I have a lot of questions about serving sizes. I’ve always had them, but I started thinking about them again when I bought the Monster Hydro Water Energy Drink (Blue Ice flavor). The flavor is GOOD, tastes like a blue raspberry, not super sweet. It isn’t carbonated, which has its pros and cons. On the positive side, it’s nice to just drink something smooth without harsh energy drink carbonation. On the negative side, it’s not carbonated, so there’s not much to keep me, you, or anyone from drinking the bottle quickly.
The issue with this? An overload of caffeine AND the fact that the bottle indicates there are THREE servings!! I guess it could be an indication that it’s more than one serving because of the screw-on cap rather than an open can, but I think it’s a little sneaky and misleading. It’s kinda like how Pop Tarts actually list one pop tart as a serving even though they’re packaged by two in that crinkly foil wrapper. It’s confusing, because the marketing behind this drink doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sure, it’s already weird to have caffeine added to a still beverage full of chemicals, but it’s even weirder to market a caffeinated drink as HYDRATING. Is this allowed??? Something about it sends a shiver up my spine. It feels underhanded. I know the food industry is laden with issues, but I really suspect that this new crop of varying types of WATER is going to turn out very badly. Spiked seltzer? Caffeinated water? This can’t lead to a good place.
I had my first caffeinated water in 2013. I don’t remember what brand it was, but there were bottle girls going around the place I worked, handing out free bottles. Everyone else I worked with was really excited and mesmerized by it. I was scared. They opened the bottles and sipped, amazed and shouting, “IT JUST TASTES LIKE WATER!! THIS IS GREAT!!” Is it? Is it great? I took a sip from the bottle back then, and aside from a very faint aftertaste, it DID taste just like regular water. I immediately poured it down the sink. I didn’t need that kind of chaos in my life. I couldn’t really figure out why I was so freaked out, but revisiting caffeinated water as an Older and Wiser woman helped me work out my feelings on it.
I stood in the kitchen drinking Monster Hydro and was really pleased by the flavor. I don’t really care for most Monster drinks, because the sugar pumps through my body and I feel taken over by some kind of devil. The devil runs through my head pulling levers and pushing buttons that make me jolt around the house half-starting 20 different tasks and not finishing a single one until I’m slumped on the couch staring into space while I crash from the high.
I always felt that the good thing about caffeinated drinks is that they usually taste pretty disgusting, or are heavily carbonated, or have an intense chemical taste that prevents the consumer from drinking it too quickly. Even the best energy drink flavors have that metallic undertaste that reminds us that NO, we are NOT drinking something “good,” it’s a necessary evil, and should be treated as such. I’m not a doctor or healthcare professional, so obviously take what I’m saying with a grain of salt, but I don’t know. I think it’s potentially very dangerous to have caffeine in something that tastes just like a normal drink. Not only do I think it’s dangerous, but I think it’s irresponsible. This is one of those Jurassic Park moments where I’m like... no one is stopping to think about whether or not they SHOULD do this. They’re just... doing it.
I think it’s great that we can google things on our phone to research products at any moment, but I don’t know if enough people are doing that. We, unfortunately, cannot rely on companies or brands to explain what is or isn’t safe, or even how specific products work. We should read serving sizes and nutritional labels, not out of dietary fear, but just to be informed of what’s in what we’re consuming. At just over 25 oz, the size of Monster Hydro isn’t excessively huge, and I’ve consumed way more plain water in a sitting before. If I hadn’t turned over the bottle to see what was considered a serving, I would’ve drank it faster than I did. I’m glad I didn’t. I’m not especially sensitive to caffeine anymore, but I would’ve gotten more of a kick than I was initially bargaining for, and I don’t think it would’ve gone well.
Overall, this drink tasted good, and gave me a normal amount of caffeine when I drank what I was supposed to. But was it HYDRATING? No. Not at all. Again, I’m no doctor, but I don’t understand how it would even be possible to make something both caffeinated AND hydrating. I just don’t see it. Doesn’t caffeine like... restrict blood flow? Isn’t that how it works? I don’t understand how both of these claims could be promised on the same label.
I also don’t like the use of the words “hydrating” and “hydro.” There are always buzz words used to sell products. We know that. Hydrating has been one used for the last few years (at LEAST). Nearly everyone has bought a water bottle so big it could double as a weapon (I have several). But when it comes to “hydrating,” the word is often conflated with an idea of Good Health, when it takes much more than hydration to actually be healthy. A hydrating energy drink? I don’t believe it. There’s not even coconut water in it! Just regular water. I never read other reviews of drinks until I try them and come to a conclusion myself, but a number of websites tout that Hydro Water is the “perfect alternative to energy drinks”. I couldn’t disagree more. If anything, Hydro Water seems irresponsible when not marketed correctly, couldn’t possibly hydrate better than actual water, and attempts to blur the line between water and other drinks. I don’t like the deception!
I’m rating Hydro Water a 5 out of 10, giving points only for flavor. I don’t like the idea behind caffeinated water, I don’t like the insinuation that the drink claims to be “hydrating,” and most of all, I don’t like colored still water. It’s grotesque. If you’re curious about this beverage and need to try for yourself, there are various online and in-store retailers that carry Monster Hydro Water, but walmart.com carries not only Blue Ice, but other flavors too.