Product Review: Alternatives to Plain Water

One of the things I continually remind patients is to stay well hydrated. With approximately 60% of the human body being water, it is a very necessary nutrient for countless processes in the body. However, for many, plain water doesn’t appeal. So today I decided to round up some sugar-free, calorie-free or nearly calorie-free alternatives, while avoiding artificial sweeteners.

Bubly or LaCroix – These are flavored sparkling waters widely available in most grocery stores. Each brand has no calories and no sweeteners and comes in many fruit flavors. Some favorites: Bubly grapefruit, LaCroix limoncello, key lime and tangerine. I really enjoy these and sometimes will mix myself a 50/50 combination of a favorite LaCroix flavor and some of my LMNT electrolytes, for a sparkling electrolyte beverage.

San Pelligrino – I consider this the champagne of sparkling water, probably in part because I am partial to many products from Italy. This sparkling mineral water is crisp and very refreshing. I personally love to drink it with a squeeze of fresh lime. This is often my go-to drink when I go out for dinner, providing the restaurant has it available.

Zevia – This is a stevia sweetened soda (or pop as I used to call it), so it is sweet tasting but has no calories or sugar. A wide range of flavors is available, including cola, root beer, cream soda, various fruit-flavored sodas, and alternatives to common lemon-lime sodas. Zevia also makes stevia sweetened teas, so those who like a sweet tea fix can also have a treat. I enjoy most of the flavors, but my personal favorite is their creamy root beer.

Bai – This is a non-carbonated, nearly calorie-free, sweet tasting beverage. It is sweetened primarily with the sugar alcohol erythritol. Their antioxidant infusion line is a favorite of some of my patients, and they offer several fruit flavors. Apparently they used to have a very good peach flavor, but it vanished, leaving one of my patients quite dismayed. Regardless, this beverage, as it indicates, contains antioxidants and also some vitamin C.

Vitaminwater Zero Sugar – While some of Vitaminwater products contain sugar and calories, this particular line does not. The Zero Sugar line is non-carbonated, is sweetened with stevia and monk fruit, and contains electrolytes and some vitamins and minerals. I will admit, I find the flavor of these slightly wonky, but I don’t mind the Rise (orange) and Squeezed (lemonade) flavors. On the other hand, I thought the XXX (açaí-blueberry-pomegranate) flavor reminded me of the wretched cough syrup my mother used to give me when I was a child.

There are many more products on the market to try besides these, but I just wanted to give you a starting point. If you are one of those people who knows they need to hydrate more, but doesn’t like plain water, there are a lot of alternatives available. There are carbonated choices, non-carbonated choices, sweet tasting choices, and unsweetened choices. Whatever you choose to drink, try to keep your water alternatives sugar-free and calorie-free. Bottoms up!