Special Investigation: MiO
Chemically Enhanced Water
Want to infuse refreshing and healthy water with chemicals and artificial food dyes? Kraft’s got you covered! “Meet MiO, the new liquid water enhancer that allows you to create up to 24 eight oz. drinks from the palm of your hand,” declares the uber-hip MiO facebook page.
Yup, squeeze a few drops of MiO into your innocent glass of water, mix, and voilà, you have yourself a neon-colored, fruit-flavored beverage ready to be chugged. According to Kraft, “Each of MiO’s six exciting flavors are:
- Calorie free per 8 fluid ounce serving
- Carbohydrate free and considered a free exchange
- Sugar free
- Free of artificial flavors”
Hmmm, Kraft sure makes this stuff sound like it’s a healthy home run, right? Flip over the sleek little bottles and keep reading, however, and you’ll find that MiO is loaded with chemicals.
Some of the additives are considered safe—sucralose (an artificial sweetener), propylene glycol (distributes flavors evenly), citric and malic acid (flavorings), potassium sorbate (prevents mold growth), and polysorbate 60 (helps things dissolve). But others—the artificial colors Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1, and the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium—are potentially harmful.
Why are food dyes bad for you?
Ingesting food dyes is linked to hyperactivity in children, cancer (in animal studies), and allergic reactions. Read CSPI’s awesome report “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks,” to learn more. CSPI (my former employer!) is my go-to source for trusted health info!
What makes acesulfame potassium so scary?
The safety tests of acesulfame potassium were conducted in the 1970s and were of mediocre quality. Studies in mice were too short to prove safety, and two rat studies suggest that the additive might cause cancer. And one of the chemicals produced when acesulfame-K is broken down in the body, acetoacetamide, has been shown to negatively affect the thyroid in animal studies. In 1996, CSPI urged the FDA to require better testing before allowing acesulfame-K in soft drinks, but no such testing was done. Yikes.
Bottom line: Don’t drink the new (chemical!) Kool-Aid!
A Better Thirst Quencher
Plain old water can be boring, I get it. Hint Water, whose mantra is Drink Water, Not Sugar, is the real (natural) deal. It’s purified water infused with fruit and vegetable extracts—no extra calories, no added sugars, and no chemicals. From Mango-Grapefruit, Cucumber, Pomegranate-Tangerine and more, Hint comes in an array of delicious flavors.
Or you can infuse your own water! It’s easy and delish. Thinly slice fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs, add them to a pitcher of filtered water, and refrigerate (anywhere from 2 hours to overnight—the longer it sits, the more intense the flavor will be). That’s it! The combos of flavors are limitless—my favorites include strawberry-basil, tangerine-grapefruit, mixed berry, and cucumber-melon-mint.
For help building a healthy lifestyle that works for YOU, take my free 3-minute personality Diet Type quiz and find out how to use the power of your personality type to help you reach your goals!