Basically, your body can extract and use the water from anything that has water in it (including solid foods) to meet your water needs. So, the question is not really whether something other than plain water "counts" as water, but rather, whether the other stuff that comes with it makes it a good choice for your needs and goals.
Some beverages, such as those with high caffeine or alcohol content (both diuretics), may also increase the amount of water your body eliminates without using, so that needs to be taken into account. Some beverages provide "empty" calories (added sugar) that need to be counted, and some provided needed nutrients. Others such as Crystal Lite and Kool-Aid use artificial sweeteners to provide flavor without calories, which appears to be safe in moderation, but could potentially cause problems if used excessively.
Here's an article from our SP Dietitian, Becky, with more info:
I wouldn't count "sugar-free" beverages as water. Artificial sweeteners have been found to have many bad effects in some people, and I don't think the chemicals are good for anyone. But I'm prejudiced against anything that is not "real" food and try not to consume it.
Crystal Light and sugar free Kool-aid are essentially the same thing. Read the threads about Crystal Light; the information there will apply exactly the same way to your Kool-Aid.
Fitness Minutes: (2,821)
239 1/19/12 8:06 P
I'm not an expert, but logically speaking... Your body doesn't know the difference between "pure" water, and flavored water. It gets into your system either way. But be careful. The additives will also get into your system. And those can have many different effects on you body. So I personally just drink the plain water. No worries about additives.
Fitness Minutes: (356,807)
17,063 1/19/12 8:00 P
It works the same way as Crystal Light. It *does* have water in it, so there's nothing wrong with counting it. However, SP doesn't recommend that you get more than 32oz of beverages with artificial sweeteners each day, so if you're going by those guidelines, you still shouldn't drink more than 4 cups of it and get the rest of your hydration from other sources, ideally water.
1/19/12 6:04 P
I see the many posts about crystal light, etc. I drink sugar free koolaid, the kind you buy at walmart. I have heard that this is not the same as water because of the sweetener in it. Are there any experts out there that can let me know if this is the truth or false. Thanks,