Jewish World Review August 26, 2002 / 18 Elul, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Apparently concerned that only 60 percent of Americans are big tubs of goo, the sports drink industry has figured out a way to make water fattening.
That's right: You no longer have to drink sodas or milkshakes or juice to pack on a few more much-needed pounds. Now, a bottle of refreshing water will work just as well.
The industry calls the new products "fortified water" (apparently the name "blubber water" was already taken) and claims they are more healthful than ordinary bottled waters because they contain vitamins, minerals and "herbal supplements." The industry doesn't like to call attention to the fact that these fortified waters are also loaded with sugar (up to 125 calories per bottle compared with 140 calories for a can of Coke), preferring to focus instead on the new, improved, fruity taste.
This, in my mind, is just what America needs. Many people have been reluctant to exercise because they cannot bear the thought of going 20 whole minutes without something in their mouths. Plain, ordinary bottled water is OK if you've been wandering around lost in the Gobi desert for a week or two (maybe), but it's not the sort of thing that's going to inspire many of us to get off the couch and exercise. Americans are goal-driven, which is why we expect some sort of reward at the end of our two-mile walk, like maybe a bologna sandwich, a doughnut or a hot-fudge sundae. Now, thanks to fortified water, we no longer have to postpone our gratification. We can actually put on weight while we exercise!
Better yet, we can drink our fortified water while watching commercials of other people exercising! This not only avoids the unpleasant muscle cramps, panting and perspiration associated with real exercise, but allows us to feel like we are making healthy lifestyle choices by swilling the same sports drink that Michael Jordan does.
Fortified water also adds a much-needed third level of snobbishness to the water wars.
At the bottom are the lowly, unsophisticated, suicidally inclined "people" who drink water straight from the tap. These are the same dregs of society who turn off their cell phones in a restaurant, haven't a clue what DVD stands for and think "herbal supplement" refers to something you put on the lawn.
In the middle are people who continue to buy and drink old-fashioned bottled water that contains no fortifications. These are the people who drive SUVs but feel vaguely guilty about the poor gas mileage, get a little tingle of excitement when their boss tells them to "think outside the box" and think "herbal supplement" is something they used to partake of in college.
At the top of the water chain are the consumers of fortified water. These are people who not only know what an MP3 player is, but can discuss the pros and cons of competing brands; have a bumper sticker on their SUV that reads, "He who burns the most gas, wins!"; and think it's a crime that he has to breathe air that is not infused with herbal supplements.
All of which is fine for some people, but I have no intention of plunking down my money
for fortified water until they come out with one that tastes like a bologna sandwich.
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