What's in Bottled Drinks?

November 19, 2018
Rethink What You Drink, Water

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What exactly is in bottled drinks? Many bottled drinks advertise that they are good for you, but what are the ingredients in bottled drinks anyways?

Aggressively marketed as important for health and hydration, a mind-boggling array of packaged beverages vie for our attention in the marketplace: sports drinks, energy drinks, fitness waters, vitamin waters—even “designer waters.” That’s not even counting the dozens of varieties of plain bottled water.

To see and hear the advertisements you’d think that before bottled beverages, human beings were unable to manage their thirst or replace the “electrolytes” lost through everyday living.

For sure, water makes up as much as 65 percent of adult body weight. It’s essential for most bodily functions, so staying well hydrated is essential to good health.

Ingredients in Bottled Drinks

Many of these supposedly health-promoting drinks have come under scrutiny and even attack by public health advocates.

Experts have concerns about the long-term health effects of many of today’s “enhanced waters” and “energy” drinks, especially on children, teens, young adults, and people with or at risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • The average American adult drinks about 400 calories a day, mostly from sugary sodas, sweetened teas, sports and energy drinks, juice drinks, and alcohol. Those calories add up. Drinking 400 calories of sugary beverages each day can pack on more than a pound’s worth of calories (3500) every nine days–more than 40 pounds a year.
  • “Energy” drinks can simultaneously contribute to obesity and poor nutrition. Drinking high-calorie beverages doesn’t give you the sense of fullness that solid food does, so you keep sipping those empty calories.
  • Many also contain a big jolt of caffeine and other stimulants, which may be harmful and even addictive to children, teens, and some adults.
  • Other energy drinks contain vitamins, amino acids, and unregulated herbs in ratios, amounts, combinations, and forms that may be harmful
  • Many bottled drinks may cause irreversible damage to teeth, because the high acidity levels of energy drinks erode tooth enamel.

Health experts suggest drinking plain tap water to stay hydrated throughout the day, even during and after exercise. Carried in a refillable water bottle, it’s convenient, no-cost, and calorie-free. I find a squirt of lemon or lime and a few ice cubes makes it seem more special.


A diet of healthy meals and snacks each day offers all the calories, vitamins, and “electrolytes” you need to replace what you ordinarily lose.

Exceptions include hours-long periods of hard physical work or intense exercise, and cases of extreme diarrhea and vomiting. In such instances, try this cheap, homemade rehydration drink. Or try switchel, a homemade drink that helps to restore electrolytes. 

The Costs of Bottled Drinks and Bottled Water

According to one report, Americans spend $21 billion a year on bottled water, as compared with only $29 billion maintaining the infrastructure of our public water system. Some critics of bottled water think this pits private drinking habits against maintaining municipal water supplies.

Closer to home, the various bottled waters at my local supermarket range from less than a buck a bottle for plain bottled water to $6.00 for a can of a high-end energy drink. My frugal household long ago switched to drinking tap water, along with home-brewed coffee and various teas.

Hot-topic related costs, important but too complex for this blog post, include the steep energy and environmental costs of bottling water, and the social and economic impacts of turning water into a private commodity for sale and profit

About This Blog

"Living Naturally" is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that's good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it's relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

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As CDC data makes clear, food

As CDC data makes clear, food, not beverages, is actually the top contributor of added sugars in the American diet. Beverage intake comprises a relatively small portion of the calories we take in. All sugar-sweetened beverages combined attribute just 6%, and soda contributes just 4% of the calories in the American diet.

With that said soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages can be enjoyed in moderation, just like other sources of calories. It’s also important to note that diet soda is 99% water and is a beneficial weight loss tool when combined with an overall regimen. We would also add that FDA-approved energy drinks are safe, and most have far less caffeine than a comparable-size cup of coffeehouse coffee.

When it comes to optimal health, it’s the overall caloric and activity balance that matters – a message our industry is promoting via its Balance Calories Initiative.


I assume you represent the perspective of the bottled-beverage industry.

My topic here was the importance of adequate hydration. I don’t think your response does anything to negate the five bullet points or additional information in my post above, all of which suggest reasons for staying with plain tap water* to satisfy the body’s need for fluids.

*The recent and ongoing investigations into the water quality in some municipal systems raise a very different set of concerns I may address in future posts.

We bought a Zero water filter

We bought a Zero water filter and it is producing the greatest water I've ever drank. I highly recommend them.

Absolutely true. Water, pure

Absolutely true. Water, pure plain water is the best hydration you can get. Everything else you need you can get from your diet. (Except in very special circumstances)

Our water in Oklahoma is

Our water in Oklahoma is pretty bad. The drought has affected the lakes and even tap water has made my children sick. It's so bad, the county has informed us we need to boil the water that they bring us. I've used water filters in the past, but it hasn't affected the smell and only dulled the taste. I like bottled water.

Very interesting thoughts,

Very interesting thoughts, for sure. If it is man-made and not directly from nature, it is not as healthy as if it were natural. The earth will not produce modified or synthesized drink or food, so why buy the modified stuff? The biggest issue with most of those sports drinks is the high MSG content. Drinking something that is known to hamper the brain's ability to let you know when you've had enough or too much cannot be healthy at all.

I live in a region that has

I live in a region that has severe hard water. It looks and smells bad. It is harsh enough to destroy water heaters, refrigerators (with ice makers) and washing machines. It is imperative to have a water softener. Otherwise you will be replacing appliances often. With that being said, bottled water is the best option, nothing fancy just water.

I was born in Michigan on well water. I absolutely loved it. Missouri water no way. So there are parts of the country bottled water is the best option under the circumstances

I drink tap water all the

I drink tap water all the time i fill up water bottles and place them in my refrigator and when i want a drink i just get it out of the frig. i also freeze a couple for long drives or long walks in the summer. just wash them out good with soap and water and reuse the same bottles.when i was a kid growing up we never had alot of pop and chips in the house my mom would
make tea and koolaide and popcorn for snack while we would watch t.v.

personally, I think it's

personally, I think it's crazy if not insane to buy bottled water. Why buy something that in most places you already have & are paying for? You want ice cold water? Go to the kitchen, turn on the faucet & take a glass or mug, or bottle that you've already filled with ice, and add some water. OH! That container of water was not enough?? Then do it again & again till you get enough. I mean, this is NOT rocket science folks, this is common sense! I realize that some may be a wee bit short in that department, and if that's the case, bottled water is the least of your worries. Filling a bottle with water from your tap is not hard...lest you make it out to be.

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I've been a tap water drinker

I've been a tap water drinker for some time. I also believe in more plant protein than animal protein. Raw fruits, nuts and veggies grown out on the septic tank is better than USDA grown animal protein but i sure do like a burger every once in a while. I also believe water does more for getting rid or wrinkles than all the wrinkle cream in the world. If Adam and Eve did not have it. I believe it might not be good for me either.In other words eating fruits, veggies and drinking room temperture water, getting some exercise especially if it is the prodcut of hard work and male and female marriage is about all there is needed to live a long and healty life. Anything else just don't make much sense.

Amen! I could not agree more.

Amen! I could not agree more.


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