Are any 'super-waters' worth splashing out on?

Are any ‘super-waters’ worth splashing out on? We rate the different kinds of ‘functional’ and ‘enhanced’ bottled waters that promise to boost energy and ease stress

  • Drinking water has become a complicated business due to the huge choice 
  • ‘Enhanced’ bottled waters promise to boost energy and ease your stress
  • Angela Dowden asked dietitians Priya Tew and Helen Bond if claims hold water

Drinking a glass of water has become a complicated business, with the choice of all kinds of ‘functional’ and ‘enhanced’ bottled waters that promise to boost energy and ease stress. 

ANGELA DOWDEN asked dietitians Priya Tew and Helen Bond if the claims hold water. We then rated them.


500ml, £2.49,

Per 100ml: Calories, 16; sugar, 0g

THE ‘HEALTHY’ BIT: Each bottle contains 20g of the protein collagen to ‘help maintain healthy muscles and bones’.

EXPERT VERDICT: Helen Bond says: ‘This would provide a similar amount of protein as three boiled eggs — around 40 per cent of our daily needs. While most people get enough protein from diet, this drink could be a useful way to meet your increased needs if you exercise a lot.

‘The collagen is sourced from animals, which means it is not suitable for vegans and vegetarians. With 80 calories per bottle, it could lead to weight gain. Like other soft drinks, it contains phosphoric acid, which is linked to tooth erosion.’



500ml, £1.29,

Per 100ml: Calories, 0; sugar, 0g

THE ‘HEALTHY’ BIT: This spring water is infused with 2mg of cannabidiol (CBD) in water-soluble droplets for maximum absorption into the bloodstream for ‘sleep, calm and recovery’.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘There is no added sugar or calories,’ says Priya Tew. ‘CBD is an active ingredient in hemp (a high-dose version is used in a prescribed drug for epilepsy) but whether low- dose CBD, sold as a supplement, has health benefits is not clear.

A 2019 study suggested a small benefit for anxiety and sleepless-ness from taking 25mg CBD capsules daily but as there was no control group, you can’t tell if it was a placebo effect. Yet even four bottles of this a day would still only provide 8mg CBD, which is less than the minimum dose the company recommends for a benefit.’



250ml, £1, holland and

Per 100ml: Calories, 0; sugar, 0g

THE ‘HEALTHY’ BIT: A sparkling water with B vitamins, guarana, yerba mate and ginseng that provides ‘natural energy’. One can has 80mg of caffeine, equivalent to a cup of coffee.

EXPERT VERDICT: Helen Bond says: ‘This is free from sugar, sweeteners and calories. The B vitamins are important for releasing energy from food and a lack of B12 is a potential concern for those on vegetarian diets; though the rest of us should get enough from dairy, meat and wholegrains.

‘Guarana and yerba mate add caffeine but little more nutritional value at this dose. It’s no different from drinking a cup of black coffee and arguably more acidic, which could harm teeth.’ 



600ml, £1.40,

Per 100ml: Calories, 0; sugar, 0g

THE ‘HEALTHY’ BIT: Claims to be ‘super charged’ to pH 9.5, with electrolytes for active people. Made by adding sodium, potassium and magnesium to filtered water.

EXPERT VERDICT: Priya Tew says: ‘The health claims for alkaline water revolve around a theory that what you eat and drink can affect the pH balance of your body — but the theory is flawed. Our regulatory systems mean our pH is always close to neutral and there is no evidence alkaline food or drink is beneficial.

‘This has no more electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium than hard tap water. The implication that you’ll be more energised is simply not true.’ 



500ml, £1.99,

Per 100ml: Calories, 12.4; sugar, 2.2g

THE ‘HEALTHY’ BIT: This has added glutamine (an amino acid that helps make the protein needed for tissue growth); with apple juice and sweetener.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘There is some evidence consuming glutamine may reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery after intense exercise but the average person eating a balanced diet doesn’t need any extra,’ says Helen Bond. ‘There is nothing in here that would substantiate the claim for helping deal with the ‘rigours’ of modern life. A bottle would give you 62 calories and nearly three teaspoons of ‘free’ sugar, over a third of our daily limit.’



500ml, £2.25,

Per 100ml: Calories, 0; sugar, 0g

THE ‘HEALTHY’ BIT: This alkaline water contains fulvic acid — a mineral the manufacturer claims speeds up the body’s absorption of the 77 minerals, electrolytes and antioxidants also in it. This flavour also has ‘immune system boosters’.

EXPERT VERDICT: Priya Tew says: ‘I am not convinced about the additional benefits of fulvic acid but this water does provide 10 per cent of your daily selenium and 60 per cent of your daily zinc; these minerals help in fighting infections and wound healing.

‘It also contains Wellmune — a fibre extracted from yeast that has some research backing for helping to reduce symptoms of respiratory infections. It may be worth a try if you are run down — but a diet rich in vegetables and fish is better. As for ‘alkaline’, this is an unnecessary claim.’ 



Pack of four 74ml bottles, £29.99,

Per 100ml: Calories, 0; sugar, 0g

THE ‘HEALTHY’ BIT: Flavoured and sweetened filtered water with 5mg melatonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and 5 hydroxytryptophan(5-HTP), to aid sleep.

EXPERT VERDICT: Helen Bond says: ‘This is targeted to help you sleep. GABA is a brain chemical with a sedative effect, while 5-HTP is an amino acid derivative with similar effects. NICE recognises that melatonin — 2mg once daily 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime — as a supplement may help with sleep. This product hasn’t been through studies for us to confirm consuming these chemicals in this way is beneficial. It’s also pricey and not a good idea to use this in place of a healthy sleep routine.’ 



500ml, £1.99,

Per 100ml: Calories, 0; sugar, 0g

THE ‘HEALTHY BIT’: This contains vitamins, zinc and selenium.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘One bottle supplies 75 per cent of our daily zinc, needed for the immune system and normal fertility,’ says Priya Tew. ‘A bottle also provides 30 per cent of our daily selenium needs for a healthy immune system. But instead of relying on bottled water, we could get these minerals from nuts, cheese and fish.’



1 litre, £3.65, most supermarkets. 

Per 100ml: Calories, 23; sugar, 3.4g

THE ‘HEALTHY’ BIT: Billed as a low-calorie, natural source of potassium.

EXPERT VERDICT: Priya Tew says: ‘The naturally occurring potassium — 26 per cent of our daily needs per 250ml glass — is impressive and people trying to keep their blood pressure in check could benefit. 

‘The sugar is naturally occurring but still contributes to weight gain and tooth decay, so go easy as there are over two teaspoons in a glass.’ 


Source: Read Full Article