Better Than Water?

Quenching your thirst has become complicated. Many drinks claim health benefits, such as replenishing electrolytes and boosting your vitamin intake. Consumer Reports looked at 20 beverages to help you decide which ones to sip and which to skip.

You may be surprised at what’s in that stuff! Some are packed with calories and sugars, including high fructose corn syrup. And they can be pricey.

Are you a fan of sports drinks? Many people turn to them to replenish electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. But some Gatorade flavors have 21 grams of sugar in each 12-ounce serving. And some Powerade drinks list high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient. Consumer Reports says they’re probably unnecessary except after intense, lengthy workouts.

Water with vitamins may sound like another smart health move, but some versions of Vitamin Water have 32 grams of sugar. And Consumer Reports says that there’s no need to replenish vitamins just because it’s hot outside. You don’t lose vitamins when you sweat.

Plant waters are trending. The maker of True Nopal Cactus Water claims that it reduces inflammation. And the company that makes Arty Artichoke Water, which costs almost $3 a bottle, says that artichokes “increase metabolism” and “purify toxins.”

Consumer Reports says that if you want to try any of them, you’re best off ignoring the claims. Just consider them a nice but pricey way to stay hydrated. And make sure to read labels. Ingredients can vary a lot, even among drinks that seem similar.

If you’re looking for something different, Consumer Reports suggests making your own infused water by slicing your favorite fruit into a pitcher of tap water and ice. It’s a tasty and inexpensive alternative to bottled drinks.

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