What's in Fruit-Infused Water?
Bottles that let you infuse water with fruit are all the rage. But what are you actually drinking? Nutrition Diva gets to the bottom of the glass.
Q. "With these new fruit-infused water bottles, does anything (besides sugar) actually get into the water from the fruit? "
A. When you soak fruit in water, some water-soluble nutrients, such as vitamin C, will probably leech into the water, in addition to a little bit of natural fruit sugar. The flavor probably comes more from oil-soluble compounds in the fruit. When you squeeze a lemon peel, for example, you'll see (and smell) a fine mist of fragrant lemon oil. These aromatic compounds may also have some nutritional benefit. But the amounts we're talking about are pretty small.
Chopping the fruit into smaller pieces would enhance the transfer of compounds into the water, as would longer soaking times. On the other hand, some of these compounds will break down quickly once exposed to light and/or air. I think you'd get a lot more nutritional benefit by eating the fruit than by drinking water that the fruit soaks in.
Lastly, keep those bottles refrigerated. Warm, wet fruit sounds like the perfect breeding ground for molds and bacteria.