Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Tricky World of Refreshing Beverages



The other day, walking on the beach, a horde of enthusiastic youngsters with matching teeshirts pounced on me happily, chirping about a "new exciting product, here, try it". I looked behind them and saw their booth, belonging to a local mineral water company called Neviot. There were bottles, and plastic cups, and since I was very thirsty I took one and drank it up.

Gaaaah! It was sweet!

Apparently, the odd trend of flavored water has reached Israel.

As I was drinking, a strange sensation of deja vu hit me. After all, wasn't it, like, three years ago that I was accosted by a similar group of youngsters near San Francisco's Powell Station and offered a similar product? Yes, it was quite vile, even then. So now Israel has a line of peach and apple flavored water.

What is flavored water? apparently, it's somewhat of a lighter version of the juice syrups we used to have as kids, only without the food coloring. The water basically contains either sugar or an artificial sweetener and some artificial fruit flavoring, and also some added vitamins. If you are a Coke or Diet Coke drinker, this option might be better for you; but if you think (like me) that sodas taste vile and are vile, why not skip the ridiculous flavored water and drink water, instead?

The constant struggle to find new and exciting ways to quench and refresh us has yielded various interesting trends. I won't even get on the topic of sodas - there's plenty of people talking about that. There are also the sports drinks - again, much like the artificial syrups of our youth, only with the added halo of SCIENCE behind them. Sports drinks contain electrolytes and sugar, and are aimed at replenishing these particles lost in sweat, while encouraging one to drink more. "What's wrong with water?" asks one website, and answers:

Drinking plain water causes bloating, suppresses thirst and thus further drinking. It stimulates urine output and therefore is inefficiently retained. A poor choice where high fluid intake is required. Water contains no carbohydrate or electrolytes.

Yes, water does "cause" bloating. Anything ingested will make stomach expand as it takes some time to absorb. Yes, consuming liquids "stimulates urine output", as they are supposed to; the kidneys and bladder do their job for a purpose. This might, perhaps, be tricky for marathon runners, but for us simple folk there's really nothing better than good quality water. "Flavored water" is not much different from the fake juices of our childhood. Yes, it doesn't have coloring, possibly to make it seem more healthy (which it probably is, to some extent). But the flavor is still there. Want to ask yourself what it's doing there?

It seems that food manufacturers do not believe that we'll drink anything unless there's some sugar and added ingredients to it. Do pour yourself a glass of good water and prove them wrong.

4 comments:

Barbara said...

God save us from flavored waters!

PLEEEEZE!!!!

I like naturally fizzy mineral water, but one time, I was handed a glass of it that had been flavored with some sort of citrus essence.

I didn't expect it and actually gagged.

The first time I had "flavored water" with aspertame in it, the experience was much the same, only more dramatic, because artificial sweeteners turn my stomach really fast.

So...long story short--I like my water plain, and cold, thank you.

Hadar said...

Hi, Barbara!
Yes, the stuff is unbearable, and the fake sugar makes it worse. I wish more people were used to drinking plain water!

Oh, and here's our friend Boaz's invention - his special "fridge tea": fill a large bottle of water, and stick in it a handful of lemony geranium or mint. Refrigerate overnight. The result is amazingly refreshing and more aromatic than regular tea.

Jo J said...

I like the fridge tea suggested by Boaz - yum - thank you.

Your blog is a joy to read and has been inspiring me to look at and enjoy food in a different way.

Bestest from Australia

j

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