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What's In Your Water Bottle?

Posted Jun 24 2009 10:43pm

I got an interesting e-mail about a week ago from "Tammy". She started off good, telling me how funny I am and how much she loves my blog (flattery will get you everywhere with me ) but then took a sharp turn off into Marketing LaLa land. You might recognize this place - land of fabled 6' 120 lb supermodels who eat cheeseburgers instead of salads & drink vodka at 9 am in the pool while the rest of us are working & then walk their dogs if they get to feeling a little puffy. If there are any children present, and there rarely are which is in itself odd considering how much simulated sex is going on, they are motionless mannequins wearing coordinating stainless outfits (top H&M $16.99, skirt Prada Jr. $1,345.99) ignored by a person who looks too young to actually be their parent. Sound familiar? Yeah. We'd all like to live there.

And according to Tammy, Propel Fitness Water might just be your one-way ticket to Shangri-La. To be fair to Tammy, whom I have never met and for all I know is a perfectly lovely gal that shares my taste in too-bright purses and obscenely high-heeled shoes, she was not that heavy handed. Her segue was actually quite good: "With me, I try not to deprive myself of the occasional treat - it's all about portion control and reading the nutrition labels carefully. That said, I wanted to share with you and your community some interesting information regarding the range of calories found in many vitamin enhanced waters." See? Straight from my "You're An Idiot" Diet post to Propel. Bravo.

I totally agree with her thus far. I read nutrition labels like they're The Da Vinci code of nutrition. And I also know some interesting information about calories in water: I don't like them. Water should not have calories. If it has calories then it is officially not water.

Tammy continues on to extol the virtues of low-cal Propel and to "shock" me with how many calories Vitamin Water has. Here's my shocker Tammy - I take my water straight up, on the rocks. Occasionally, if I'm feeling Carmen Miranda-ish, I'll whip a lime out of my hat and magically slice it before it drops into my glass.

Which isn't to say that I don't enjoy an occasional sugared-up beverage. I adore a virgin margarita (it's a lime thing) or an Italian soda. But the difference is that a) these drinks are an indulgence and b) they all contain actual sugar rather than some artificial sweetener or the granddaddy evil of fat-kids-with-no-heads-in-cnn-pictures - high fructose corn syrup.

Rad! Oh, wait. What?!?

Sweeteners
I love sweet stuff. A good hit of jelly beans or Ben & Jerry's can make a warm breeze blow even when there's two feet of snow. But I do not like man-made sweet stuff. I think that they play with our minds and mess with our innards until we don't properly know when we're sated and we're about to become the next headless-fat-person-in-a-picture. (Seriously, why CNN? It's dehumanizing. Stop it.)

So I kindly wrote back to Tammy and asked her if the magic to keeping Propel so light in calories and yet so "full of flavor" is an artificial sweetener. She e-mailed me the nutrition label. It would be Splenda. Splenda gives me headaches. According to some people, Splenda might also be the end of the free world. Your call.

At any rate, artificial sweeteners do not help you lose weight. If you just like the zingy aftertaste of aspartame then feel free to stick with your Diet Coke but if you drink it (or eat practically any "light" product) to help your waistline, you may be doing yourself more harm than good.

Fitness Water
Aside from the sweetener problem, I take issue with something being labeled a "fitness water." Fitness water is plain H20. I do understand that in some cases it is necessary and even performance enhancing to take in a simple carb drink/gu/gel/etc. during exercise. Long distance runners mainline the stuff. And it helps. But Splenda isn't a simple carb. It's not even found in nature. Marketers of these products (not just Propel but all the "fitness" drinks) lose me when they try to sell it as a need, rather than a want. With the exception of a long endurance workout or race, you never need anything other than water.

I get that people think water tastes plain. We like our fruity flavors. So just use fruit. Or if you must, use sugar. But don't tell me my body needs any of that stuff. Even for my post-workout snack, I'd rather eat whole foods than any specially formulated drink.

How You Lost Out on Free Stuff
(although you can still enter this giveaway until Sunday! )
Tammy then concluded by asking me to advertise her product on my site. She even dangled the possibility of freebies - powder packets all around! (No, don't snort it! Drink it!) But I can't endorse it. (Although I just did give them some free publicity - you're welcome Tammy! Call me if you want to go shoe shopping.)

I don't like it. I don't think it is good for me. I don't think it will help my fitness goals.

But that's my rant. I want to know what's in your sports bottle. Besides mold - really, you should wash that thing every once in a while. Do you guys swear by any sports drink? Do you flavor your water at all? Are you a bottled guy/gal or does tap water reign supreme? (Personally, my fave is the drugged out tap water. There's one way to cut down on medical costs!) Because I actually am deeply curious as to what you drink when you work out, I've provided you with a poll (feel free to use the comments to explain yourself):
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