Your Bottled Water could have propylene glycol, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives in it to make it taste & look better

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When I first mentioned the “water enhancer” Stur in August (included on my Recommended Products Page), I noted I wouldn’t even try the popular brand a friend was using since it had “propylene glycol, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.” Propylene glycol, not to be confused with the antifreeze ethylene glycol, is a synthetic chemical used as a humectant (moistening agent), solvent, and preservative in food and tobacco products — and one of the major ingredients of the “e-liquid” cartridges used in electronic cigarettes. Recently, Kit and I were at a class taught by an organic chemist — a Drug Enforcement Agency agent who has years of field experience. She now travels around giving classes to medics and cops about the latest trends we will encounter in the realm of street drugs. Kit couldn’t help it: she asked why the heck propylene glycol was in “water enhancer” (made to make water taste good so you’ll drink more, which is a Good Thing, right?)

The answer was fascinating: the chemist confirmed it’s used in a lot of foods, and was aghast about that; she doesn’t think it’s safe enough for consumption. The “official” reason it’s used in consumable products is that it’s mildly sweet — but surely there are much better sweeteners out there. The real reason, she said, is it’s a diuretic — it makes you thirsty! It’s also hygroscopic, pulling water out of your mucous membranes (think: the inside of your mouth), and thus dries out your mouth. Therefore, the more you drink, the more you want to drink, so you use more of the product, yet don’t really get most of the benefits of drinking more water. Insidious, isn’t it? I’m gleeful I rejected the “popular” brand in favor of the “natural” one. I just thought it was awfully interesting to hear her take on it.


Henry Sapiecha

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