Say no to Mio

Written by amy on June 4th, 2013

mio  Mio, a concentrated flavor additive for water, is one of the latest products to hit the grocery store shelves and it is selling like hotcakes. Marketed as the solution to the “I-don’t-like-water-because-it-is-boring”complaint, many parents have embraced this product to increase water intake in their kids. I hate to do it, parents, but grab your umbrellas and head for cover because I am about to rain on your parade.

First, when looking at the ingredients – which should be the first thing anyone should do when assessing the value of a food, you can see that there is nothing real in Mio.  It does though contain plenty of controversial artificial sweeteners and colorings.  Second, using a flavor enhancer actually backfires in the long term.  Taste buds are conditioned to expect uber-sweet flavors, creating a bigger sweet tooth and an even more difficult time drinking plain water.  Sweetened beverages – either artificially or with sugar – also have been shown not to quench thirst as much as regular water.  When drinking something with an intense sweet flavor, the feeling of thirst increases because the body desires more fluid to neutralize the sweet sensation. This is great for food manufacturers because it drives consumers to drink more and thus purchase more beverages/flavor additives.

A better choice would be to use a “real” flavor enhancer, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, or herbs, to flavor water.  Lemons, limes, mint, and cucumbers are all popular choices. Be creative and try adding a few raspberries, pineapples slices, rosemary, lavender, or cilantro. Your taste buds may find the change tasty and refreshing.  After choosing your “enhancer”,add it first to the pitcher or jar. Mash it slightly with a wooden spoon to bruise the leaves and release some of the juices.  Add ice and then fill the rest of the way with water. Store in the fridge and pour a glass as needed.  Don’t let the water sit too long because the flavor may change.

 

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