MEDWATCH: AriZona Vapor WaterThe pitch: From the makers of AriZona Iced Tea, a “different kind of water” than tap water and generic bottled water that “improves” upon nature by taking the “purest” form of vapor-distilled water and infusing it with electrolytes to improve hydration.
By: Jodi Mailander Farrell, McClatchy Newspapers
Product: AriZona Vapor Water, $1.59 for 33.8 fluid ounces
Key ingredients: vapor-distilled water, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and potassium bicarbonate
The pitch: From the makers of AriZona Iced Tea, a “different kind of water” than tap water and generic bottled water that “improves” upon nature by taking the “purest” form of vapor-distilled water and infusing it with electrolytes to improve hydration.
Pros: Contains electrolytes to prevent dehydration without the calories of other sports drinks like Gatorade. A recent University of Illinois warned that the process of disinfecting tap water with chlorine and chloramines can generate toxic byproducts that can cause birth defects and also be carcinogenic. Bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be guaranteed safe to drink. With zero calories and fat, this is a healthier option than sodas.
Cons: It’s not necessary to replace losses of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes during exercise since you’re unlikely to deplete your body’s stores of these minerals during normal training; it becomes a concern only when a person has been exercising more than three to five hours at a time or when workouts are held in extreme heat, according to the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. The Natural Resources Defense Council, which carried out a four-year review of the bottled water industry, concluded that bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water. The American Dental Association warns that most bottled waters do not contain fluoride, decreasing the decay-prevention effects of drinking treated water.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and other groups have urged people to consume less bottled water because of the environmental side-effects of disposable plastic bottles. In the United States, bottled water costs between 25 cents and $2 per bottle while the same amount of tap water costs less than a penny, according to the Worldwatch Institute. The National Council of Churches and several other religious organizations regard industrial purchase and repackaging at a higher resale price of a basic resource like water as unethical.
Bottom line: Unless you’re training for a triathlon and need the electrolytes, save your money and drink tap water.