TARLAKENYO (Apr. 19, 2023) — Piña colada water, unicorn water, and peach ring water may not appear to be the most nutritious options. Nonetheless, TikTok has been inundated with videos showcasing recipes for these and other sweet-flavored waters in recent months. Some content creators have asserted that consuming flavored water helps them stay away from soda and meet their daily water intake requirements.
However, many social media users are doubtful about this claim. The comment section of “WaterTok,” which is an informal TikTok community of people who create these flavored water recipes, has been flooded with queries and apprehensions about whether consuming flavored water can truly be considered healthy.
In these videos, creators on WaterTok mix zero-calorie and zero-sugar syrups and flavor packets to concoct a sweet but “healthy” drink. Nevertheless, the actual health benefits of such beverages may be somewhat difficult to quantify.
According to Dariush Mozaffarian, DrPh, MD, MPH, a cardiologist and Jean Mayer professor at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, “these drinks may contain potentially harmful ingredients.
If an individual regularly drinks sugary beverages like soda, pre-sweetened coffee or tea, energy drinks, or fruit juice, switching to unsweetened, zero-calorie flavored waters can have significant health advantages.”
Determining the health benefits of flavored water is not a simple task – even experts do not agree on whether the advantages outweigh the potential risks.
On one hand, TikTok’s flavored waters contain no calories or sugar, which implies that their sweetness comes from an artificial sweetener. This provides individuals with the opportunity to enjoy a sweet beverage without consuming extra sugar. For instance, Jordan’s Skinny Syrups, which are trendy among TikTok users, are flavored with sucralose, commonly known as Splenda. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and has been approved by the FDA since 1998.
“There is no proof indicating that [zero-sugar sweeteners] will affect long-term health,” stated Courtney Ford, MS, RD, LD, senior registered dietitian at Baylor College of Medicine, to Health. “Previous studies that have claimed that they cause cancer are not conducted on humans, and they are not relevant to how we consume them. So, I believe they are entirely safe.”