We all know the importance of drinking water, even if it’s just as part of another drink, hot or cold. Our bodies are at least 60 percent water, after all.
But where does water come into diet and fitness? And what about diet water? Does it boost health and fitness? Or is it just a weight-loss gimmick?
In this article, we’re going to answer all of these questions, and more besides. We’ll kick things off by explaining what we mean by diet water, and what we don’t mean.
Then we’ll go into why its promoters deem it to be so beneficial for your health, before discussing what the alternatives are, before comparing and contrasting them.
By the end of the article at the wrap up, you’ll be in a position to determine whether drinking diet water is something you’d like to take on, or whether the alternatives would suit you just fine.
(Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you.)
And without further ado, let’s get straight to it…
What Diet Water Is And What We Don’t Mean By Diet Water
For the purposes of this article, what we mean by “diet water” is water, which can be still or sparkling that has no added calories or sugar, and often has added nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals (such as electrolytes), or prebiotics.
What we don’t mean by “diet water” for the purposes of this article includes the urban dictionary definition “A clear alcoholic drink in a water bottle (such as vodka)”.
There was also a drink released in Japan called “diet water” by a brand called Sapporo, but it didn’t really take off, so it was discontinued. So we won’t be discussing that in this article either.
And please don’t confuse “diet water” with “water diet” because they are not the same thing. The “water diet” is basically a fasting diet for weight loss that involves drinking a lot of water.
(Later on we’ll talk a little more about the water diet.)
Examples Of Diet Water
Here are the two main types for you:
- Light or zero sugar tonic (flavored/unflavored) tonic water
- Nutrient infused water
There are many brands of diet water, but most of them will fall under the above two categories.
(Most diet tonic waters have some calories.)
Why Diet Water Is A Thing
Do you know how many calories are in a glass of water? None. Zero. Zip. Nada.
Thus, regular water can already be classified as a “diet” drink. With zero calories, there’s zero chance of gaining calories from drinking it. (Although water retention can give you more weight on the scales.)
So, if you ever see something being promoted as “diet water” it doesn’t actually have fewer calories than regular water, because there are no calories in water to begin with in the first place.
What Drink Could Be Better For You Than Water?
About Faucet Water
Water is great. And contrary to what many people believe, regular water that comes straight from the faucet is not just H₂O…
Regular water from the faucet typically also contains the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium. And often more minerals besides, plus vitamins.
About Bottled Water
The same goes for regular bottled water. To take just one example, Evian bottled water has significant amounts of those very same minerals as regular tap water, namely calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Which are all electrolytes, by the way.
In fact, the only real difference between buying regular bottled water over just pouring it from a faucet is that you have to pay the price of the bottled water, even if you’re already paying water rates from the municipal source.
So, the only time the benefit of bottled water over faucet water comes in handy is when you’re in an area where you don’t trust the water’s cleanliness (abroad, perhaps).
And if you don’t really trust the faucet water where you live, you can simply invest in a water filter.
So to summarize, regular water (faucet and bottled) has zero calories and has additional nutrients as well. So, the question is, “Is diet water really any better than regular water?”.
And that brings us nicely onto our next section…
Our Analysis Of Diet Water
We’ll start by leveling with you. It’s kinda hard to analyze diet water, since there are so many different versions of it…
The only one that’s actually been called “diet water” has long been discontinued because its benefits weren’t sufficiently backed up by science and the sales flopped.
So, for the purpose of this article, we’re going to look at some of the more common ingredients that you will find in different drinks that are described by some people as diet water.
Diet waters are often marketed in a way that emphasizes their mineral content, but as we covered earlier, regular water (faucet or bottled) already has the best minerals required for hydration, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Some brands of so-called diet water boast about their electrolyte content. But those minerals already present in regular water are electrolytes.
Whether your body needs any additional electrolytes than you’d find in regular water depends on how much you work out…
It is recommended that people take additional electrolytes if they are either:
- in a hot climate
- exercise for an hour or more at a time
- or just tend to sweat a lot
Vitamins are a different story. Of course, vitamins are great, but to be perfectly honest, you don’t have to go very far to find a good mixture of vitamins…
What you tend to eat day to day likely has a lot more vitamins in it than you realize.
You can easily get all the vitamins your body needs without even trying. Fruit, meat, and veg all contain vitamins and minerals.
And if you are concerned that you’re not getting enough vitamins, you can always get yourself a good multi-vitamin and mineral complex.
If you suspect that you may have a vitamin deficiency, then we would recommend seeing your family doctor to be assessed.
If you have a vitamin deficiency, you may be able to get a prescription for a multi-vitamin and mineral complex that’s covered by your health insurance. (If you don’t check, you’ll never know.)
Alternatives To Diet Water
Regular Water And A Balanced Diet
So, as you may have gathered by this point, people who are relatively sedentary, and don’t work out or sweat a lot, will not benefit any more from diet water than they would from regular water straight from the faucet.
And this is especially true if they are already following a varied and balanced diet. You could argue that following a varied and balanced diet is more pleasurable than swallowing one or more supplements.
So regular water and a good diet is a great alternative to diet water.
Regular Water Plus Supplement Pill/Powder (Plus Food)
Who doesn’t love a little junk food, or a cheat day, am I right?
If you like to eat junk food occasionally (or often), and not a lot of fruit and veg, alongside your water or water-based drink, then you might find comfort in knowing that your vitamin intake is taken care of simply by swallowing a multi-vitamin and mineral complex on a regular basis.
It can be a very convenient option, because there are loads to choose from, they are affordable, and you can subscribe for repeat deliveries direct to your door.
You could have a pill, or you could have a powder that you can dissolve into your drink.
However, most health professionals believe that a multi-vitamin and mineral complex does not compare to eating a varied and balanced diet.
If you like to work out (which we recommend and, which you probably already do if you’ve come across this website), or even if you don’t, you’re sure to have come across energy drinks and sports drinks.
Energy drinks, as the name implies, are designed to give the body (and mind) a boost of energy. And, of course, help to hydrate you at the same time.
Such drinks typically contain water and electrolytes. Some may also contain calories and/or caffeine or other stimulants (Looking for a good caffeine alternative? Read more here).
They tend to be flavored for greater appeal, and this can mean the addition of sugar. But that said, some of them may have zero sugar.
You can also get sports drinks that are infused with proteins, which can be popular among fitness enthusiasts.
This way you can keep hydrated before, during or after a workout, and you get help with muscle growth and muscle repair at the same time.
We also recommend that people who drink energy drinks or sports drinks follow a varied and balanced diet.
If you’ve been paying attention, you can predict how the bottom line is going to go…
Diet water is no better than regular water, so forget about it. Our advice is to drink plenty of water and eat a varied and balanced diet.
And if you want to take supplement/s that could be a good idea too.