Water Worries

(WFLX) - When you think about drinking water, do you ask yourself: bottled or tap? Or do you find yourself thinking, strawberry, grape, carbonated or sparkling?

As flavored, fizzy and enhanced waters flood the market, are these added elements actually training our tastes away from regular old H20 and are they really good for you?

When Jennifer Brody packs a plain bottle water for her daughter's lunch, she finds it comes back undrank.

Her kids say regular water is "boring". "It doesn't have any flavor to it," said daughter Lilly.

"It's very bland, and has no taste whatsoever," added her brother, Jacob.

"They prefer fruity drops and powders to give their H2O pizzazz. Even Jennifer says, she's a fizzy water fan, so if you find yourself preferring flavors or water with a little carbonated kick, could you actually be training yourself "not" to like regular water?

"We're absolutely fooling our taste buds into craving and almost requiring, in some cases, a flavoring or a particular sensation when it comes to carbonation," said Dr. Joseph Pinzone.

He says his patients tell him they're drinking more flavored and sparkling water now than ever before. "It is allowing them to form habits which actually affect the brain and how we crave things."

Dr. Pinzone explains people also crave variety, and, right now, the water market is gushing with options.

The American Beverage Association says the trends are all about choice and customizing water to suit your palate.

Twenty percent of households that buy bottled water also buy liquid flavor enhancers. "Innovation is really driving the industry right now."

But are all these 21st century water innovations healthy? We found some are loaded with sugar. One flavored water we looked at contains 32 grams and packs a 120-calorie punch in 20 ounces.

Some zero calorie options contain artificial sweeteners, but, in the flavored water future, you may see more natural enhancers. "You've got food technologists looking at different ways to put sweeteners together. Some new ones with the old ones."

E\xperts say specialty waters can be a tasty treat but don't give up "old faithful", good old water.

The key is moderation. "If you're drinking any single drink once or in small amounts, it's unlikely to have major health risks to you."

Jennifer says flavored and sparkling water options won't become water under the bridge at her house, but she will continue to promote the plain stuff, too. "I don't think anything really can replace the value of water."

If you're looking to kick a flavored or fizzy water habit, experts say, try mixing a piece of fruit with regular water to give it some zest.

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