Banana Water: The Next Flavored Water Fad?

So you like the idea of a fruit-flavored water with a hearty dose of potassium, but you don’t like how coconut water tastes like it was filtered through a used gym sock with a small sugar packet inside?

Banana water may be the answer for you!

Banana Water

Banana Water, the (hopefully) better tasting twist on potassium-rich water

Steuben Foods (through their Elmhurst Naturals product line) is the first to market with this new monkey-tested monkey-approved hydration solution. The marketing states that “people are getting bored with water to some degree”, which market trends indicate may be true, given all the flavored and enhanced water varieties that are popping up.

We’re all for innovative new forms of hydration, especially if they can provide some sort of convenience benefit to maximize your gym time – and taste good to boot. While peeling bananas really isn’t the arduous task that Steuben’s marketing is claiming it is, cleaning up the blender after that PB and banana smoothie actually is probably something we could do without.

So, is this the Next Big Thing™?

Below, we get into the details and nutrition facts, but first, you can compare prices on all banana water products!

Banana Water - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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The Might Of The Banana

So why bananas for an infused water product?

BananaWater

Elmhurst Naturals is the first to bring this interesting new concoction to market!

Well, as with coconuts, potassium is one of their major nutritional features. Steuben Foods claims that the drink contains the equivalent potassium content of two medium-sized bananas (seven to eight inches long), or about 850mg total. An RDA has not been established for potassium and recommendations on optimal amounts seem to vary widely, but a common recommendation is at least 3,500mg to 4,500mg per day for most adults and over 5,000mg for women who are breast-feeding and athletes in training.[1]

A 2012 survey found that Americans overwhelmingly tend to be deficient in potassium, so there’s definitely an opening in the market for more water products that emphasize it.[3] Potassium supports a lot of different physiological functions, and deficiency may also be related to some causes of hypertension.[4]

Minus The Fiber..

Since this is a juice extract, you presumably won’t get the other big banana nutritional benefit out of it — a healthy dose of dietary fiber. You do get the dietary weakness of the banana, though — a fair dose of sugar at 13 to 14g per bottle depending on the flavor. Not nearly as bad as a can of soda, though, and only good for 15g of carbs and 70 calories total to the bottle.

Unflavored coconut water has it beat with an average of only about one gram of sugar and five calories, but of course it also tastes awful. Not much help if you can’t get it down!

Aside from potassium content, however, there’s little else to talk about here except for one-fifth of your daily FDA recommended doses of Vitamin C and magnesium. Along with those you’re looking at about a quarter of your daily potassium needs per bottle, maybe a fifth if you’re training. This is roughly on par with coconut water, where a similar 12oz. bottle has about the same potassium content.

Banana Water Nutrition Facts

So is it really a super-hydrator?

Banana Water Nutrition

The Banana Water Nutrition Facts

While this banana concentrate infusion is totally new and unproven, we can look at coconut water to see if a potassium-infused fruit water really does more for you than just giving you a big dose of potassium.

Banana Water vs. Coconut Water

Banana

The Simple Source of the Next Big Thing(TM)? Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

While coconut water is certainly hydrating, and there’s nothing wrong with potassium, it’s not better for hydration than just plain old water for athletes who are training and sweating. In fact, at least one study found it didn’t have any real advantage over a standard sports drink, and the group that took coconut water experienced more digestive discomfort than the other groups![2]

Of course, this is something of an apples to oranges … er, well, it actually is a coconuts to bananas comparison, so you can’t conclusively say that banana water will perform the same way. But the idea that a high dose of potassium in water somehow improves hydration seems to be pretty much debunked at this point. That isn’t to say there aren’t still the other potassium benefits mentioned above.

There’s a good reason why heaps of coconut water brands are sitting on the shelves of your local Big Lots for pennies on the dollar right now. That’s almost entirely due to the flavor, which banana water seems to have solved. And it’s coming in two additional interesting flavor varieties — mango and passion fruit, which manage to perk things up while adding very little in the way of caloric or sugar load.

Banana Water Products

Of the products available, we only know of Steuben Foods / Elmhurst Naturals. You can compare prices below:

Elmhurst Naturals Banana Water - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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References

  1. World Health Organization; “Potassium Intake for Adults and Children“; Retrieved July 2015
  2. Kalman, DS, et. al; “Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men“; Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; January 2012
  3. Cogswell, ME, et. al; “Sodium and potassium intakes among US adults: NHANES 2003-2008”; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; September 2012
  4. Houston, MC; “The importance of potassium in managing hypertension”; Current Hypertension Reports; August 2011
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