With obesity levels rising in many countries, it’s vital the world weans itself off of unhealthy foods and drinks. One solution to the ‘growing’ problem could be the air up bottle. At first glance, it looks like a relatively standard drinking bottle, but it has a very special, unique feature that separates it from all others.
Unhealthy drinks and younger people seem to go hand in hand. However, to be fair, many adults are not immune to imbibing a sweet tasting non-alcoholic drink. If governments and medical bodies had their way, everyone would be drinking plain water or natural juice. However, there are two obvious drawbacks: firstly, water is tasteless, and fresh juice is prohibitively expensive for many. The easiest way of solving the problem is by getting some imaginative minds together and getting them to invent a solution to the problem.
The brain is extraordinary, and it’s far simpler than you think to, let’s say, ‘trick it’. Many of you will probably have seen optical illusions in the form of images either in print or online that are the complete opposite of what you thought they were. Fortunately, you can do something similar to human taste. It’s no secret sweet drinks can be very addictive, and convincing people of any age to reduce their consumption will be far from an easy task.
So what’s the solution? There’s innovation, and a company has embraced the challenge as mentioned earlier by creating a product called air up. You’ve probably guessed by now that the clue is in the name, and yes, it’s air, well air and smell. As I have mentioned, the human brain can easily be tricked and by using plain water and the human sense of smell, it is possible to alter how something tastes.
Although there is no dispute that a smell can significantly influence taste, the exact size of the impact smell has is still a topic of hot debate. One thing that’s not debatable is the continuing rise in obesity levels, and recently the UK received a stark warning. Data from Cancer Research projected that 7 out of 10 people in the UK would be obese by 2040, and almost 36% of this number would be adults.
The Cancer research data alone should be enough to change opinions, however, there is also another worrying factor to add to the pile. In addition to an obesity crisis facing the world, there is also the huge rise in poor mental health, and one of the causes of this is soft unhealthy drinks that have been linked to depression, stress, suicidal thoughts and psychological distress.
This is where Lena Jüngst and her co-founders (above) come into play. They created a product called air up, a clear plastic bottle with a silicone straw, and on the straw, you place a circular capsule or a pod, as they refer to it. The pod is jam-packed full of different scents that range from Orange to Kola (Cola) to Iced Coffee and encompasses pretty much every fruit you can imagine. Wouldn’t life be better if you could make a person think they were drinking an addictive unhealthy beverage whilst they were actually drinking plain tap water?
Testing the air up bottle and does it work?
I always make sure that everything is done as fairly as possible with my tests, and it was no different with the air up bottle kit. The first scent/flavour I opted to try was orange; after all, about everyone will be familiar with its taste. My wife and I popped the pod over the silicon straw, which can be raised or lowered to alter the strength of the scent.
As I brought the straw to my mouth, I discovered the scent wasn’t the typical overpowering orange cordial scent; it smelt exactly like freshly squeezed juice. My bottle was filled with tap water, and as I brought the straw to my mouth, all I could smell was orange.
Now, this is where it gets fascinating. When drinking the water, I didn’t get the explosive taste I was expecting which in my mind would be something akin to orange cordial with water. Instead, what I was tasting could best be described as a glass of water that someone has squeezed juice from a small, freshly peeled orange into it.
The flavour wasn’t overly strong, far from it, which I must admit did disappoint me a little as I do like sweet flavour-packed drinks! I had a somewhat similar result with the cherry flavoured pod; however, I will admit that the second time around, (thanks to neuroplasticity) the flavour was significantly more noticeable, which is a good indication that my brain was adapting, allowing a smoother taste transition.
For the final test, I needed to change up a gear and opted for the Kola (cola) pod. For this experiment, I wanted to ensure that I got the best possible result and changed the tap water to sparkling bottled water. Once again, the scent from the pod was accurate and strong.
To my amazement, the combination of the air up pod with sparkling water produced impressive results. Again it wasn’t the same as what you get straight out of a can. It was more like a traditional tasting cola that had been watered down by about 40% in its taste.
The end result was still enjoyable and in my opinion, it would go a long way towards weaning youngsters off of the less-healthier canned cola varieties. When you drink a lot of sparkling water, it usually results in one thing: a burp. To my amazement, when one did decide to spring forth, I could still taste the cola!
Final thoughts on air up
The air up system is more effective than I expected. If you want to buy the bottle kit thinking it will replicate the taste of a canned drink or cordial, it doesn’t, and I don’t believe it was created to do that. Instead, what it is, is a product that produces a viable alternative to less-than-healthy off the shelf drinks.
Given that many parts of the world are amidst a cost of living crisis, it would be remiss of me not to look at the cost aspect. Although the air up bottle is reusable and is not prohibitively expensive, the air up’s scent/flavour pods do need to be replaced and they are by no means cheap. In the UK, a 3-pack costs £5.95. However, each pack will make 15 litres of drink or 32 bottle refills, and the important thing is you’re not pumping your or another person’s body full of sugar, chemicals and flavourings.
Earlier in this review, I used the word neuroplasticity. For those unfamiliar with this word, it is used to describe the brain’s ability to evolve and learn and is much stronger in children, (less so in adults). Therefore getting younger children to enjoy plain water with the air up bottle and its pods while they’re young should be easier and will help keep the dreaded ‘O’ word away from the door. For those of more advanced age, well, you should already know better! That’s my opinion, and as ever, the choice is yours.
For more information on the air up bottle, the pods and the company, or to make a purchase, visit https://air-up.com/.
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