By now everyone knows that bodies need hydration. And almost everyone knows they need water – not just anything that’s liquid. But some have not developed a taste for plain water.

Smart manufacturers know that, so they sell pop under a different name: Flavored water.

This is not good news for people who are trying to boost their health by drinking water. Most of that flavored water is either just as full of sugar as a can of pop, or full of artificial sweeteners, which carry their own health hazards. Either way, they’re NOT a healthy alternative to water.

If you or your children are among those who don’t enjoy the taste of water, try one or more of these solutions:

Freeze ice cubes with 100%, all-natural fruit juice and add to your water for a little flavor.

Squeeze lemon, or grapefruit into your water for zest. If you must have sweetness, add just a touch of real sugar or stevia.

Drink green tea. (A health drink on its own – but NOT if you add artificial sweetener.)

Add just a dash of cranberry juice for a touch of sweetness.

Add some crushed mint, lime and stevia.

Fill your glass with ice first, then add water and wait a minute. When I was in college and the water in the dorm didn’t taste good, we used that trick to make it better. Remember that you DO need the water, both for hydration and to flush toxins from your system.

One of the side effects of flavored water is weight gain. Many manufacturers flavor their water with fructose or High Fructose Corn Syrup-both of which are dangerous to your health.

Moreover, in a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, (June 2004, 2963-72) researchers found that fructose affects the hormones involved in appetite regulation.

A drink high in fructose caused a reduction in levels of the hormone leptin, which lets you know that you have eaten enough, and causes high levels of ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates eating. So, when eating or drinking fructose, you get a double whammy. Nothing to tell you you’re full, and plenty to tell you to eat more.

Artificial sweeteners are just as bad. Along with causing some other health issues, researchers are finding that artificial sweeteners make people hungrier. That could be why you see so many obese people carrying around a can of diet soda.

The bottom line: Flavored water can make you fat and sickly.

M. G. Cliff is a freelance copywriter with a strong interest in natural health. She enjoys writing for a variety of companies who promote health and well-being through safe, natural products and practices. Marte’s natural health site, http://www.pharmfreehealth.com, presents natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals, health warnings, news about health-giving foods, and more.

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