Q. I heard that “natural flavors” added to flavored seltzer water are not natural, because of a loophole in the regulations covering additives. Is that true?
A. Government regulations define natural flavors as those that derive their aroma or flavor chemicals from plant or animal sources, including fruit, meat, fish, spices, herbs, roots, leaves, buds or bark that are distilled, fermented or otherwise manipulated in a lab. This distinguishes them from artificial flavors, which use man-made chemicals to give a product its particular flavor or aroma.
The loophole, as it were, is that for nonorganic foods, the regulations do not restrict the dozens of other ingredients like preservatives and solvents that can go into a so-called natural flavor. Ultimately, because of the wide variety of ingredients that typically go into “natural” flavorings, “there does not seem to be much of a difference between natural and artificial flavors,” said David Andrews, a scientist at the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization.
While food processors must list all of the ingredients on a food label, flavor manufacturers do not have to disclose their ingredients. They can add synthetic solvents, preservatives, emulsifiers, carriers and other additives to a flavor that qualifies as natural under current regulations. Natural flavors allowed for use in certified organic foods are subject to a different, far more restrictive set of regulations. They cannot contain a long list of ingredients, including synthetic solvents, carriers and emulsifiers or artificial preservatives, said Gwendolyn Wyard, the Organic Trade Association’s vice president of regulatory and technical affairs. They must use non-petroleum-based solvents, cannot be irradiated and cannot use flavor extracts derived from genetically engineered crops.
I had my first LaCroix right after grad school, when I desperately needed the fizzy satisfaction of a soda but was avoiding soda in an effort to lose the stress-induced, cheeseburger-fueled weight I’d gained over the last few years. My roommate brought home a case of the grapefruit—ahem, Pamplemousse—flavor, which judging by the look of the pink-orange-teal-purple cans, seemed like something Richard Simmons would have chugged after Jazzercise class.
The internet was going crazy for this stuff and soon, so were we. It quickly took up more space in our fridge than actual food and filled our recycling bins to the top, even after we crushed them one by one. At some point, I started to wonder: What’s actually in this stuff? And why is it so incredibly addicting?
Part of the problem is that there’s actually no way to know for sure what gives this very subtly flavored drink its ambiguous “essence.” Look at a LaCroix can and you’ll see it has no artificial sweeteners, no calories, no sodium, no nothing. The only two ingredients are carbonated water and natural flavor, which means almost nothing. Carbonated water is water with CO2 in it. Sure, it creates a little carbonic acid in the drink, which some folks have said could harm your teeth, but so long as you’re healthy your saliva easily neutralizes those acids. It’s the second ingredient—natural flavor—that holds the key to LaCroix’s allure.
According to the FDA, natural flavor can be anything that adds flavor to a product so long as it comes directly from a plant or animal source. That’s a pretty wide range, but it’s further muddled by the fact that natural flavors can be made up of more than one ingredient—including artificial ingredients that help preserve the flavor or help it mix well with the other ingredients. “You see ‘natural flavor’ on a label and it’s really a black box of secrecy in terms of what’s being added to that product,” says David Andrews, a chemist from the Environmental Working Group.
Just like their artificial counterparts, natural flavors are complex chemical formulas invented by food companies and a small handful of flavor houses around the world. The FDA lets companies call these formulas natural even if they have synthetic solvents or preservatives because it classifies those filler ingredients as “incidental additives,” which usually come in trace amounts and get a pass from ingredient disclosure laws.
Before you start panic-counting the gallons of LaCroix you’ve consumed in the last two days alone, know that National Beverage, the obscure Florida-based company that owns LaCroix, claims that it doesn’t add anything artificial to its flavors. Instead, they use “natural essence oils … extracted from the named fruit used in each of our LaCroix flavors,” a company spokeswoman said in an email.
Which makes sense, because LaCroix doesn’t taste sweet. It doesn’t really taste like anything, actually—its appeal is in its bubbly, trustworthy blandness. The simplicity of its parts is what’s made LaCroix the darling of the internet, where health-conscious food bloggers and Instagrammers have formed an army of free advertising for National Beverage—even if some of that advertising gets a little weird at times.
Still, “there is no legal requirement to disclose what’s in the natural flavor,” says Andrews. So customers have no choice but to believe companies when they say they don’t use artificial additives in their flavors. The biggest comfort is that natural flavors are typically used in really low concentrations, says Andrews, so even if they do contain artificial ingredients, it’s unlikely that there’d be enough of anything to cause you any real harm. Also, just because a particular ingredient is classified as artificial doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something to inherently fear—it just means it was made in a lab. In fact, some naturally-derived flavors are considered artificial simply because they’re used in a way that you wouldn’t expect, like if someone used natural strawberry flavor to give a little extra oomph to a blueberry muffin.
More to the point, though, is that added flavors of any kind are meticulously designed in labs and guarded from competitors because they’re what keep customers coming back. It’s LaCroix’s endless and unique flavors that separate it from other brands like Perrier or Dasani. “The use of these flavors is to make foods more desirable,” says Andrews. “They want you to purchase more of these products at the end of the day.” Incidental additives or not, it’s the precision science of flavor that keeps you crushing down those ugly cans of gas-infused water.
- Is Flavored Water Ruining Your Diet? (3:16)
- From This Episode:
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Natural Flavors
- Why Your LaCroix Obsession Isn’t So Healthy
- A new lawsuit claims the ingredients in LaCroix sparking water aren’t natural — here’s why you shouldn’t worry
- LaCroix lists “essences” among its ingredients — and there is some mystery as to what those are
- The ingredients noted in Beaumont Costales’s statement about the suit — limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool — aren’t considered dangerous for humans
- The ingredients are considered ‘synthetic flavoring substances’ — but that doesn’t mean they are unhealthy
- Sick of water? 5 Pregnancy safe drink options
- Can You Consume Soda During Pregnancy?
- How Much Soda Can You Drink While Pregnant?
- Which Contents of Soda Can Harm Your Unborn Baby?
- Harmful Effects of Drinking Soda During Pregnancy
- Waterloo Sparking Water
- La Croix Sparkling Water
- Schweppes Sparkling Water Beverage
- Polar Beverages
- Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
- Adirondack Seltzer
- Bubly Sparkling Water
- Deer Park Sparkling Water
- Simply Balanced Sparkling Water
- Spindrift Sparkling Water
- We critique the best and worst brands of sparkling water
Is Flavored Water Ruining Your Diet? (3:16)
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Whether you’re having trouble weaning off your favorite sugary soda or are struggling to drink enough water throughout the day, you might resort to sipping on crisp, fruity sparkling water. Available in flavors ranging from juicy peach to sour black cherry, these fizzy drinks make hydration feel less like a chore, all while boasting their two-ingredient, zero-calorie nutrition label.
From This Episode:
Food Fact Check: Seltzer Boom — What’s Really Hidden in Your Favorite Seltzer?
But being sugar-free and colorless doesn’t mean these hip beverages are equally as healthy as straight H2O. Zero-calorie, flavored seltzers typically contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame — a common ingredient in diet soda — sucralose, erythritol, and acesulfame potassium, says nutritionist Kellyann Petrucci. There isn’t a definitive answer as to whether these additives are connected to weight gain, but some evidence has shown that it’s a possibility. When you eat sugar in chocolate or cookies, your brain will receive a signal when you’ve had enough and stop you from devouring more of the treat; however, when you consume drinks with artificial sweeteners, your body perceives the intense sweetness but doesn’t sense the same satiety as it does with real sugar, which may lead to overeating or develop long-term cravings for sweetness, Petrucci says.
Though these artificial sweeteners usually aren’t listed on the side of the can, one mystery ingredient is usually prominently displayed: “natural flavors.” Rather than juicing a fruit and infusing it into the beverage, food chemists create natural flavors by cooking it in a machine called a still to extract its flavor, resulting in a calorie-free, concentrated liquid that’s added to the water, Petrucci says. Single-flavored seltzers often include more than solely the extract from one fruit; a grapefruit sparkling water may also contain flavorings from other herbs, barks, leaves, buds, or citrus fruits to enhance the flavor and give it a sensation that’s reminiscent of the real fruit, says Taylor Wallace, a food scientist. As a rule of thumb, natural flavors must be derived from a plant or animal, meaning extracts from vegetables, spices, and even seafood are okay.
So why the secrecy with natural flavors? Using the term allows brands to keep their product labels short, sweet, and to the point, as a single natural flavor can include more than 100 ingredients, including flavoring substances, solvents, emulsifiers, and preservatives, according to the Environmental Working Group. Despite containing ingredients that are “naturalness” is up for debate, Wallace says natural flavors are safe to consume. If there are any preservatives and solvents in natural flavors, the amount is too small to be linked to any ill health effects, Wallace says. If you’re concerned about consuming artificial sweeteners or the ambiguity of natural flavors just doesn’t sit right with you, concoct your own flavored water at home by muddling herbs, fruit, and citrus peels and topping the mixture off with ice and bubble-free or sparkling water.
The History Behind Sparkling Water
9 Creative Ways to Drink More Water
List of Names for Artifical Sweeteners
Why Your LaCroix Obsession Isn’t So Healthy
Photo: PJ_joe / Getty Images
Put down that can of key lime LaCroix for a second. We have to talk.
I’ve been asked by Insta-friends and clients alike several times recently: How much La Croix is too much LaCroix? Sorry, but you may not totally love my answer.
Let me first jump off my high nutritionist horse and lead with the good: It’s absolutely a better option than soda, diet or otherwise. In the grand scheme of things, drinking excessive amounts of sparkling water is very far down on my list of concerns with clients at my Foodtrainers NYC office. But if you’ve already cleaned up your diet, are eating veggies and mainly whole foods, pay attention to ingredient labels, and take your health seriously, here are a few factors to consider.
There is a lot of confusion over what “natural flavors” actually means and, in general, I steer very clear foods that include them on the ingredient label. These “natural” flavors are often more similar to “artificial” ingredients, and can sometimes include preservatives. (Related: Whoa! This Company Is Adding Weed to Sparkling Water)
LaCroix’s website says “the flavors are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit used in each of our LaCroix flavors. There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, these extracted flavors.” I don’t mind this explanation if it’s true and the taste is actually derived from an essential oil (LaCroix didn’t return my emails to confirm).
My main concern is that these intense flavors can make you crave that and expect it every time you grab a drink (plain ol’ tap water is never going to provide that for you). That’s what happens when you overdo it on sugar. Often people who think water is boring (I hear it more than you can imagine) are overdoing heavily flavored foods and drinks.
Not only are all those bubbles not great for your teeth (carbonation comes from CO2, carbon dioxide, which reacts with water to form carbolic acid, which may wear away tooth enamel). It also may not be great for your weight. One study published in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice found that rats that had carbonated drinks ate more and gained more weight over a six-month period than those that drank flat drinks or plain water. The bubbly-bev rats also had more of the appetite-increasing hormone ghrelin, which signals your body to eat more, which can explain the weight gain.
The thing about LaCroix that scares me the most can actually be found in many packaged products around the supermarket such as other canned beverages or vegetables, and even in your “healthy” protein powder. BPA-based plastics are used to line food and drink cans to protect against metal contamination, but these endocrine disruptors bring on a host of health problems on their own.
Plus, some studies show that BPA can seep into the food and drinks. While LaCroix and other canned product manufacturers are quick to point out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in food, it’s not something I agree with or would suggest to my clients. FWIW, the state of California, for example, includes BPA in its Proposition 65 list of toxic chemicals that are “known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
So, if you don’t want your hormones to be all out of whack-this can cause a host of health problems such as thyroid and metabolism issues, irregular periods, and changes to your mood, energy, or fertility-I’d ditch cans for glass bottles. (And, sorry, no; it doesn’t count if you just pour the canned drink into a glass.) It turns out, LaCroix actually does sell some products in glass bottles, so grab them if you can hunt them down!
So, my answer to the question of how much LaCroix is too much? Ideally, I’d suggest you max out at one or two sparkling water drinks a day, drink them from a glass bottle, and add your own fresh flavoring (slice of lemon, lime, or grapefruit) for an extra boost. My personal favorite (unflavored) brands are Topo Chico, Mountain Valley, and Gerolsteiner. If you cannot live without a little lemon/lime flavor, Spindrift uses real fruit extracts.
- By By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
A new lawsuit claims the ingredients in LaCroix sparking water aren’t natural — here’s why you shouldn’t worry
A new lawsuit claims some of LaCroix’s ingredients aren’t natural. LaCroix/Instagram
- A new lawsuit alleges that LaCroix sparkling water contains artificial ingredients — a claim LaCroix denies.
- The suit claims that LaCroix waters contain “synthetic” ingredients including, limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool.
- A statement from the law firm Beaumont Costales also implies that these ingredients are harmful, saying that limonene “can cause kidney toxicity and tumors” and that linalool ” is used in cockroach insecticide.”
- But available scientific evidence shows that limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool are safe flavorings.
A new class action lawsuit has claimed that LaCroix sparkling waters aren’t as “natural” as they claim to be.
The suit, filed by the firm Beaumont Costales on October 1, alleges that LaCroix “intentionally misled consumers” by using synthetic ingredients while claiming their products are all natural.
“LaCroix in fact contains ingredients that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as synthetic,” a statement from Beaumont Costales said. “These chemicals include limonene, which can cause kidney toxicity and tumors; linalool propionate, which is used to treat cancer; and linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide.”
LaCroix’s parent company, National Beverage Corporation, said in a statement that it “categorically denies all allegations” in the lawsuit.
“All essences contained in LaCroix are certified by our suppliers to be 100% natural. The lawsuit provides no support for its false statements about LaCroix’s ingredients,” the statement read in part.
Ice-cold and ready to serve up! 💧😁 #HealthySips (📸: @squeezeryatx)
LaCroix lists “essences” among its ingredients — and there is some mystery as to what those are
LaCroix advertises that these “essences” are key to its flavors, but it’s not entirely clear what they’re made of. Last year, The Wall Street Journal dug into the mysterious LaCroix flavoring, reporting that essence “is actually a clear, concentrated natural chemical that’s been used for decades in products as varied as gravy, ice pops, coffee, shampoo, and even insecticide.”
It’s created by heating items such as fruit and vegetable skins at high temperatures, producing vapors that are then condensed and sold by the barrel, the Journal report added.
LaCroix still hasn’t clarified whether the Journal was right, or what exactly these essences are, Business Insider reported. The company website only says that their flavors “are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit used in each of our LaCroix flavors.”
The ingredients noted in Beaumont Costales’s statement about the suit — limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool — aren’t considered dangerous for humans
No matter how the flavoring ingredients in LaCroix are sourced or created, it’s good to know that the three ingredients named in the Beaumont Costales statement — limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool — aren’t considered dangerous for humans, as Popular Science reported Thursday.
(The statement doesn’t mention any other ingredients, so it’s not clear if there are others included in the lawsuit. Beaumont Costales did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.)
Cheers to #SundayFunday with LaCroix! ✨🙃
Limonene, used widely as a flavor and fragrance, is “a naturally occurring chemical” that’s a major component of citrus peels, according to PubChem, a chemical database run by the US National Institutes of Health. The Beaumont Costales statement says limonene “can cause kidney toxicity and tumors.”
While there is data showing that limonene can cause these things to happen in male rats, a 2013 paper on limonene safety concluded that “notable toxic effects” have not been reported in humans, and that the ingredient “appears to exert no serious risk.” (Some research even indicates it may fight cancer, Popular Science noted.)
Linalool propionate (also known as linalyl propionate) is another flavor ingredient that’s naturally found in ginger as well as lavender and sage oils, according to PubChem. When the World Health Organization reviewed the ingredient, it found “no safety concern at current levels of intake when used as a flavoring agent.”
Linalool is another naturally occurring compound produced by more than 200 plants, including mint and cinnamon, according to PubChem. In addition to being used as a flavor, it is also used in insecticides, but just because something’s toxic to animals, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad for humans. (As Popular Science pointed out, we don’t ban chocolate just because it’s bad for dogs.) Linalool may cause skin and eye irritation and allergic skin reactions, but it’s considered safe as a flavoring, according to PubChem.
The ingredients are considered ‘synthetic flavoring substances’ — but that doesn’t mean they are unhealthy
It’s true that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documents do list limonene, linalyl propionate, and linalool as “synthetic flavoring substances” — this seems to be the main argument behind the Beaumont Costales lawsuit — but as Popular Science reported, all these chemicals can be derived naturally, too.
And ultimately, a substance being natural or not isn’t the sole determinant of whether it’s good or bad for you. Both natural and synthetic substances can be harmful or beneficial.
“Whether a substance is ‘natural’ or ‘synthetic’ should not be a health issue,” Roger Clemens, an expert in food and regulatory science at the University of Southern California, told Popular Science. “It’s all about safety as assessed by experts in nutrition, food science, food toxicology, and medicine.”
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As popular as LaCroix is—and people are downing seltzer from those kitschy, pastel-colored cans at a rate of around 170 million gallons a year—chances are, you’re not pounding bubbly water while on a bike. In fact, most athletes aren’t guzzling fizzy drinks that often (unless it’s a classic Coke to ward off a bonk or a bubbly water at the end of a long ride).
But sparkling waters, such as LaCroix, Topo Chico, and Perrier, are a fun way to shake up the monotony of flat water without introducing a ton of sugar or other questionable ingredients into your diet. Even the CDC recommends drinking sparkling water as a healthy alternative to soda and other high-calorie beverages.
Is being deemed a healthy alternative to sugary sodas enough to make seltzer a healthy hydration choice, though? And do all those negative reports about LaCroix hold up? Here’s what you need to know.
Is Seltzer Even Hydrating?
Every athlete knows the importance of hydrating—before, during, and after a ride. With all those bubbles, are LaCroix and other sparkling waters as good as flat water? The short answer: Yes. “Like plain water, it’s calorie-free (or very low calorie when flavors are added), it’s equally hydrating (or rehydrating) on a volume basis to plain water, and it tends to be more filling (due to its accompanying gas),” explains M. Ramin Modabber, M.D., the chief medical officer of the AMGEN Tour of California.
When the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared still, sparkling, and other popular drinks (cola, juices, beer, coffee, tea and milk), they found that there was no difference between them in terms of hydration. And another study comparing the drinking habits of carbonated water consumers and non-carbonated water consumers found that those who drank bubbly water actually had a slightly higher total intake of water—so it just might help you drink a little more.
If your choice is between bubbly water or nothing, pop that can—seltzer is just as hydrating as H2O, and it’ll do the job if you need to hydrate.
But Is Seltzer Like LaCroix Healthy?
LaCroix Sparkling Water (24 Cans) La Croix amazon.com $18.65
Seltzer in its most basic form is just tap water plus carbonation. NBD. But flavored seltzers—like LaCroix’s pamplemousse (grapefruit) flavor—are a little more complicated. After all, something needs to give it that flavor. On LaCroix’s website, the brand credits its flavors to “all-natural…essences or oils derived from the named fruit, i.e., lime/lime oils.” Otherwise, the company has been notoriously mum about what’s actually in its drinks.
A recent lawsuit, though, claimed LaCroix uses synthetic ingredients, like limonene, which can cause kidney toxicity and tumors, and linalool, which is also used in cockroach insecticide. But here’s the deal: Limonene is classified by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a “naturally occurring chemical,” and generally recognized by the FDA as safe; it’s only been linked to kidney toxicity in male rats. And linalool, according to the NIH, “is a naturally occurring terpene alcohol chemical found in many flowers and spice plants.”
In October 2018, an International Standards Organization-accredited lab tested ingredients provided by LaCroix and confirmed that they were derived from natural sources, such as fruit. “The fact that there’s a plant-derived ingredient in seltzer that also happens to be in an insecticide does not make the ingredient a problem,” says Lauren Antonucci, R.D.N., a nutrition consultant for the New York Road Runners and director of Nutrition Energy. “If we look at the science, there’s nothing to be worried about.”
That said, if you’re concerned, you can always replace flavored seltzers like LaCroix with plain bubbly waters or simply flavor it yourself with slices of fresh fruit such as lemon, lime, or grapefruit.
What About Other Seltzers?
Let’s go back to chemistry class real quick: Carbonation—what makes a seltzer fizzy—occurs when carbon dioxide dissolves into bicarbonates and carbonic acid. The only word you really need to pay attention to there is acid.
“The pH in seltzer is not quite neutral, and the more you add into these products, the more acidic they can become,” says Antonucci. “Flavors can add citric acid and more carbonic acid, and eventually the acidity can approach close to that of a soda.”
All that acid isn’t necessarily great for your teeth and bones over the long-term, which is why seltzer gets a bit of a bad rap as being “unhealthy.” But it’s not something to stress over. In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers detected no difference in terms of bone density loss between participants who drank 1 liter of carbonated water a day and those who drank 1 liter of still water a day over the course of 8 weeks.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proved that carbonation did not leach calcium from bones. And while additional research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked cola to lower hip bone density in women, other carbonated drinks like seltzer didn’t have the same affect.
So, Should You Drink It?
Topo Chico Twist of Lime Sparkling Mineral Water Pack of 12 $23.98
Sure! Seltzer spices up plain ol’ tap water and might just inspire you to be better hydrated—and what athlete doesn’t want that? Maybe don’t drink it right before or during a ride, though. “Seltzer’s gas can be immensely disruptive before or during exercise due to gastrointestinal bloating, belching, cramping, etc.,” says Modabber. Not exactly things you want to deal with when you’re in the middle of a ride, right?
As for a refreshing fizzy drink post-ride, you’re all good. Except, remember this: LaCroix, Topo Chico, and other bubbly waters don’t contain sodium or carbohydrates, which are a crucial part of refueling after a workout. “Don’t be fooled by the fact that bubbles taste yummy or that you thought it filled you up,” says Antonucci. “You still need to replenish the salt and the carbs that you burned while out cycling for hours.”
Bottom line: Seltzer is a great substitute for sodas and other meal-time drinks, says Modabber, but probably a poor option before, during, or after strenuous exercise.
Ashley Mateo Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more.
Hydration is essential at every stage in life. During pregnancy it is even more important since water is a key element in the development of the fetus. Proper hydration is especially essential during pregnancy when women’s bodies undergo major changes in order to help meet the physiological changes that the pregnant woman is facing.
During this special bodily state, water consumption is different and the quantity of water consumed needs to increase. Moreover, even the slightest dehydration will increase the tiredness that all pregnant women experience to various degrees.
Water plays a significant role in conveying nutrients to the fetus, allowing it to develop. It all starts with the water that facilitates the absorption of essential elements by the cells and carries the vitamins, minerals and hormones in the blood cells. These enriched cells reach the placenta and then the baby. Moreover, water is needed to support the increase in blood plasma volume and to produce breast milk.
Water also helps eliminate toxins, because it contributes to breaking down toxins and carrying them away in the urine via the kidneys. When we consume sufficient water, the risk of urinary infections is reduced and we also help the digestion process and avoid constipation, which around 32 per cent of pregnant women are affected by.
The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has stated in their 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), the importance of water consumption for a healthy diet. The guidelines provide strong support for the role played by water in American’s diets. Ultimately, drinking more water is one of the easiest ways to follow the new nutrition advice from America’s top scientists.
Water is an essential nutrient for pregnant and breastfeeding women likewise. Experts suggest that women breastfeeding make sure they are drinking an extra 700 ml of water daily during breastfeeding over those 2000ml/ day of total water intake recommended by the European Federation of Bottled Waters.
What kind of water is best for you?
Therefore, water consumption is vital during pregnancy, and provides a healthy environment for both baby and mother. It is important that the mother and later the child drink water that is pure – low in sodium and with no toxins or traces of fertilizers.
Besides sodium, calcium, magnesium and other salts, bottled water may also contain an ingredient you won’t find mentioned on the label: nitrates. Nitrates are fertilizers. Nitrates are good for plants, but not for humans and in large quantities nitrates are harmful to humans and particularly hazardous for babies.
They can be found in nature and they are used in agriculture. Massive agricultural use of nitrates pollutes aquifers, meaning they end up in bottled water. They are tasteless, colorless and odorless. And you’re not likely to find any mention of them on the label.
NITRATES are heavy oxidants. They are undesirable substances, harmful to human health.
Babies are most vulnerable to nitrate contamination because their micro-bacterial flora has not yet developed to fight them. Once ingested, nitrates are converted into nitrites – much more toxic than nitrates. The ingestion of a large quantity can cause gastric problems, infectious diarrhea, hives and rashes, and even blue baby syndrome.
Blue baby syndrome, known medically as methemoglobinemia, is the most dangerous disorder that nitrate contamination can cause in infants. It starts with breathing problems, caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen to the blood, and quickly leads to asphyxiation and death. This is why it is so important to prepare baby food using water that has the lowest possible nitrate content.
In many European countries such as France, Germany, Austria, Poland and Italy, the legislation demands that the nitrate content in water for infants should not exceed 2.27 mg of NO3-N per liter, while the limit for adults is 11.3 mg per liter.
There are no regulations on nitrates for infants in the U.S.
The Maximum Contaminant Level for Nitrates is 10 mg of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) per liter for all types of water. According to Environmental Working Group, nitrate levels should not exceed 5 ppm, based on evidence that nitrate can cause problems during pregnancy and could also increase risks of cancer. A study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, indicate that women consuming nitrate-contaminated water face a greater risk of thyroid cancer. Moreover, another study at the University of Iowa discovered a link between long-term nitrate exposures from drinking water and increased risks of ovarian and bladder cancer in women. Based on other findings, there is also an association between nitrate intake and subclinical hypothyroidism in women.
Ingestion of nitrate-contaminated water, in the range of 5 to 10 ml/L increases the risk of colon, ovarian and bladder cancer, as shown by the National Cancer Institute.
Some studies say that babies under the age of 6 months can become seriously ill if exposed to nitrate levels of more than 2.27 mg per liter.
There is also a proven correlation between birth defects and high nitrate levels in the expecting mother. Researchers at Texas University have published a study that examined the relation between prenatal exposure to drinking-water nitrates and various birth defects and which found that higher water nitrate intake was associated with several birth defects in new-born infants. Their conclusion was that expecting and breastfeeding women should avoid drinking water with Nitrate levels higher than 2.27 mg of NO3-N per liter.
NITRATES can provoke:
◦Blue baby syndrome (MD P.G. Sattelmacher. Federal Health Agency, Germany – Methemoglobinemia caused by nitrates in drinking water.)
◦Risk of Neural Tube Defects (Lisa A. Croen, Karen Todoroff, and Gary M. Shaw – Maternal Exposure to Nitrate from Drinking Water and Diet and Risk for Neural Tube Defects and Jean D. Brender, Peter J. Weyer – Prenatal Nitrate Intake from Drinking Water and Selected Birth Defects in Offspring of Participants in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study)
◦Oral Cleft Defects and limb deficiencies (Jean D. Brender, Peter J. Weyer – Prenatal Nitrate Intake from Drinking Water and Selected Birth Defects in Offspring of Participants in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study)
Drinking sparkling mineral water during pregnancy is also beneficial. But there are natural sparkling water and artificially carbonated water.
Usually, natural sparkling water is very rich in calcium and magnesium and the natural bicarbonates will help digestion and ease acidity expecting mothers struggle during pregnancy. The amount of calcium and magnesium should be increased during pregnancy and drinking a natural sparkling mineral water can help with that.
Calcium is the mineral element most present in the body and is involved in multiple essential metabolic processes. Doctors’ recommendation for adults is to assure a daily calcium amount between 800 and 1200 mg, both from food (dairy products, soy, tofu, hazelnut, walnuts, broccoli, sardines, salmon) and from natural sparkling water. The persons with hypocalcaemia (like expecting mothers) should increase the dose up to maximum 1500 mg of calcium per day.
AQUA Carpatica Natural Mineral Sparkling Water has a high content of calcium: 24% of the adult’s daily needs per Liter. AQUA Carpatica Natural Spring Water has a content of calcium of 52 mg/l, just enough to add to your daily calcium intake if you have about 2 liters of water daily.
Also Magnesium is an important mineral element for the health of the body. It helps maintain both physical and psychological wellbeing because it plays an important role in the metabolic processes. The lack of magnesium causes hyperemotivity, headaches, trembling, dizziness, insomnia, spasms and numbness of extremities – popularly known as “cramps” – bone pains, allergies and decrease of immunity and the general well-being, The doctors’ recommendation for adults is to assure a daily amount of magnesium between 300 and 320 mg, both from food (cabbage, beet, plums, pumpkin seeds, bananas) and from the natural sparkling water. People who have a magnesium deficiency deficit are recommended to increase the dose up to maximum 350 mg of magnesium per day.
AQUA Carpatica Natural Sparkling Mineral Water gives you 16% of an adult’s daily needs per Liter of Magnesium. AQUA Carpatica Spring Water is also a good source of Magnesium, having a content of 17 mg/L.
Key Benefits at a Glance for the Perfect Water
- Natural Water, not processed or purified
- Coming from a verified, unique source
- Naturally Nitrate Free – ideal for newborns, young children and expectant mothers
- Naturally Sodium Free- recommended for those with high blood sugar or low sodium diets
- Natural Electrolytes
- Clean and smooth taste
- Naturally Alkaline
Hydration should not be overlooked during and after pregnancy since it can help replenish lost fluids and offers numerous health benefits for both mother and later the child. In this regard, it’s highly important that women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant avoid drinking nitrate-contaminated water.
Find AQUA Carpatica at a store near you:
Sick of water? 5 Pregnancy safe drink options
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends you drink at least 8 cups of fluids each day, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to only water! Check out our top drink ideas that will quench your thirst and satisfy your palate.
Fresh vegetable juice
Grab the juicer from the back of your cabinet and experiment with vegetable combinations. You may be surprised by what juices you enjoy when you’re pregnant. A mix of celery, cucumbers, carrots and ginger is light and refreshing and may even help with nausea. You can also add a bit of apple or lemon for a sweet and sour note. Fresh juices provide your body with much-needed hydration and nutrition all at once. You just may adopt a lifelong healthy habit!
Try:Breville’s Juice Fountain Compact ($99)
Spice up your water
Sometimes all is takes is a splash of flavor to turn boring water into a refreshing drink. You would be amazed at how a couple of lemon or lime wedges (or even a combination of both) can enhance the flavor of water. If you don’t add the flavor yourself, be wary of excessive sugar or artificial flavors. Some “healthy” waters are full of them. You can also spice up boring water by adding a splash of juice.
Find out here if artificial sweeteners are safe during pregnancy.
Hint Water is a great alternative to sugar-laden choices. They call it “essence water” because pure extracts are used to flavor the water. This zero-calorie beverage is H2O with the flavor dial turned up just enough to trick your taste buds into thinking they’re getting so much more. There are a bunch of creative flavors to choose from like Watermelon, blackberry, Mango-Grapefruit and Pomegranate & Tangerine, so you can change it up as often as you’d like. An added bonus: after you have your baby (and are done nursing) you can use Hint Water to make zero-calorie cocktails!
What about tea?
We’ve all been told to avoid excessive caffeine during pregnancy, so switching to decaf tea is a great option. Whether you enjoy it hot or iced, tea can help keep you hydrated and provide antioxidants if you choose a green version (which contains trace amounts of caffeine, but much less than coffee).
While tea is a much healthier choice than caffeinated coffee and soda, it should be consumed in moderation. Look for tea specifically-blended for pregnant women and avoid any tea that is marketed as a nutritional supplement, such as St. John’s Wort or Kava. If you choose to drink tea of any kind, be sure to ok it first with your OB/GYN or nutritionist.
Find out here more on pregnancy safe herbs and medications.
Try: Traditional Medicinals Pregnancy Tea ($5) contains spearmint leaf, raspberry leaf, strawberry leaf, nettle leaf, rose hip, fennel seed, lemongrass leaf, alfalfa leaf and lemon verbena leaf.
Seltzer water is essentially water with added carbon dioxide, which makes it fizzy. If you are trying to wean yourself off of soda, seltzer may help you beat the cravings, especially if you add some flavor in the form of citrus fruit or a splash of juice. The carbonation can make you feel full if you drink too much too quickly, but seltzer can help you stay hydrated and help you avoid water boredom. Some women find that the bubbles even help with nausea. If you find that seltzer is just what you’ve been looking for, you can even make your own at home by infusing water with CO2.
Try: The Classic Soda Siphon from Williams-Sonoma ($70)
More tips for a healthy pregnancy:
- Your everyday to-do checklist for a healthy pregnancy
- Eating and drinking while working out
- Pregnancy mocktails: Fun non-alcoholic drink recipes
Last Updated on December 19, 2019
Alcohol may not be an option for pregnant women as it can harm their baby during pregnancy, but a lot of moms-to-be drink soft beverages like soda, soft drinks, mocktails, etc. While drinking these beverages during pregnancy is safe when consumed in moderate amounts, these drinks have their own side-effects. Drinking excessive soda during pregnancy can have some adverse effects on you and your baby.
Can You Consume Soda During Pregnancy?
Drinking fresh lime soda during pregnancy is good if you’re not going overboard. An occasional soda is not likely to harm you in any way.
How Much Soda Can You Drink While Pregnant?
During pregnancy, it is safe to drink one or less than one serving (1 serving= 330 ml) of soda or diet soda per day.
Whether you consume soda containing sugar or artificial sweeteners, the caffeine in soda can be refreshing, but it can be harmful to the foetus. A study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists shows that a pregnant woman should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day. One serving of soda has between 32-42 mg of caffeine. Hence, if you limit your daily consumption of soda to one serving per day, you are safe.
Which Contents of Soda Can Harm Your Unborn Baby?
Soda is a brew made from a mix of several ingredients. Here are few of the ingredients in soda that can affect you and your baby:
Soda is high in caffeine, which is known to raise one’s blood pressure. It can also cause insomnia, which can cause constipation and dehydration in the mother-to-be. This is harmful to the baby’s motoric and nervous system development. Consumption of more than 300 mg of caffeine a day may lead to miscarriage, and the consumption of more than 500 mg of caffeine in a day can cause chronic high breathing in a baby at birth.
Steady insulin levels are essential for the optimal growth of the baby. The sugar present in sodas increases blood sugar levels, which can cause an insulin burst. Consuming large amounts of sugar can also lead to obesity, which can lead to miscarriage or cause health problems like congenital disabilities in the baby.
3. Carbonated Water
Soda is made from the carbonation of high-pressure water and carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide is the main ingredient that causes the fizzy bubbles in the drinks. This carbonated water present in the soda is detrimental to your bone health and can cause issues like back pain, as your bones gradually become too weak to support your growing belly. Plain carbonated water contains only gas, but some manufacturers also add in minerals like potassium and sodium. Sodium causes a spike in blood pressure, which can be dangerous for your body.
4. Artificial Sweetener
Plain soda contains large amounts of sugar, whereas diet soda contains artificial sweeteners – they are harmful in their own regard. Aspartame, a non-saccharide artificial sweetener used in diet sodas can cause disabilities in babies if consumed excessively. Drinking diet soda, contrary to popular belief, is as harmful as drinking regular soda during pregnancy.
5. Flavouring Agents
Even if a soda doesn’t contain caffeine, it will most likely contain some flavour – phosphoric acid is one of the flavouring agents present in sodas. This phosphoric acid can affect the calcium in your bones and make them brittle.
Harmful Effects of Drinking Soda During Pregnancy
Listed below is the summary of the harmful effects of consuming soda during pregnancy:
- Loss of calcium from bones due to the carbonated acid and phosphoric acid (flavouring agent)
- Increase in blood pressure due to the presence of sodium in carbonated water
- Can cause birth defects such as congenital disabilities
- The excessive consumption of sugar and artificial sweeteners may lead to obese babies
- May also lead to miscarriage
A 2018 study suggests a negative relationship between consuming sodas during pregnancy and the baby’s brain development. The study found that when mothers-to-be consumed more sugar during pregnancy, especially in the form of sodas, their children grew up with poor non-verbal and problem-solving skills along with poor memory. The study also showed that the effects were just as bad with diet sodas – consuming it during pregnancy was linked to poorer visual motor, spatial, and fine motor abilities in babies.
Soda might be a refreshing replacement to alcoholic drinks, but it is not worth the risk when it comes to you or your baby. So, limiting the consumption of soda ensures the healthy growth of the child and also prevents any congenital defects in the child during delivery. Drinking plenty of water during pregnancy is a good idea. Fresh fruit juice and milk are also good choices for both hydration and nutrition.
References and Resources: WebMD
Also Read: Drinking Alcohol during Pregnancy
By now, you’re probably familiar with the fact that sparkling water drinks are everywhere. No matter where you go, someone is likely sippin’ some bubbly — both alcoholic and non. Why? Because it’s delicious and refreshing and a nice change from the sugar, calories, and preservatives you find in soda or beer. And for those looking for a mid-day bubbler, the fact that it is alcohol-free means that you can pound as many as you want during that conference call with no worry of it affecting your performance (except for some burps).
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Whether you’re looking to replace sugar-filled sodas with something lower in calories, trying to find a great substitute for your post-workout or lawnmower beer, or you’re already a fan of flavored fizzy water, you’re in the right place. I was slurping back cans of club soda long before sparkling water worked its way into the zeitgeist, and I’ve been thrilled to see this section of the grocery store beverage aisle grow. By my quick estimation, I’ve probably tried 20 or more different kinds of flavored, carbonated waters in recent years, so you can trust me when I say these are the five best sparkling water brands you simply must sip this spring and summer. (And hey, why not kick ’em back in the cooler months of autumn and winter, too? I know I do.)
Waterloo Sparking Water
Waterloo sparkling waters hail from Austin, Texas, and they are Texas-sized in flavor. Whether you’re sipping watermelon, grapefruit, black cherry, or any of their other flavors, you’ll probably find yourself checking the nutrition facts with incredulity, surprised to find that this stuff is indeed free of sugars, calories, sodium, and … well, everything. The company states that the huge flavor profiles are created thanks to a three “class” system: Class A ingredients are aromatic extracts captured from steam boiled off fruits, Class B ingredients consist of concentrated fruit oils extracted using high pressures, and Class C ingredients are “all-natural botanical elements” that help “bond Class A and Class B ingredients together.” I’m not 100-percent (or even 43-percent) sure what they mean by Class C, but I am 100-percent sure that these are the most flavorful seltzer waters I’ve ever tasted. (In fact, they taste too much like soda for my soda-averse wife to even drink. Yeah, seltzer water with too much flavor.
La Croix Sparkling Water
If you’re a fan of fizzy water, then you already know La Croix. This brand is “sweeping the nation” as my friend Tom so aptly put it, and the brand is doing so for one reason above all: There does not seem to be a single fruit La Croix has not yet used to create a seltzer water flavor. (OK, maybe breadfruit.) In fact, the brand is even running out of blends of fruit at this point! There’s coconut, passion fruit, key lime, apricot, mango, and oh so many more. Blends include peach-pear, pineapple-strawberry, sweet and sour blackberry-cucumber, and so forth. At the time of this writing, La Croix offers more than 2o different flavors, but by the time you read this, I’ll bet they’ve added jackfruit-huckleberry and kiwi-fig. (Full disclosure: There are several empty cans of La Croix Passionfruit sitting on my desk right now. For real. I should probably recycle them at some point.)
Schweppes Sparkling Water Beverage
People have been drinking Schweppes for what historians term a long-ass time. The brand was founded back in 1783, so that means a 235-year history as of 2018. I’ve only been drinking Schweppes for about three decades, but that’s only because I didn’t drink sodas or seltzers or anything of that ilk until my elementary school years. While perhaps best known for their tonic waters, ginger ales, and classic club soda, today Schweppes offers seven flavored sparkling waters that are refreshing, tasty, and priced to sell. My personal favorites are black cherry and cranberry lime, but who knows, you may be a pink grapefruit or pomegranate fan. Sidebar: If you mix some Schweppes seltzer water with fine booze (bourbon and orange FTW, or a good vodka with any of ’em), you’re doing it right.
If you love soda but realize that drinking more than a couple of sodas a week is really not best practice, then you owe it to yourself to try Polar Beverages. Sure, this company makes a lime flavor, a lemon, and an original just like everyone else, but Polar also offers some blends that are tasty enough to curb your desire for cola or root beer. Try orange vanilla, triple berry, granny smith apple, or strawberry watermelon if you want something sweet, and don’t miss cranberry lime or ruby red grapefruit for pure refreshment. Ah, what the hell … just try all 17 flavors the brand offers.
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
You’ve drunk plenty of Perrier in your day, no? You’ve sipped it on airplanes, in hotel rooms, at the house of that one friend whose mom always had lots of Perrier around, and so on. So you know what this stuff is, then: sparkling water with minimal mineral flavoring. Right? Wrong! Oh, you’re so wrong. In recent years, this staid water purveyor has added numerous fine flavors to the lineup. Perrier now offers flavored seltzers like peach, watermelon, strawberry, green apple, and more. Now look, Perrier waters don’t pack as much flavor punch as most other brands, and they sparkle with less vigor, too. But that’s kind of the point here — sometimes you don’t want to be overwhelmed with taste and effervescence, you just want a bit of mild refreshment. When that happens, grab these new twists from a classic brand.
Like the waters that flow down the rivers through the Adirondack Mountains, Adirondack seltzer is crystal clear (well, obviously), but that clarity also translates to the flavor profiles of the brand’s flavored seltzers. Take the lemon-lime, for example. It is crisp and bright and doesn’t taste like you’re drinking a chemical solvent of some sort. Adirondack also gets bonus points for creativity — the brand sells a white chocolate-flavored seltzer. It won’t be for everyone, but it is definitely something to try at least once.
Bubly Sparkling Water
Pepsi’s entrant into the sparkling water game is Bubly, a hell of a name for people who hate the red squiggle on Microsoft Word, but also a hell of a beverage. Designed with (we can only guess) millennials in mind, the cans are bright and offer up greetings on the tabs, automatically making you feel like you’re making the right decision by opening a can. The brand has eight flavors, with mangobubbly, cherrybubly, and limebubly being some of the top flavors (and yes, they’re all spelled like that, for better or worse). They manage to pack a lot in without the flavors being overwhelming and veering toward soda.
Deer Park Sparkling Water
A standard when it comes to regular ol’ bottled water, Deer Park also makes a fantastic sparkling beverage. Using real fruit flavors, their line of nine different flavors covers a good deal of the fruity landscape. The pomegranate lemonade is zippy and tart while the wild berry has a roundness to the flavor profile that makes it great when it’s ice cold. If you’re used to drinking Deer Park bottled water, then this will be an easy transition when you want something with a little more kick to it.
Simply Balanced Sparkling Water
Sold exclusively at Target, Simply Balanced (one of Target’s in-house brands) is a line of sparkling waters that come in 10 different flavors, is sold in easy-to-store slim cans, and (perhaps most importantly) is pretty dang cheap — an eight-pack will run you $3. The flavors are nicely balanced and make great no-calorie mixers for a wide range of highballs (making it easy if you want to do, say, a highball bar cocktail party). Start by trying the pineapple coconut (with rum) or cucumber mint (with gin), then branch out from there.
Spindrift Sparkling Water
OK, so one on this list is not like the others, and it is Spindrift. Unlike the other beverages listed above, Spindrift uses real juice (just squeezed, according to the brand) to flavor its sparkling waters. There are pros and cons to this approach — if you want a calorie-free beverage, then this isn’t for you. If you want real flavors (as opposed to the “natural flavors” you’ll find in most seltzers), then Spindrift is indeed for you. Also, because of the fruit, the drinks are bright and colorful, which is aesthetically a nice touch. The blackberry, raspberry lime, and cranberry raspberry all made for great refreshers (though if you’re in for Spindrift, you won’t be disappointed by the other six flavors, either).
And remember, if you love sparkling water but always wished it came with booze already in it, there’s plenty of hard seltzer out there, too.
Article originally published by Steven John on April 11, 2018. Last updated October 2019.
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We critique the best and worst brands of sparkling water
Sparkling water, much like when you shake it before opening, has exploded in the United States the past few years. The fervor for fizzy water has soft echoes of the meteoric rise of bottled water during the early 2000s, just with more pastels perfect for posting pictures to social media.
The running theory is that sparkling water is the millennial’s light, tasty and healthy drink alternative to soda. The drinks do not have any calories, most do not have sugar or sodium and they make excellent drinks on their own or as mixers for cocktails.
That theory is definitely correct. I was turned on to seltzer in college, when it was constantly used as mixers by FSU sorority girls looking for low-cal options. I was intrigued, and desperate for anything to cut sugar out of drinks to prevent hangovers. I was sold after one sip. I started to buy various sparkling waters on my own, and have not stopped since.
Large brands are quickly catching on to this trend, with many drink distributors coming out with their own versions. The most aggressive product comes from Pepsi with its new “bubly.” The cans are minimalist with bright colors, a modern logo and different chatspeak phrases for “hello” ( “hiiii,” “hey u,” “haaay,” “yo”) on the pop tabs.
The cans have been completely stripped of any Pepsi branding. With the individual branding and Instagram-ready design, it seems Pepsi’s goal for the product is less about taste or price and more about showing up in the hands of social media influencers. Bubly has a diverse portfolio of flavors, including apple, cherry and strawberry. Zephyrhills has entered the fray, too, with a whopping 10 new flavors of sparkling water that range from Raspberry Lime and Triple Berry to Summer Strawberry and Pomegranate Lemonade.
Healthfulness and cute cans aside, sparkling water is a litmus test for people. You can learn a lot about a person by someone’s preferred brand and flavors, and that is why I have brought you here today: to educate you on the correct opinions about sparkling water.
Clearly, the two most important aspects of seltzer are the level of fizz and flavor. That is how I judge all sparkling waters, and you should, too. The carbonation needs to be strong, but not overpowering, the flavors sweet but not syrup-y tasting. Imagine the bubbles as great party guests and the flavor as their conversation: The flavor should be colorful and the party guests should stick around for a while, but not too long.
Let’s go through some seltzers available in the store, and judge them. We’ll start with my least favorite.
San Pellegrino is one of the most consistently disappointing drinks in the entire world. The level of bubbles is faint, almost nonexistent. Sometimes it seems as if there is only one bubble in the entire plastic bottle. The glass bottles are a titch better, but barely. There is no seltzer I have given more chances than San Pell, and I am disappointed every single time. The sparkling flavored “beverages” (note: not water) are even worse. You’d be better off stuffing fistfuls of sugar into your mouth than drinking that.
Perrier is in the same boat as San Pellegrino. Neither have the level of fizz I am looking for when it comes to sparkling water. Despite being two of the most established brands, both have been easily trumped by new products in the marketplace. Much like fax machines and shopping in department stores, they are outdated.
Dasani Sparkling is just as bad as the bottled swimming pool water of regular Dasani bottled water. The flavors are oddly overpowering for some versions and nonexistent in others. Dasani gets points for creativity in having Strawberry Guava as a flavor. But those points do not make up for the rest of the bad marks.
Pepsi’s Bubly is bland. The level of seltzer is not there and the flavors try way too hard. I started with the lime, and would give it passing marks. Bubly’s mango tasted extremely unnatural, and strawberry does not make a good flavor for any kind of fizzy drink.
Spindrift is another brand that places emphasis on the can design instead of actually making good seltzer. Granted, the cans are cute, with great color blocking and nice watercolor paintings of the flavor in the can. However, Spindrift barely has any fizz, to the point where I had to keep checking to see if the can said sparkling or not. It is disappointing, since Spindrift is one of the only sparkling waters to have a cucumber flavor. The rest of the flavors look enticing, too: orange mango, blackberry and a new lemonade/iced tea Arnold Palm riff. If only all of the carbonation wasn’t gone as soon as you cracked open the can.
Zephyrhills’ pomegranate lemonade sparkling option is excellent, with a great balance between tart lemon and sweet pomegranate, but the brand stumbles with way too much flavor in its black cherry drink.
Polar Seltzer hails from Massachusetts and has passionate fans. The cans finally started to show up in stores in the Tampa Bay area, outside of Winn-Dixie, about two years ago. Sorry in advance to snowbird seltzer fans, but Polar is mediocre at best. However, there are some solid flavors. Polar excels with lime (which is pretty hard to mess up), and the Cranberry-Lime makes a superb mixer. Polar’s main issue is that the aluminum cans have an odd cola taste that gives off an odd “metal” finish. No other canned seltzer has this issue. You are better off finding Polar in a plastic bottle in cold storage.
Schweppes’ intense carbonation is rivaled only by SmartWater’s sparkling — oh boy is it a trip. You definitely need to be in the mood for either of these, and those who prefer softer seltzers should stay away. I often buy Sparkling SmartWater at Publix, walk a block or two back to work, then open the bottle only to have it explode all over my desk. That’s how intense it is.
A sleeper favorite of mine is the Aldi brand Belle Vie. It has superb levels of carbonation with excellent flavor. There are only four basic flavors: lime, lemon, grapefruit and pure, which is disappointing. But at the Aldi price point it is very worthwhile.
I will also give a shoutout to Hi-Ball energy drinks, which are organic, sparkling energy drinks. They have a zero-calorie, zero-sugar option that is healthier and more natural than Red Bull and Monster. I love the lemon-lime and grapefruit flavors.
La Croix is undoubtedly the best, and beloved by people with true taste. La Croix is perfect cold, at room temperature, by itself and in cocktails. The best flavors are Peach Pear, Lime, Passion Fruit and Tangerine — in that order. Peach Pear has such a unique, calming taste and works perfectly in any situation. Lime is a beloved classic. (There is a new Key Lime flavor I am actively seeking and have heard it is available at Targets in our area now.) Passion Fruit is subtle and sweet without being too floral. Tangerine makes the orange flavor obsolete and has an excellent, bright and sharp flavor. My friends are big fans of mango, which I understand and respect.
The worst flavor of La Croix is coconut, and you should never trust a person who claims it is their favorite. Those people are two steps away from people who press every button in an elevator before they get off. Coconut is akin to chugging a bottle of sunscreen.
But overall, La Croix stands on its own with the “natural essence” flavoring it infuses into its effervescence. No other seltzers can compare to the king.
Seltzer water is not a trend that will go away anytime soon. In 2016, bottled water became the largest beverage category by volume, according to research and consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corp., which confirms Americans are constantly on the prowl for healthier options. There is even an influx of alcoholic seltzers on the market, which is worth another 1,000-word essay in itself.
Contact Scott Pollenz at [email protected]