More Non-Mainstream Water Substitutes


Childhood Obesity News has been looking at the market niche called “emerging beverages,” which basically means that various things are added to water to achieve “premium hydration.” The modern consumer can choose from an amazing number of potables — bone broth, molecular hydrogen-infused water, soy beverages; water infused with aloe, artichoke, cactus, and all manner of vegetation, to name but a few of hundreds.

Big Soda has formulated supposedly beneficial potions that provide copious amounts of sugar and salt, two substances from which few children suffer a deficiency. Because it is so easily found outside of the fancy sports drinks, even Vitamin C is not that much of a bonus. Then there are “functional beverages,” whose branding is disrespectful, if not slanderous, of good old water itself, which has been perfectly functional since long before people appeared on earth.

Sometimes we forget it, but people’s minds, including the minds of children, are actually molded by the language labels we apply to things. The advertising industry is built on this basic fact. If Big Soda is selling functional beverages, then anything we don’t buy from them must, logically, be a non-functional beverage.

Drinking what?

Again, fanciful as it seems, a case could be made that, when the human species reaches the point where it no longer respects pure water as the truest sacrament in nature, we’re done. On the other hand, an opposing factor played into the traditional enthusiasm for monkeying around with water, and it eventually led to the present-day demand for a genre of beverages called “drinking vinegars.”

In colonial-era America, this drink was called switchel, and it is said to have originated in the Caribbean area, where it was called haymaker’s punch. The drinking water wasn’t always clear and pure, and additives could prevent some bad effects. If spices and sugar were available to augment the flavor, so much the better.

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, specializes in obesity medicine. She personally consumes an “apple cider vinegar recipe” for the energy it gives.

Like any other substance, switchel can be abused. Sarah Whitten reported:

“There’s no regulated formulation,” Stanford told CNBC. She said if the cider is not diluted properly, tooth erosion and ulcers in the stomach, esophagus and intestines can occur, not to mention burning of skin.

Other beverages remain to be discussed, but let’s be very clear on one thing: Parents are under no obligation to spring for pricey drinks that allegedly add value to water, because many times nothing is added but sugar or other unnecessary substances. Whether kids are normal-weight, overweight, or obese, they don’t need soda, sports drinks, fruit juice, or powdered mixes. Put water in their bottles and send them out to play.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Taste isn’t why consumers are flocking to this trendy beverage,”, 03/27/17
Photo credit: Wheeler Cowperthwaite via Visualhunt/CC BY

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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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