The Truth About Functional Beverages

When it comes to functional beverages, between the elaborate vitamin packages and exotic-sounding extracts, it's hard to tell if you're drinking sugar water or a tonic for life everlasting. This  will help you separate a sincere health claim from a snake-oil sales pitch.

The Truth About Function: Urban Detox

100 calories
0 g fat
24 g sugars

Researchers in New Orleans found that subjects given prickly pear extract, one of the compounds at work in this bottle, experienced fewer hangover symptoms after a night of heavy drinking. Among the dose of B vitamins found in this bottle is four times your daily value of B6, a vitamin that tends to suffer depletion at the hands of a long night of drinking. However, water still remains the best antidote for a hangover, and it doesn't carry the 100 calories this drink does.

The Truth About Function: Light Weight Blueberry Raspberry

11 calories
0 g fat
2 g sugars

The bottle boasts both EGCG and resveratrol, the star nutrients from the world of tea and wine.

The Truth About Gatorade G Orange

80 calories
0 g fat
21 g sugars

Loads of artificial coloring and high-fructose corn syrup compromise an otherwise admirable beverage.

The Truth About Gatorade G2 Glacier Freeze

45 calories
0 g fat
12 g sugars

Fewer than half the calories of traditional Gatorade, but with all of the same electrolytes to encourage full hydration.

The Truth About SoBe Lifewater Strawberry Kiwi Bliss

40 calories
0 g fat
10 g sugars

Aside from the standard B vitamins that lace nearly every functional beverage on the market, this one has the added bonus of two extracts: lemon balm and hibiscus. The good news is, one of these herbs has a high likelihood of reducing stress. The bad news? There's probably not enough of it in this bottle for you to notice. As for hibisucs, its only real value is in its ability to fight hypertension, but again, positive effects have only been found using doses much larger than what's provided here.

The Truth About Propel Berry

30 calories
0 g fat
6 g sugars

The original functional beverage is also among the best. It's low in sugar, contains no artificial coloring, and carries a bevy of antioxidents.

The Truth About Glaceau Vitaminwater Defense Raspberry-Apple

50 calories
0 g fat
13 g sugars

Any boon this bottle provides to your immune system is coming from two primary ingredients: vitamin C and zinc. Vitamin C has a reputation for fighting the common cold, but studies don't fully support the claim. Zinc, on the other hand, might be a little more promising. A recent study found that daily zinc supplementation could increase the body's production of T cells, which help the body fight viral and bacterial infections. Problem is, the study used a daily dose of 15 milligrams—about four times as much as you get from a bottle of Defense.

The Truth About Glaceau Smart Water

0 calories
0 g fat
0 g sugars

Zero sugar, zero calories. Just water and electrolytes. Now that's refreshing.

The Truth About Zico Pure Coconut Water

60 calories
0 g fat
14 g sugars

Coconut water offers the electrolytes of Gatorade with less sugar and no artificial add-ins.

The Truth About SoBe Lifewater Blackberry Grape Enlighten

90 calories
0 g fat
23 g sugars

Any "water" with more than 20 grams of sugar has no place in your diet.

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