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Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

Propel Fitness Water

I normally consume copious amounts of fluids whether I am training or not. Most of the time I drink water which can get quite boring for someone who craves flavor in all that I consume. So, as a fan of Gatorade, but someone who is trying to shed a few pounds, I liked the idea of Propel Fitness Water made, coincidentally, by the folks at Gatorade. Since I easily down a gallon-sized Gatorade in a couple of hours, especially after a long hard workout, I figured I could benefit from getting 10 calories vs. the traditional 50 found in Gatorade. This would save me 640 calories which is nothing to sneeze at! This would be great as long as it tastes good, I thought.

Of the 7 flavors (Melon, Peach, Grape, Lemon, Berry, Black Cherry, and Kiwi Strawberry) the Grape and the Kiwi Strawberry are the most appealing. They are quite good, in fact! The melon and the lemon on the shelf and the Black Cherry was merely passable. That I like any at all was a surprise since I have never been a fan of lightly sweetened products. I want something to boldly have a flavor or not. No in-between. Propel's taste, though, is light and refreshing and makes you feel like you are making a healthy choice for your body. There is something about the pleasing sleek blue bottle that adds to the feeling that it is a healthy and athletic product. In fact, Propel is often more refreshing than Gatorade, especially during and right after workouts when I abhor strong sweetness.

The benefits, other than the taste, of drinking the stuff are not so clear. The light flavoring and sodium often draws me into drinking more than I need making me feel bulky and lethargic mid-workout. The added vitamins (B, C, and E) could easily be gotten from regular foods or a multi-vitamin, if need be. Propel does not tout the electrolytes found in a typical sports drink that can, arguably, aid performance and recovery. To be fair, the manufacturer does not market the product as a replacement for sports drink but, rather, for bottled water. This, of course, reverses my argument of fewer calories but on a smaller scale. For those of you who detest artificial sweeteners Propel cuts calories by using the additive Sucralose. This is a definite turn-off for many people. The other negative... The cost! This stuff not only costs more than the bottled water it is supposed to replace, it often costs more than Gatorade itself.

Interestingly I found that drinking Propel instead of higher sugar alternatives did nothing to progress any weight loss. I suspect 2 causes for this. First, the sodium probably caused some excess water retention. Second, I typically only drank sports drink in conjunction with a particularly hard workout, while I found myself drinking this stuff all the time. This probably caused an INCREASE in total calorie consumption because it was replacing water.

Despite the negatives, however, I still find myself craving Propel once in awhile though I have pretty much cut it out of my thirst-quenching repertoire.

The Manufacturer Says:
Propel is a lightly-sweetened and non-carbonated water beverage with added vitamins. It helps you to hydrate more because the light flavor makes it more appealing.

I say:
Pleasing Taste, low calorie, expensive, too many "other" negatives.
2 out of 5 stars.

My dislike of these products is well documented, so I will only state that this is not a product I consider healthy by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it of the "decadent" variety of which an occasional caloric splurge is warranted. Propel, in my opinion, falls into the "useless" potables/edibles (although it's potability is highly suspect) category that are better off left on the stores' shelves. Perhaps I'm unqualified to write this review considering I've never even tried Propel, but the mere mention of sucralose is reason enough to steer clear. The bottle should come with a skull and cross bones label.
No, No, No... you CAN'T review a food if you've never even TRIED IT! Yes, it has artificial sweetners in it, but from the dieter point of view -- those sweetners are somewhat of a necessary evil. I do like Propel... however, most of the flavors taste like melted jello, but I like the lemon a lot. They also recently put Propel Calcium on the market -- which, logically is fortified with calcium. An AWESOME combination for any Weight Watchers out there that are struggling to reach their 6 glasses of water and 3 servings of calcium per day. And besides all these wonderful qualities, it feels so good to drink a nice cold bottle after a long hot run. Mmm... think I'll go put some in the fridge right now!
Get educated first.

“In determining the safety of sucralose, the FDA reviewed data from more than 110 studies in humans and animals. Many of the studies were designed to identify possible toxic effects, including carcinogenic, reproductive, and neurological effects. No such effects were found, and FDA's approval is based on the finding that sucralose is safe for human consumption.”[13] For example, McNeil Nutritional LLC studies submitted as part of its U.S. FDA Food Additive Petition 7A3987 indicated that "in the 2-year rodent bioassays...there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity for either sucralose or its hydrolysis products..."

Another study published in the Journal of Mutation Research linked doses of sucralose equivalent to 11,450 Splenda packets per day in a person to DNA damage in mice.

So maybe if you drink 90 gallons a day it might hurt you, other than that, enjoy a good thing and think of all the crap you are not drinking that is in sodas, etc.
Oh, I'm educated and aware of such studies. Let's just say I'm a little paranoid and skeptical of such "information." A bit of a conspiratorial nature never hurt anyone. :)
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