“Value-Added Water” — What the Heck?


At Childhood Obesity News, our wish to never again mention Big Soda is a running joke. But the industry continues to make unacceptable moves, and mentions of previous atrocities keep popping up. There is no respite from the assault upon our bodies and, incidentally, our intelligence.

A human body is more than half composed of water. A human brain is about 75% (or three-quarters) water. We can’t live without it. Clean, pure water is perfection, and everything water does, it does perfectly. Perfection can’t be improved on, so how can there be “value-added” water? Immediately, the mind rejects this terminology as illogical and meaningless.

But not according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, or the branding expert who came up with the “value-added water” concept. The firm’s research director, Gary Hemphill, predicts that within the next two years, bottled water will become the largest beverage category. One consequence is that health-conscious people will need to transfer some of their concern from fizzy drinks to these “emerging” beverages.


Also known as “niche” products, the choices include ready-to-drink tea and coffee; raw pressed juices; and lightly-sweetened beverages containing either organic sugar (rather than high fructose corn syrup), or zero-calorie stevia. The flavors of calorie-free plant-based waters are provided by lemon, passionfruit, or dragonfruit, with a little bit of fiber to lend a mouthfeel different from clear water.

Other products are alkaline water and essence water — the more “crafty” and artisanal, the better. The newest energy drinks are protein-enhanced water spiked with caffeine for alertness.

Donna Berry reported for Food Business News:

Protein also has established itself as a satiety-inducing macronutrient, fashioning it essential for weight loss and weight management regimes.

Here is where it gets interesting. Apparently, even the most fanatical pursuers of fitness are not willing to abandon fizziness. A brand called Celsius, for instance, is available in both sparkling and non-carbonated versions. The ingredients include Vitamin C, ginger, green tea, B-complex vitamins, and guarana, which is where the caffeine comes from.

Billed as healthy energy drinks, the beverages purport to help burn 93% more body fat (than what?). Berry writes:

Further, studies show that consuming a single 12-oz drink containing a mere 10 calories can burn 100 calories.

Additionally, another beverage niche is created and filled by non-dairy probiotics, which will be further discussed.

The Beverage Marketing Corporation(BMC) offers a list of the major players in the new world of “value-added water“:

Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Sunny Delight Beverages Company, Nestle Waters North America (NWNA), Aquahydrate, Herbal Water Inc., Hint Inc., Bai Brands, Karma Culture, Essentia Water, Avitae USA and Core Nutrition.

Interested parties should note that the BMC will sell anyone a report detailing exactly how well each company is doing, and a lot more besides, for just a smidgen under $3,000.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Beverage trends 2016,” FoodBusinessNews.net, 01/12/16
Source: “U.S. Value-Added Water Through 2020,” BeverageMarketing.com, 2016
Photo credit: Public Domain Photography via Visualhunt/CC BY-SA

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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