only thing is that the methods by which they flavor their water beverages really does matter when it comes to your well-being.
So, if you want to figure out if your flavored water product of choice is good for you, the first thing you need to do is read that ingredient label… and carefully. Manufacturers find all sorts of vague yet FDA-accepted phrasing to list their “natural flavors” on their drink bottles, but usually, if a label only includes two ingredients — water and “fruit essence” — you’re in the clear. Essence suggests that they simply extracted the oils from the chosen fruit and integrated them in the water beverage. And when it comes to your health, there’s nothing wrong with that. But honestly, “natural flavors” doesn’t mean much of anything in the way of food labels these days, so it shouldn’t carry much weight in your purchasing decisions, either.
Sometimes, you have to visit the product’s website and read through the FAQ page to see if they use essence as opposed to natural flavoring, but it’s worth the digging. That’s how you can not only confirm that you know exactly what you’re getting in your flavored water, but also learn a little bit more about the company whose product you’re purchasing. For us, understanding the methods and the mission of a business makes us feel that much more comfortable. Knowledge is power.
And if all of the technicalities surrounding flavored water these days just leave you feeling legitimately freaked out and skeptical, we highly recommend making your own! It’s so easy to gather your favorite fruits, vegetables and herbs at the grocery store and toss them into a pitcher of purified water. And that way, you get to enjoy a 100 percent naturally flavored beverage whenever you want with zero concern about what you’re putting into your body. And that’s exactly how taking care of yourself should feel — easy, relaxing and perfectly natural.