The amount of water the human body needs to run efficiently is daunting. Some experts suggest a gallon -- or more -- per day. And no, coffee and wine don't count.
High-fives to those slosh it all in as pure H2O. For those of us who prefer to mix things up, there are shelves crammed with fruity, vitamin-laced waters of all sorts. Not "energy drinks," that deliver a jolt of caffeine, guarana, ginseng or taurine, these hydrating sips are flavored water with a vitamin boost.
Some are light and refreshing. Others are strange, bitter or wickedly sweet, usually due to cloying, artificial sweeteners, which are so out of place in a drink marketed as a healthy choice.
We gathered a group of berry-flavored waters to sip and scrutinize. Here's the scoop on the good, the bad and the undrinkable. Nutrition details are for 16-ounces and refer to the FDA's recommended daily allowance of specific vitamins.
Sunny Select Vitaminized Acai Blueberry Pomegranate
Fresh, bright and barely sweet, this juice-sweetened water is flavored with extracts of berries and fruit. A serving has 200 percent of the RDA of vitamin C, 20 percent each of B6, B12, niacin and pantothenic acid. A 20-ounce bottle is about $1.29 at the grocery store. (4 stars)
Sprouts Dragonfruit Nutrient-Enhanced Water Beverage
This southwest grocery store brand's beverage is slightly sweeter, with a distinct floral nose, this fruity splash is barely sweetened with sugar and fructose. A serving has 200 percent vitamin C, and 40 percent each of vitamins B6, B12 and pantothenic acid. A 20-ounce bottle is 99 cents at Sprouts. (4 stars)
Activate Beauty ExoticBerry
If you can figure out how to twist the contents of the cap into the water, this water delivers a kick of tart flavor. It's sweetened with Stevia, which leaves a lingering sweet aftertaste. A serving has 100 percent vitamin C, 30 percent each of vitamins A, B5, B12, and E. A 16.9-ounce bottle is about $1.67 at the grocery store. (3 stars)
Fuze Pomegranate Acai Berry Slenderize
Despite a hint of sucralose that mars the finish, this sweet, vitamin-packed water boasts authentic fruit flavor. It's sweetened with apple juice. A serving has 200 percent vitamin C, 40 percent of vitamins A, E and pantothenic acid, and 30 percent chromium. A 16.9-ounce bottle is about $1.50 at the grocery store. (3 stars)
Sparkling Ice Pink Grapefruit
The juicy flavor of grapefruit shines through, but the sucralose sweetener leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. It has a trace amount of green tea extract. A serving has 20 percent each of vitamins D, B3, B8, B12, biotin and B5. A 17-ounce bottle is $1 at Walmart. (2 1/2 stars)
Glaceau Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Water
This fizzy water would be a great stand-in for diet soda, but it's much too sweet to be considered a hydrating drink. Like Ice, the flavor is compromised by sucralose. The water has a trace amount of green tea extract. A serving has 20 percent vitamin B6, magnesium, pantothenic acid and zinc. A 16.9-ounce bottle is $1.27 at CVS. (2 1/2 stars)
Vitamin Water Acai-Blueberry-Pomegranate Zero
Although this water delivers a lot more vitamins than its competitors, the flavor is vaguely reminiscent of medicine. A serving has 100 percent each of vitamins A, B12, C, niacin and pantothenic acid, 25 percent vitamin A and manganese. A 20-ounce bottle is $1 at Walmart. (2 stars)
Elevated Flavor MountainBerry Blast Powerade
There isn't a hint of fruit flavor in this bright-blue blast of slightly salty water, but it gets points for delivering electrolytes. A serving has 22 percent vitamins B6, B12 and niacin. A 32-ounce bottle is 88 cents at CVS. (1 1/2 stars).
SoBe Yumberry Pomegranate Lifewater
This strange, perfumed water has a pleasing level of sweetness, but an unappetizing artificial flavor. A serving has 200 percent vitamin C, 20 percent each vitamins C, E, B6, B12 and pantothenic acid. A 20-ounce bottle is $1 at Walmart. (1 star)
Propel Zero Berry
No berry flavor, no natural flavorings and no personality add up to no good reason to drink this. It gets a half star because it delivers on the vitamin front. A serving has 40 percent vitamin C, 20 percent vitamin E, 55 percent each niacin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. A 24-ounce bottle is about $1.19 at the grocery store. (1/2 a star)
Spartos All Natural Blackberry and Yuzu Protein Water
Made with whey protein, this bizarre, dirty-flavored drink is unpleasant and ridiculously expensive -- and it doesn't even deliver a powerful dose of nutrients. A serving has 30 percent folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, and 10 percent of vitamins A, C, D and E. A 16-ounce bottle is about $2.39 at the grocery store. (No stars)
Reviews are based on product samples purchased by the Contra Costa Times or provided by manufacturers.