R5 Smart Water Drinks: a Dumb Idea?


You see them in the gym, on the street, and even in People magazine. But is “smart water”—you know, bottled water that has added minerals, flavors, and electrolytes—better than tap water for workouts?

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The smart answer: no.

“There is no proven benefit to drinking these waters,” says Dr. Louis Aronne, an obesity specialist with the Westchester Medical Group in Rye. “The last thing you need is salt in your water, and that is what electrolytes are. Rather than spending two-dollars a bottle for these special waters, your money is better spent on fruits and vegetables. If you eat a balanced diet, you shouldn’t need any of these products.”

The “enhanced water” craze started with Gatorade, which was created for the University of Florida football team. “Gatorade was designed for athletes playing in extreme heat,” Dr. Aronne notes. “The truth is, we don’t sweat that much. Unless you are a pro player or big-time athlete, you don’t need Gatorade.”


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Elizabeth DeRobertis, a registered dietitian in Scarsdale, concurs, adding, “Many people choose these enhanced water-type beverages, not realizing that some have as many calories as sodas, and they end up consuming more calories during the workout than they actually burn! Plain water is just fine.”

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