Supermarket finds: Diet water

Compliments Diet Water

This bottle represents everything that’s wrong with the food chain these days. It’s not just the general waste and unnecessary expense of bottled water, but the fact that companies have somehow managed to convince people to buy diet water. This is by no means the only diet water option on the shelves, I’m just picking on it because it’s explicitly labelled as diet water. And judging by the diet water shelves of my local supermarkets, diet water is one of the faster-growing food segments.

In a few short years, companies have convinced people that they need to drink water from little disposable bottles. But that’s not good enough, so they need flavoured bottled water. And with flavour almost certainly comes sugar or some other sweetener. And something to act as a preservative. And carbonated beverages sell better, so let’s make it all fizzy. And what you end up with is essentially indistinguishable from pop. I haven’t yet seen caffeine-free diet water advertised, but it’s only a matter of time.

Of course, the only problem with selling diet water is that water is naturally calorie-free, and it’s only because of all the crap that water manufacturers (there’s a phrase our parents would never have heard) are putting into their product that they now feel the need to make dubious health claims. Diet water indeed.  What started out as a healthy choice (water instead of pop or other processed drinks) has now been so corrupted by the drawers of water that the healthy choice has become indistinguishable from the unhealthy choice. Just how similar the two products are is made clear by the ingredients list:

Compliments Diet Raspberry Sparkling Water:

carbonated water, citric acid, potassium citrate, natural flavour, aspartame, potassium benzoate, acesulfame potassium, and malic acid.

Diet Sprite:

carbonated water, citric acid, natural flavo[u]rs, potassium citrate, and potassium benzoate, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium.

So, uh, what’s the difference between diet water and diet pop? Why bother?

But seriously, who needs diet water? Apparently, the people who drink Compliments (non-diet) flavoured water do: it has 90 calories per serving.

Me, I prefer good old Toronto Tap in refillable containers. When I want that extra shot of flavour, I use an old family water recipe: boil 2 cups of water, pour over tea leaves into a small pot. Steep for five minutes. Serve while hot. De-lish.

3 Replies to “Supermarket finds: Diet water”

  1. Heh. Good find. Its amazing, but the old saying that what goes around, comes around. I know quite a few people who are drinking “old skool” water right out of the tap. What rebels. Heck, a Brita filter or some lemon and you practically have saved a few thousand dollars a year.

    A good read is “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan. He’s the guy who says “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

    He points out that most of what you find in a supermarket these days isn’t food. Its edible, but it isn’t food. As he says, most of the food is around the outside of the store (think about it: veggies and fruit to the right, butcher in the back…yep, my store is like that). All the middle aisles are edible non-foods.

    As well, he says: “Don’t eat anything your grandparents wouldn’t recognize as food…”

  2. I haven’t read Pollan’s books yet, but have absorbed enough of his wisdom through my wife to feel like I have. I’ve all but stopped eating entire classes of food over the last couple of years in large part because the choices have become so far removed from reality. It’s fun for me to take shots at diet water and Grapples, but the sad thing is that a lot of people eat like that every day.

  3. Bump a 2 year old thread? Sure, why not. Of course you are correct that diet water is just pop. But I want to address the issue of people drinking bottled water.

    I live in a town of 16k people. The municipal water system here has 7 wells and 2 sodium hypochlorite feed systems, a setup that’s common and perfectly legal. But sodium hypochlorite is the chemical name for ordinary everyday bleach.

    When you fill up the sink to wash the dishes, the smell of bleach wafts through the kitchen. Fill a pot to boil some pasta, you smell bleach. When you flush the toilet, you can smell bleach. Well, only if you haven’t overcome it with some odors of your own, but you get the point. The water here is full of bleach and it tastes like shite.

    That’s why whenever bottled water goes on sale here, you see people coming out of the store with cartloads of the stuff. The stores here sell huge quantities, truckloads.

    Toronto’s water is treated with chloramine; it’s a different process and you don’t get the javex stink or taste. I can see no reason to drink bottled water in Toronto because the tap water is excellent, but where I live there is a valid reason for it.

    Luckily, I don’t need to waste my money on bottled water, because unlike the unwashed masses who buy it at the Superstore, I know where there are two publically accessible springs nearby and I can easily bottle my own.

    It’s too bad crappy municipal water forces people to buy bottles to get something that’s drinkable, but in small towns bleach disinfection is pretty much standard because it’s cheap, and that ain’t going to change.

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