Move Over Coconut: There Are New Alternative Waters On The Scene

Hydrating, calorie- and sugar-free, and, of course, essential to human life — water is the world’s best drink.

But plain ol' H20 is also pretty much the drinkable version of a No. 2 pencil: It gets the job done, but isn’t particularly exciting. So when coconut water and other alternatives began taking over the beverage market, people — including us health editors — got a little excited.

While these drinks are thirst-quenching and full of flavor, they’ve also made the term “water” a bit confusing. Drinkers shouldn’t assume that all alternative waters are sugar- and calorie-free like the real deal, or that they should be consumed as often as regular water. Every health expert will tell you that water is still your best bet for hydration; keep in mind also that high consumption of sugary drinks is linked with a whole host of health risks, including obesity and diabetes.

Most alt waters (including the ones listed here) do contain sugar. Coconut water has about 12 grams of sugar per 8 ounces and contains no fiber, protein, or fat. Maple water has around 4 grams of sugar per 8 ounces and, again, no fiber to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. That doesn’t mean they’re all automatically “bad” for you — most contain electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals — but it does mean you shouldn’t mindlessly chug.

So stick with water for your through-the-day thirst quencher. But, for those times when you’re craving something more, we’ve got the juice. Click through for the scoop on five newcomers to the water scene.