The practice of infusing water with your favorite fruit or herbs is hardly something new. Yet within the last few years, fruit infused water and infuser bottles have exploded in popularity, in part thanks to the online fitness and healthy living crave which dominates social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. Like most online health trends, infused water is touted to have tons of health benefits – some real, some exaggerated, and some entirely fabricated. In this article we’ll try to sort out the signal from the noise and look at what the real, scientifically-backed health benefits of infused water actually are.
But in addition to looking at the why behind drinking infused water, we’ll also take a bit of a look at the how. We’ll explore some of the infuser water bottles available on the market and also look at some simple DIY methods for making infused water at home.
Finding the Real Health Benefits of Infused Water
If you start looking for something like “benefits of infused water” or “is infused water healthy” you’ll quickly come across an endless cavalcade of websites claiming that infused water is a miraculous cure – that it can help treat diabetes, promote weight loss, and “detoxify” the body. Some websites even refer to it as “detox water” and claim that through detoxifying the body they can tackle seemingly any and every medical problem. (For much more on so-called “detox water,” read our featured article What Is Detox Water?)
Almost all of this is untested scientifically. Not only that, some of it is in direct defiance of basic reason for anyone with a bit of scientific literacy. Yet the unfortunate part of this situation lies in the fact that drinking infused water can be a very healthy habit, with some limited health benefits. But it is important to give credit where credit is due, and the need for online health/fitness trends to be touted as miraculous cures is not only simply factually wrong, it is disingenuous in the extreme and even dangerous.
How Fruit Infused Water Works
The fallacy of the many “miracle cure” and “detoxification” claims behind infused water is the assumption that infused water is somehow more than the sum of its parts. Infused water is nothing more than water infused with whatever compounds happen to be water-soluble in the fruit, vegetables, or herbs you place into your water.
Therefore, it is wrong to say that there are no health benefits to infused water. As you might expect, you can (at least in theory) add to your diet a healthy dose of vitamins and all sorts of healthy compounds that can be infused into your water from fruits and vegetables. This can not only make your water tastier to drink, it can also add some helpful nutrients with every sip. Yet ultimately it is important to remember that whatever these benefits are, other than helping you achieve proper hydration, drinking fruit infused water won’t have any more health benefits than eating some fruit and drinking some water. Actually, it will have substantially less benefit than eating the fruit, as the amount of nutrients made available by soaking the fruit in water is minimal. While it might be enough to impart a pleasant taste, a bit of nutrients, and maybe even a few calories, fruit infused water is not that fruity in the scheme of things.
So when you see unverified claims from people with no medical credentials that infused water has fat burning properties, or that it can help you with any disease or medical condition, think critically and skeptically about what they are saying.
What Infused Water Can Do For Your Health and Diet
The largest benefit of infused water is making drinking water more enjoyable. Fruit infused waters can have a delicious taste and the huge variety of flavor possibilities and combinations to experiment with can really take the monotony out of drinking the same old water everyday. Infused water not only tastes better, but can be visually much more appealing as well, making it easier to encourage yourself to stay properly hydrated throughout the day.
Unlike fruit juice drinks, infused water is extremely low-calorie but can still have a delicious fruity flavor. This offers a great way to get something which still tastes good but is not rich with sweeteners or caloric content, making infused waters potentially a great replacement for soda or fruit juice in the diet.
Since infused water only absorbs a tiny portion of the nutrients available in the fruit or vegetables used to infuse it, drinking infused water can not be thought of as having a serving of fruits or vegetables. It is important to note that it is in no way a replacement for eating a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables – if anything, it is a very minor dietary supplement. It is important to remember that any health benefits fruit infused water offers are more or less just the benefits of proper hydration.
What Scientists and Dietitians Have To Say About Infused Water
In early 2016, the U.K.-based Independent wrote a piece investigating if lemon- and fruit-infused waters could burn fat or “detoxify”. Asking a variety of professors, dietitians, and doctors, the conclusion was much the same as our own above: the best thing infused water does is encourage you to drink more water!
‘“If adding fruit and vegetables makes the water taste nicer, it could encourage people to drink more and stay hydrated. It can also add some nutrients, such as vitamin C,” says Dr Sue Reeves, Sue Reeves, Principal Lecturer in the department of Life Sciences at the University of Roehampton.’
When consulted about infused water, medical professionals and diet experts all seem to say something more or less along these lines. In fact, infused water is even considered medically useful for this purpose. The Massachusetts-based Dana Farber Cancer Institute has a page on infused water, which includes recipe ideas and recommends infused water as an alternative to sweetened drinks.
If we attempt to consult the medical literature for studies about the benefits of infused waters, we find very little. It is not an area that is well studied, as it is a fairly recent trend. The website Healthy But Smart has a great article examining available studies to evaluate some claims of the lemon infused water fad. They found, much like we did when we began researching this piece, very little available to consult in the way of studies. The article concedes that some of the claims of lemon infused water may have some scientifically validity, but this is on the basis that lemons have been demonstrated to have certain properties independently of infused water. Like we mentioned above, of course, one can’t expect any more of these benefits to come from infused water than they would from simply eating the fruit.
An excellent article from Authority Nutrition by Registered Dietitian Helen West does a great job of knocking down the many myths behind infused water while lending credibility to its potential dietary benefits. West concludes that most of the benefits are likely to be the result of drinking more water and improved hydration, writing that “[the amount of] nutrients that you would get from an infusion like detox water is likely to be minimal and highly variable.” The article concludes: “Detox water won’t help you flush toxins from your body or make it more alkaline.”
Making Your Own Infused Water
Now that we know a bit about what infused water can (and can’t) do for you, let’s take a look at making it at home. Making infused water couldn’t be simpler. All you need is a food-safe container, some fruit, herbs, or vegetables, and water. Certain fruits such as citrus are best sliced, and some vegetables or herbs are better if chopped or crushed. Once you’ve prepared your materials for infusion, just toss them into the container and add water. Optionally, you can stir or apply some pressure to the infusion materials with a spoon or other utensil to help speed the process.
The longer you leave the fruit or vegetables in the water to infuse, the more flavor and nutrients will be imparted into your water. Experiment with how long imparts the best flavor – but as a general guideline, give the water at least 30 minutes to infuse. Some recipes can call for anywhere from hours to a full overnight soak to extract those particularly stubborn flavors. Consult individual recipes for specific soak times, or best of all, experiment yourself until you flavor to taste!
Make sure not to use hot water when making infusions, as this can break down the fruit and alter the flavor. Always use room temperature or chilled water. Typically we recommend starting with room temperature water for an hour or so, but recommend refrigerating for longer soaks to prevent bacterial growth.
Helpful Infused Water Recipes & Resources
There is no shortage of different ideas for infused water recipes floating around the internet. While these are a great jumping off point, be sure to experiment on your own. Any flavor combination you think would be tasty is worth giving a try – all it takes is some fruit and water! If nothing else, it will give you a good excuse to buy and eat some more fruit.
For a great general primer on making infused water, read “Fresh Ideas For Making Infused Water” from All Recipes. It includes a great crash course in making your own infused water, complete with information about the basics, a flavor guide, a helpful flavor combination chart, and helpful tips.
For some recipe ideas, head over to the DailyBurn’s 14 Flavor-Packed Fruit Infused Water Recipes, or have a look at BuzzFeed’s 14-recipe list.
This great YouTube video from The SITS Girls provides a hands-on demonstration of DIY infused water making at home and also includes a few recipe ideas. Check it out!
Infuser Water Bottles and Pitchers
As we outlined above, more than likely you probably don’t need anything you don’t already have to make your own fruit infused water. Any food safe container will do, be it a pitcher, a water dispenser, your favorite glass or cup, or just about anything else you probably have in your kitchen. But for those who love drinking infused water, there are also a variety of products that can make infusing that much simpler to do everyday.
These infuser water bottles or pitchers are typically just a standard bottle or pitcher equipped with an infusion tube. The infusion tube is simply a BPA-free plastic tube with a few holes in it. Designed to be stuffed with your fruit, herbs, vegetables, or anything else you want to infuse, the tube runs down into the water in your bottle or pitcher, providing plenty of surface area to let the infusion happen. One benefit of these tubes is they can often be stuffed quite full of whatever you want to infuse, letting you get lots of flavor and variety into a single infusion.
They can also be very easy to clean and refill, providing you with a means of always having quick access to infused water which you can easily refill throughout the day. In the case of infused water bottles, there is also the benefit of a degree of DIY portability with infused water you can’t really find elsewhere.
In our Best Water Bottles 2017 article we took a look at infuser water bottles, naming a Best Infused Water Bottle and dedicating a section to comparing three top infused bottles. We’ve also examined infused water pitchers: click here to read Best Infuser Water Pitchers and learn about our top three picks for the ideal infusion pitcher.
Below, we’ll examine the infuser bottle we named the best of 2017, and look at a great infuser water pitcher as well.
2017’s Best Infused Water Bottle: Infusion Pro Premium
With a design exemplifying “simple but effective,” the Infusion Pro Premium Infused Water Bottle is a remarkably affordable infuser bottle that manages to do a lot of basic things other infuser bottles miss. With an infusion tube that runs all the way to the bottom, the Infusion Pro ensures that every drop of water in your bottle can contact the infuser tube, giving you tasty flavor to the last drop.
Opening from both ends easily, it is very simple to clean or refill the infuser tube. Extremely lightweight yet durable with its BPA-free Tritan plastic design, the Infusion Pro is exceptionally portable, yet still reasonably spacious with a 24 ounce capacity. This makes it small enough to fit into a cupholder, and never gets too heavy even when filled with water and fruit. Simple, portable, low-cost, and effective at infusing your water with delicious flavors and traces of healthy nutrients, the Infusion Pro is a worthy investment for infused water fanatics.
To learn more about the Infusion Pro or purchase one for yourself, be sure to visit the Amazon listing.
Want to see what other infused water bottles we put to the test for the title of Best Infused Bottle 2017? Click here to see the top 3 best infused bottles picks.
Best Infused Water Pitcher: Prodyne Fruit Infusion Flavor Pitcher
With an elegant simplicity and an emphasis on function, the Prodyne Fruit Infused Flavor Pitcher does a great job of making infused water without any unnecessary frills. A BPA-free plastic pitcher made from food grade acrylic, the Prodyne is durable, easy to clean, has a huge 93-ounce capacity, and its infusion tube runs almost the entire length of the pitcher, giving plenty of space for fruit and vegetables.
An ideal way to provide infused drinking water for your household the whole day through, the Prodyne Infusion Pitcher is a bargain at around $20. With a stylish transparent look, it not only helps infuse your water but also makes it look all the more appetizing. The design of the lid and pour spout make for great and effective usage without worrying about spills. The infusion rod screws into the lid for easy removal for cleaning or filling.
Simple, elegant, and functional at a bargain price tag. If you find yourself making big batches of infused water everyday, something like the Prodyne or a similar infused water pitcher is a great investment.
To learn more about the Prodyne Infusion Pitcher, or to purchase one for yourself, visit the Amazon listing.
If the Prodyne isn’t quite your speed, head over to our Best Infuser Water Pitchers article to get some more options.
Old School Option: Beverage Dispenser
The classic method for making infused water is still a beverage dispenser with a wide-mouth opening and a spigot. This type of dispenser makes it incredibly easy to add whatever types of fruit, vegetables, herbs, flavorings, or anything you want to your drinking water.
Available in a huge range of sizes, a variety of materials, and tons of options, you can find a beverage dispenser to suit just about any environment. Whether it is an elegant glass fixture, or a highly utilitarian plastic work-horse, just about any beverage dispenser is ideal for making infused water. If you’re looking to encourage people in your home or office to drink more water, a large and inviting dispenser full of delicious-looking infused water could be just the ticket.
To find the ideal beverage dispenser for your needs, click here to view the huge selection on Amazon.
Although the reputation of infused water has been muddied somewhat by inaccurate claims about its health benefits and some of the pseudo-science surrounding it, it offers a healthy dietary supplement with some delicious flavors. It can make drinking water more enjoyable, while also providing a very minute dose of nutrients.
Despite many claims from alternative medical sources, doctors and nutritionists agree that there are few health benefits from drinking infused water that are not simply the result of proper hydration. We’d like to emphasize that although fruit infused water maybe able to claim some of the health benefits derived from eating fruits or vegetables, it will always be less effective than simply eating those vegetables, and should never be considered a replacement for a proper serving of fruits and vegetables in the diet!
But if you want a way to have a little more fruit in your life, or to encourage yourself to drink more water, infused water can be an awesome addition to your everyday life. Have fun experimenting with the many different combinations of flavors you can create with just a few fruits, herbs, vegetables, and a bit of soak time!
Thanks for reading!
- Readers Rating
- No Rating Yet!
- Your Rating
We take an in-depth look at the health benefits and myths of infused water, and also look at some devices designed with making infused water in mind.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.