I got asked an interesting question the other day. Is vitamin-enriched water better than drinking tap water? I honestly didn’t know, because you would think that anything that has ‘vitamin enriched’ in its name is sure to be good for you.
However, while it sounds healthy as it contains a daily dose of nutrients, vitamin-enriched water also comes with added sugar and calories. Also, it pays to consider the size of bottle. These drinks generally come in 500ml or 16 oz bottles, which is fine, but don’t forget that a serving size is usually 200ml (around 7oz). So the nutritional information on the label will be listing sugar and calorie content by serving, rather than the whole bottle size.
Another thing to consider is electrolytes. These are key minerals (such as calcium and potassium) in your blood and body fluids that carry an electric charge and affect the amount of water in your body and other processes. These are lost through sweat during exercise, so if you are taking part in vigorous exercise for more than 60 minutes, enriched waters can be an alternative to traditional sports drinks. However, these electrolytes will be replenished when you eat your next healthy meal, so they are of limited benefit during light or moderate exercise.The next stage in between vitamin-enriched water and sports drinks are low or zero calorie drinks, for example low-calorie gatorade, which contains 30 calories and 7g of sugar per 12 oz (350ml) and is enhanced with electrolytes, potassium, and sodium; or Poweade Zero which contains zero calories and is enhanced with the electrolytes (minerals) sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as vitamins B3, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
So what’s the verdict?
Really, unless you are regularly taking part in heavy exercise, water is your best choice for hydrating. If you want to add a little flavour, try adding citrus fruit slices as they add minimal calories and also contain vitamins. If you think your diet is lacking, multivitamin supplements are a better choice than enriched water.