Diet Water For Children

September 23, 2014   22 Comments

I received an e-mail last week asking if I had seen “diet water” marketed to children.

Aquaball Review

I found myself laughing at the prospect. No wayyy! That does not exist! Who would buy it?

Then I took my very frustrating children to the grocery store, where they proceed to drive me crazy with the “Can we get this?” dance throughout the store.

My daughter grabbed this ball out of a bin and asked if we could get it. I reflexively screamed, “NO!” and then I took a look.

Here is the back label:

“Fruit Punch Naturally Flavored Water – Zero Calories”

Oh dear.

And the nutrition facts:

The sweetener here is Stevia – that is why they can say that there are no artificial flavors (because sucralose and aspartame are considered artificial sweeteners and Stevia is derived from a plant). This is clearly a child's gateway water to the more nefarious "Diet Coke" addiction they will have later in life.

The ingredient that stopped me was third on the list “Sodium Hexametaphosphate”.

From Be Food Smart:

Also used in pet food, teeth whitening products, bath salts, bubble bath, and in factory boiler water (water used to steam foods).

If parents are so desperate to get their children off of full calorie fruit punch that they buy the Aquaball – we have a serious problem.

Here are my suggestions for parents whose kids demand juice and soda all day (sometimes that would be my kids):

  • Tell them sugary drinks are a treat and they can have a little at dinner (when their parents may be having their fruity drink of choice).
  • Cut the juice in half with water (they want it a lot less when you do this).
  • Explain how their teeth will rot if they drink juice and soda – and make a whirring sound with a drill (do not chase your children with a power tool).

Whatever you do it will be better for your kids than a chemical experiment ball of water.

How do you deal with the juice and soda dilemma?


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First 20 Comments: ( See all 22 )

I totally agree that water should be the beverage of choice for all of us. And marketing to small children like this is troublesome. I hope you were kidding about threatening children with the sound of a drill and a scare about dental caries. We want to do everything we can to prevent dental phobias! First dental visits when a child is 2 1/2-3 when they generally do NOT have cavities and can have a pleasant repair free first visit are a first step.

Pretty sure she was kidding about the dental drill ;)

I don't buy flavored water. My kids get about 4 oz OJ in the mornings and then it's water from there...with a notable exception. The dang chocolate milk in the lunch line at school. My son brings his lunch but he buys a milk every day. I think I have convinced him to buy white milk every day and save the chocolate milk for Fridays. I wish they only had white milk as an option!

The best way to avoid this whole thing is to never introduce these terrible foods to children. It's important that parents stick to their guns when it comes to treating fruity juices as a treat! This diet water thing is appalling.

Eesh, when I think flavored water I think Polar seltzer - and nothing wrong with that (except possibly BPA in cans, but it comes in bottles too). Water, flavor. None of this chemicals and minerals and stevia and... meh.

My favorite is Schweppes back cherry shelter no sweeteners at all and pretty good cherry flavor. They make other flavors as well


My 5 year old gets mostly water or plain milk (1%). She gets juice once a week at dinner when we are at my parent's house. It's a treat (that I water down). She doesn't always finish it either. I am not a big soda drinker, so I don't think my daughter will be either. I can't believe there is even a thing as diet water for kids. If you want flavored water, just start with a regular glass of water and add a splash of juice for flavor - no chemicals. You could even freeze juice into an ice cube tray and use 1 or 2 per glass.

@Sandee - my daughter's first experience at a dentist happened when she was 1 1/2. She chipped her front teeth and had to have them filed down so they wouldn't be sharp. So much for the pleasant first trip to the dentist - oh well. :D I think she's forgotten it by now.


Are you SURE I can't chase them with a drill?

We give our grandson plain water for the majority of the day. He may get a small glass of half water/half juice and once or twice a week, a small glass of almond milk with some chocolate syrup. I think if we avoid soda (we don't drink it and it's not in the house) and drink water ourselves, he won't ask for it.

The drill comment made me laugh! Honestly, it's the Disney characters and the ball itself that make my kids want this. They have had them as treats two times, and never have finished one yet because they "taste funny". But I guarantee that when Elsa or Spiderman are on the next ball they see, they'll want to try again. (No this time, by the way). Such a marketing gimmick, and it makes me sad because it works and because I end up giving in too much.

I expected to see the photo in black and white. Yikes!

The bottles are kinda cool. You could buy them each one that they pick out and then dump out what's in it. The bottle then becomes that child's own drink bottle for you to regularly put whatever you want in it....water, juice, etc. That way they have the treat of a really cool bottle that's all theirs, with none of the yuk in it.

Hahahahaha you are so accurate and you made me LOL several times.

I toast you with a clinking of my glass of fruity beverage of my choice!

Make your own fruit water .. cut up fruit and add to water .. I think it would be fun for kids to add their own favorites (limit three fruits to water).

My fav is strawberry, blueberry, mint.

Good for adults too! I find that I sip my water throughout the day when it's flavored.


@Andrea, I've never ever drank milk, didn't take a bottle, I mean never. So for 12 yrs of school milk was all that was offered to us so I went without drinking for the ENTIRE school day. There weren't enough water fountains for half of us and I never seemed to make it to the front of the line before break was over. So I say God bless chocolate milk and I'd rather a child have that than not get enough calcium to grow strong bones. Every joint in my body is failing and I have osteoporosis. Pick you battle but please don't let it stop your children from getting their calcium.

If it ever comes up in conversation, most people are surprised by the way my mother raised me to eat. At a very young age I was disallowed almost all sugar. No sugary cereals for breakfast, no candy, definitely no soda. My snacks were things like carrot sticks and applesauce, cheese and crackers in moderation. As I got older I was allowed more choices with food and a little more sugar in my diet soda on special occasions, desert in moderation, sugary cereal as a treat. When I was young this frustrated me, and my mother would always say the same thing "those things are not food, they are sugar/snacks. You must have real food before you can have those things, because they are treats and they won't help you grow big and strong." It didn't sink in until I was an adult and now at only 22 have met over a dozen people who flat out refuse to eat vegetables because the texture or because they are green. I appreciate the way my mother raised me, because she said no, a lot. And made me try things 7 times before I was allowed to say I officially didn't like them, that's a good one for picky eaters. Now I'm a parent and I say no, a lot. Just like my mom did for me. It's hard work but I know on the future they will be better for it and will appreciate it. Like I do.

It might help if you'd offer some facts about "sodium hexametaphosphate". Does it have deleterious effects on the human body? If so, what are they? All you're saying is that it's "used in pet food, teeth whitening products, bath salts, bubble bath, and in factory boiler water" -- but exactly the same could be said of this product's *primary* ingredient, the notorious dihydrogen monoxide.

OMG!!!!!!!!!! Marketing! Yet, they want our kids to not get pudgy and be health! HA!

Actually, the product was invented by a former preschool teacher in an effort to battle the epidemic of childhood obesity and type II diabetes. They only recently struck up a deal with Disney and Marvel.

And for the record Sodium Hexametaphosphate provides a necessary nutrient to human body, it is however detrimental if over consumed.

Full disclosure, I'm an Aquaball vender.


While Sodium Hexametaphosphate IS found in the products you mentioned in this post - your same source, Be Food Smart, also notes it is used in products we consume all the time, like fake maple syrup, canned milk, jam, salad dressing, breakfast cereal, ice cream, etc. Looks like this is really just a salt derivative used to thicken in some cases, but recognized as safe. Alarmist, much?

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