Ah, the good old days, when you were a kid and the only type of water you had to choose from was the kind from the kitchen sink or the playground water fountain (or, if you’re this pup, in the kiddie pool in your backyard).
Now, grocery stores boast dozens of varieties of bottled water, spring water, mineral water, and so much more.
And once you get past the multitudes of “regular” water, there’s enhanced water options to consider — things like coconut water, alkaline water, vitamin water, and even fat water (nope, not a typo). We call these “super waters,” and they claim to do things like hydrate you faster, replace electrolytes, boost energy, and burn fat.
Are these waters worthy enough to put in your reusable glass water bottle? We investigated their claims, and here’s what we found out.
The claim: With a sweet, nutty taste, coconut water comes from the center of young, green coconuts. Coconut water companies and sports marketers claim that coconut water has fewer calories, less sodium, less sugar, and more potassium than your typical sports drink (professional tennis player John Isner gave coconut water a shoutout when discussing how he stayed on his feet during his epic 11-hour Wimbledon match in 2010). Some people even say that coconut water has cured hangovers and reduced blood pressure.
The verdict: It’s true that coconut water is a natural way to hydrate and add potassium to your diet, and it’s also fat-free. However, it’s probably not the best choice to drink after long, strenuous exercise in the heat (think three hour long runs during summer marathon training). That’s because it doesn’t have enough sodium or carbs to replace the energy and sweat you’re losing.
When casually drinking coconut water, keep an eye on how many servings you’re consuming; a cup has about 45 calories.
The claim: While pure water has a pH balance of around 7, alkaline water has a higher pH, meaning it’s less acidic and has alkalizing compounds like calcium, silica, potassium, and magnesium. The benefits? According to some, alkaline water can neutralize acid in the bloodstream, act as an antioxidant, and boost metabolism. In this case, being basic is a good thing.
The claim: Electrolyte water is what it sounds like — water mixed with minerals called electrolytes (and sometimes vitamins). Electrolytes (in most cases, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate) carry electrical charges that stimulate muscles and nerves while regulating the amount of fluids throughout your body. Electrolyte-enhanced water, then, replaces the electrolytes you use when you sweat.
The verdict: Electrolyte water does what it sets out to do, and it’s most useful when exercising in scorching conditions when you’re sweating a ton- so save it for those times.
The claim: We saved the most intriguing for last. FATWater comes from Dave Asprey, the dude who brought Bulletproof Coffee to the indie coffeehouse masses; it’s a 20-calorie drink that’s a combination of water, fat, a sweetener, and some flavoring.
With two grams of fat per bottle, Asprey says that FATWater is more hydrating than plain water because of his patented XCT Oil, a triple-distilled coconut oil that’s extracted of all triglycerides and mixed with Vitamin E. It’s mixed with fat, which your body will then absorb completely as pure energy (so, you burn fat instead of store it).
The verdict: We need more research on whether in this case, oil and water mix. Until then, you’ll be better served getting your daily fat from nuts, avocados, and cooking oils and hydrating with plain old tap water, which your body can absorb just fine on its own.
The verdict is in: the only true “super water” on the planet is the regular tap water you drink every day from your reusable glass water bottle. Go forth and use your superpowers for good.