Angry Toxicologist

PUR water wasn’t content with removing impurities from your water so they decided that they would put some back in…and then charge you for it!

I am talking about PUR Flavor Options. No joke, after they filter your water they add artificial flavors. All over the website are testimonials about how much “water” their kids are drinking now. One even has this to say: “My son asked for flavored water more than juice.”. Great. First, I’m not sure it’s a good thing that kids are loading up on a non-nutritive drink over juice. Now a lot of parents over do the juice, but if it’s something like OJ in moderation, that’s not a bad thing. Anyways, milk is best for kids. Second, and most importantly, if you add artifical stuff, it’s not water. Sorry to burst your bubbles. Third, faking kids out to get them to eat stuff that’s good for them is pretty well accepted to be a bad parenting method (see also Deceptively Delicious for more bad ideas see here for some better ones). Forth, I don’t know what’s in them but don’t you think parents should be a little wary of completely artifical additives with no nutritional value what so ever? It seems from the testimonials that people have trouble with their kids drinking too much pop at home. Hey knuckleheads, I’ve got your solution: don’t buy it. Simple enough. When you or your kids get thirsty and there are only healthy choices around, they’ll choose something healthy. (Side note to knuckleheads: you’re in charge, not your kids).

Sheesh.

Comments

  1. #1 Jim Lemire
    October 15, 2007

    It amazes me the amount of non-healthy foods parents are OK with giving their kids. I only have a sample size of two, but I know that it is possible for kids to eat, enjoy, and ask for more asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, tofu, fish,… And to understand why things like soda are not acceptable dinner drinks. As a parent I think it your responsibility to provide them with healthy foods, talk them about eating healthy, and then not acquiescing to their demands for something else. I do not think a soda is “better than nothing”.

    I think part of the problem is that many American parents like drinking soda at dinner and enjoy having a Big Mac and don’t want to give up their unhealthy eating habits. So, they simply don’t bother trying to instill healthy habits in their kids. Because, gasp, they might actually need to change themselves. The horror!

  2. #2 John McKay
    October 15, 2007

    My first thought, when I saw an ad for this, was that, after about the third morning of making grape-flavored coffee, that thing would be in the trash no matter how much the kids like it. When people turn on the water they expect water to come out. It will only take a couple of ruined meals before most people will tell the kids to stir their own damned Kool-Aid.

  3. #3 sailor
    October 15, 2007

    There was that fuss about funding s-chip with a tax on cigarettes, because that would mainly affect the poor (presumably because their education was so piss poor they did not understand the harm it was doing, or their status is so damn low they don’t give a damn).
    Anyway I have a fine solution: fund s-chip with a heavy tax on bottled water. It would affect mainly the wealthy and help save the environment from all those plastic bottles.

  4. #4 speedwell
    October 15, 2007

    Sailor, good show. Here in Houston we have free-standing “water machines” at which you can refill your own bottles for a minimal cost… 30 cents a gallon for reverse-osmosis treated, good-tasting water. The poor people prefer this kind of water for their babies and for their cooking because Houston water quality is, well, iffy. When I got over my fear of the Spanish-speaking neighbors and started refilling my own darn 5-gallon jugs, I was pleasantly surprised.

    Just one caveat: Don’t punitively tax the water. Tax pre-filled bottles instead.

  5. #5 sailor
    October 15, 2007

    Spedwell I would not tax water and I would not tax empty containers, I would tax bottled water.

  6. #6 rob
    October 16, 2007

    I would rather tax soda. There is nothing good in there.

  7. #7 another rob
    October 16, 2007

    “Side note to knuckleheads: you’re in charge, not your kids.”

    Ha! I’m guessing this was not written by an actual parent.

  8. #8 Trey
    October 16, 2007

    another rob said: “Ha! I’m guessing this was not written by an actual parent.”

    My thoughts exactly LOL.

  9. #9 bb
    October 16, 2007

    This product has been out for over a year, and you just now mention it!

    Plus believe it or not, you don’t have to have the flavor in your water it switches on or off!

    I have a PUR water filter, but I wasn’t stupid enough to buy the flavored filter system.

    P.S. Milk is NOT the best thing for kids to drink, it is water plain and simple, kids are far too fat already.

  10. #10 mezmer
    October 16, 2007

    another rob said: “Ha! I’m guessing this was not written by an actual parent.”

    Really? You might need to grow up. Somebody needs to be an adult in the parent-child relationship. And, yes. I have kids. 20 and 18, and they could attest to the fact that nothing as stupid as flavored water made an appearance during their childhoods no matter what they had to say about it.

  11. #11 beblebrox
    October 16, 2007

    It’s pretty simple; pop (soda) is a special treat, not to be kept in regular supply in the house. It is the way i was brought up, and to this day we keep none in the house. In fact, there is nothing but water in the house to drink, except for the occasional bottle of wine purchased for a particular dinner. the same goes for junk food, and microwave junk (fries, chicken fingers, etc). If it isn’t there, noone can whine for it.

  12. #12 Jon H
    October 16, 2007

    It only adds .006 oz/.18 mL per 8 oz of water, so it’s not exactly Kool-Aid mix. I wonder how strong the flavor actually is.

    The ingredients for Strawberry are: Water, PEG (22%), Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Acesulfame K, Sucralose, Strawberry Flavor, NaCl, Benzoic Acid (preservative), Sorbic Acid (preservative).

    0 calories, 0 fat, 0 sodium (huh? it has sodium chloride. Must be a small enough an amount that it counts as 0 in the amount per serving list), 0 carbs, 0 protein.

    It doesn’t seem all that horrible, especially given the small quantity. Certainly it would be more healthy than mixing up a jug of said sugar-laden Kool-Aid. And if your kid has grown attached to sugary drinks, the Pur product might be a way to wean him or her on to something healthier, with minimal complaint.

    Also, the water from my Brita pitcher can be a little… off sometimes. Flat or something. A tiny squirt of flavor might help with that.

    If I were to buy one, I’d probably get the jug version, rather than the faucet-mounted version. It’d still be useful even if you stop buying the flavor cartridges, and you wouldn’t have something mounted on your faucet for years to come.

  13. #13 Phil Boncer
    October 16, 2007

    another rob said: “Ha! I’m guessing this was not written by an actual parent.”

    I’m guessing it was written by an actual parent who knows what that means. I’m guessing it was not written by a chauffer/servant/whiner who just wants his kids to like him.

    “Side note to knuckleheads: you’re in charge, not your kids.” is the right answer, and any parent who fails to abide by this is doing neither himself nor his kids any favors.

    PhilB

  14. #14 fran
    October 16, 2007

    While I agree this is a stupid product, most of the rest of your post is inaccurate. Why isn’t it still water? If I put strawberry flavoring in ice cream, does it cease being ice cream? It’s flavored water. And water has tons of other additives–chlorine, flouride, etc. Do those make it “not water,” too? Finally, as others have pointed out here, a non-caloric beverage for kids is probably more healthful than juices which are packed with natural sugars–orange juice is the best of the worst. There are a lot worse things than flavored water.

  15. #15 Amanda
    October 17, 2007

    But Fran (and others), orange juice and milk have more than just calories in them — they have nutrients, which children’s bodies need a lot more than they need “non-caloric” beverages. Like AT said, some parents do overdo it with the juice, but in moderation it’s good for them.

  16. #16 fran
    October 17, 2007

    Sorry, Amanda, but most juice is sugar and water–check the label–no fiber, few nutrients, very little by way of vitamins. Not much better than kool-aid I’m afraid. The food industry has done a good job convincing people it’s like eating fresh fruit–but it’s not. All the pulp, fiber and nutrients are lost in the juicing process.

  17. #17 ozzy
    October 18, 2007

    Orange juice does have nutrients in them. Water soluble nutrients (vit C for exammple) are NOT lost during the juicing process. You do lose the pulp but a regular orange has very little fiber, 2.4g in large orange, about the same as a slice of wheat bread. A single glass of orange juice a day, or any juice for that matter, is not going to make you or your kid fat. A few glasses of Skim or 1% milk for kids is not bad either. I would much rather give them skim milk over colored water anyday. Besides, don’t you remember the study recently about food colorings and hyperactivity.

  18. #18 fran
    October 20, 2007

    A lot of people believe dairy products are bad (I’m not against them if they are low fat–they are rich in calcium and fortified with other vitamins–although in the context of this discussion, let’s put the emphasis on fortified). But the fact remains kids do not need high caloric beverages–they get plenty of nutrients from foods if they have a balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Apple and Grape juices are essentially sugar water–whatever vitamins are in them are usually from fortification. OJ has some C and potassium, but not much else (except lots of marketing). Kids would be much better off eating WHOLE fruit and drinking PLAIN water. Another option is plain water with a slice of lemon in it. Even though I think it’s a stupid product, let’s not overplay the extent to which putting some flavoring in water is evil. Again, I don’t defend this product, but the comments in the original posting by a “scientist” seem woefully lacking in science. And, Ozzy, you seem to be confusing flavoring and coloring. Nobody said this product contains coloring. Almost any nutritionist would support me on this basic point–juice is sugar water dressed up to be health food. Kids could have a perfectly healthful diet that consisted only of plain water in terms of beverages if it is otherwise balanced. Juice, soda, sports drinks, etc are mostly sugar and of no real dietary benefit.

  19. #19 Kelli
    October 21, 2007

    ~ While my child was growing up – and still today – I never bought or allowed soda, fake juice or ‘no nutrition ultra sweet cereals’ in the house. But too many of todays families just seem to put nutrition aside for convenience and giving in to ‘the latest’ whatever product.
    ~ My child grew up knowing how to read labels and how not to buy foods with artificial ingredients and ingredients we can’t pronounce. Unfortunately, this carefulness doesn’t mean we will live a healthy life – since other polutants prevail – but we try. Thanks for your article, your right-on.

  20. #20 AngryToxicologist
    October 30, 2007

    Agreed with ozzy. One other point to bring up: kids should drink whole milk until they are two.

    Fran, I have it from 2 nutritionists that they would not consider 100% (espeically unfiltered), dressed up sugar water.

  21. #21 Matt
    October 30, 2007

    What about the psychology of drinking flavored water compared to actual water? Water with flavoring and Sucralose (100% disgusting, though way, way better than aspartame or saccharin) is a different experience than plain water.
    If the problem is that kids don’t get enough water, then this doesn’t change their behavior, rather it fools them into drinking water. And I have a hard time believing introducing chemicals to water is good, whether we are talking about the process of manufacturing them, sending them into the water supply via the sink drain, ingesting them, etc.
    We go too far in this society letting people maintain their unhealthy habits by making junk food not unhealthy, or, even worse, adding a bunch of nutrients and calling it health food. Sure, the government did that to bleached flour in the early 1900s, but I think there is a difference.
    One more thought: maybe kids aren’t drinking enough water because they see mom and pop with coffee, juice, milk, beer, etc.? Maybe they sit in front of the television too much and never really work up a thirst? Make them play outside (or get them a Wii) and I bet they won’t need flavor to drink.
    Matt

  22. #22 Phil Boncer
    October 30, 2007

    “What about the psychology of drinking flavored water compared to actual water?”

    This is a very valid point. Similarly, there are a couple of cookbooks in the news recently about how to fool your kids into eating healthy foods, by such tactics as adding vegetable puree to the batter in their brownies.

    Aside from the whole issue of “who’s running this show, anyway?”, this sort of thing fails to teach them good eating habits at all, and just means that once they are on their own, they’ll go back to eating empty junk food if there is no one there to sneak nutrients into it for them. This is not a service to their children.

    PhilB

  23. #23 Registered Dietitian in Training
    October 31, 2007

    RE: BB “P.S. Milk is NOT the best thing for kids to drink, it is water plain and simple, kids are far too fat already.”
    Studies have been conducted which showed that teenage girls who drink milk and consume other foods high in calcium do not gain more weight than girls that don’t. In fact, they have a much better health profile (in terms of other nutrients) then the girls who don’t consume milk and other calcium rich foods.

  24. #24 Fran
    November 1, 2007

    Hey Angry Tox–You “have it from 2 nutritionists” that they don’t consider juice sugar water? How about some supported facts? Try this report by the American Academy of Pediatrics on the dangers of giving fruit juice to children (essentially, because it is empty calories)?

    http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;107/5/1210

    Fran

  25. #25 ozzy
    November 2, 2007

    Fran:

    Did you actually read the report? No one here is recommending unfettered juice consumption. Here’s some conclusions directly from their report:

    “One hundred percent fruit juice or reconstituted juice can be a healthy part of the diet when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet.
    A variety of fruit juices, provided in appropriate amounts for a child’s age, are not likely to cause any significant clinical symptoms.”

  26. #26 Fran
    November 4, 2007

    Yes, Ozzy. I read the report. It also says:

    Water is the predominant component of fruit juice. Carbohydrates, including sucrose, fructose, glucose, and sorbitol, are the next most prevalent nutrient in juice.
    # Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit for infants younger than 6 months.
    # Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit for infants older than 6 months and children.

    It supports everything I stated above. Bring on some flavored water. Yum!!!!!

  27. #27 Ekerhag
    November 6, 2007

    Fran, as I interpret your second point “# Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit for infants older than 6 months and children.” it simply states you get more nutrition out of real fruits than juice. But the diffrence between real fruits and water is even larger.

    And at the end of the line everything you consume is bad if you consume too much of it, be it water or juice or anything else.

  28. #28 fran
    November 6, 2007

    Ekerhag–I agree, occasional consumption of juice is not, per se, bad for you, but then again, neither is occasional consumption of a glass of Coke. I would also agree that a glass of fruit juice is better for you than, say, eating a candy bar.

    But the original posters here said: tut, tut, flavored water is just like koolaid–it is diverting children from drinking healthy fruit juices. My point here is that flavored water is not so bad compared to fruit juice or soda. As with soda and sports drinks, most fruit juice is largely made up of quickly absorbed sugar which displaces nutritional food in the diet. The conventional wisdom that fruit juice is so good for you is largely baloney. The fruit juice = health food thing is a lot of marketing baloney. The Peds report basically supports that.

    I also believe the advertising claim that drinking V-8 juice is the same as eating 2 servings of vegetables is alot of baloney. But I’ll bet it sells lots of V-8.

  29. #29 fran
    November 6, 2007

    Ekerhag–One other thing I forgot to mention, while there is indeed a bigger gap between the nutrients in fruit vs. water, water is non-caloric and therefore, tends not to displace nutritional foods, such as whole fruit, from the diet. The problem with juice and other hi calorie drinks is that displace nutritious foods.

  30. #30 geciktirici
    December 31, 2007

    I prefer soda too.

  31. #31 kozmetik
    December 31, 2007

    Don’t punitively tax the water. Tax pre-filled bottles instead.

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  75. #77 Çet
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    But the original posters here said: tut, tut, flavored water is just like koolaid–it is diverting children from drinking healthy fruit juices. My point here is that flavored water is not so bad compared to fruit juice or soda. As with soda and sports drinks, most fruit juice is largely made up of quickly absorbed sugar which displaces nutritional food in the diet. The conventional wisdom that fruit juice is so good for you is largely baloney. The fruit juice = health food thing is a lot of marketing baloney. The Peds report basically supports that.

  76. #78 ankara nakliye
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    children from drinking healthy fruit juices. My point here is that flavored water is not so bad compared to fruit juice or soda. As with soda and sports drinks, most fruit juice is largely made up of quickly absorbed sugar which displaces nutritional food in the diet. The conventional wisdom

  77. #79 mehmetcik
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    But the original posters here said: tut, tut, flavored water is just like koolaid–it is diverting children from drinking healthy fruit juices. My point here is that flavored water is not so bad compared to fruit juice or soda

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    that it counts as 0 in the amount per serving list), 0 carbs, 0 protein.

    It doesn’t seem all that horrible, especially given the small quantity. Certainly it would be more healthy than mixing up a jug of said sugar-laden Kool-Aid. And if your kid has grown attached to sugary drinks, the Pur product might be a way to wean him or her on to something healthier, with minimal complaint.

    Also, the water from my Brita pitcher

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  83. #85 duvar kagidi
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    It doesn’t seem all that horrible, especially given the small quantity. Certainly it would be more healthy than mixing up a jug of said sugar-laden Kool-Aid. And if your kid has grown attached to sugary drinks, the Pur product might be a way to wean him or her on to something healthier, with minimal complaint.

    Also, the water from my Brita pitcher

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    “What about the psychology of drinking flavored water compared to actual water?”

    This is a very valid point. Similarly, there are a couple of cookbooks in the news recently about how to fool your kids into eating healthy foods, by such tactics as adding vegetable puree to the batter in their brownies.

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