The 7 Best Water Flavorings of 2023, According to a Dietitian

True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets are affordable and rich in vitamin C

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The 7 Best Water Flavorings of 2022, According to a Dietitian

Verywell Fit / Sabrina Jiang

Water is essential for all functions of the body, which is made up of 50-60% water. “If you want to be on your A-game (and we all do), hydration is key. Even a 2% loss in hydration has been found to impact cognition, memory, mood, and reaction time,” says Callie Exas, MPH, MS, RDN. Dehydration puts added stress on the body and, according to Exas, “can impact blood sugar balance, blood pressure, and hormone regulation. [Hydration is] really important for whole body health and wellbeing!”

Daily water needs vary from person to person, but the general guideline is between 11.5 cups and 15.5 cups for adults. Some groups of people are at a higher risk for dehydration and may need even higher water intakes. These groups include athletes or people who sweat more, people breastfeeding, and those who are chronically stressed, according to Exas.

The importance of water is clear, but many people struggle to hit their hydration goals, especially if they don’t enjoy the taste of plain water. Water flavorings can make drinking fluids more enjoyable. Some water flavorings contain electrolytes, which can be beneficial in replacing losses through sweat and, products with sodium specifically, can help the body retain more water for faster rehydration. When choosing our top water flavorings, we considered quality of ingredients, flavor, ease of use, and nutritional composition, including the amount of added sugar, sweeteners and electrolytes.

Here, we share our picks for the top water flavorings on the market.

Best Overall

True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets

True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets


  • No artificial sweeteners or ingredients

  • Made from real lemons

  • Affordable

  • Tart flavor may not be enjoyed by all

True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets are our top pick because they are affordable, convenient, easy to use, and made from one simple ingredient—lemons! 

Lemon is the classic water addition, but you may not always have a fresh lemon at home or want to carry slices in your bag to add to a water bottle on the go. True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets solve this dilemma beautifully.

Inside each packet, you will find small crystals made from real lemon juice and oils. There are zero artificial flavorings or added sugars, and it is non-GMO and gluten-free. Each packet contains no calories or sugar and meets 25% of your daily vitamin C requirements. 

Essentially, you are adding the equivalent of one fresh lemon wedge to your drink with each serving. It’s incredibly versatile to use in other drinks besides water and can even be used as a substitute for lemon juice in recipes. One downside might be that it does bring quite a tart flavor, which some people may not enjoy.

Price at time of publication: $14 for 64 packets ($0.22 per serving)

Key Specs:
Calories Per Serving: 0 calories | Sweetener Type: None | Sugar Per Serving: 0 grams | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best for Athletes

Nuun Sport Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun Sport Hydration Tablets


  • Informed Choice verified

  • Includes five electrolytes for sports performance

  • Higher sodium content may not be suitable for all

For optimal performance and recovery, it is important to replenish the water and electrolytes athletes lose through their sweat. As an Informed Choice verified brand, Nuun Sport is a rigorously tested product for recreational and elite athletes. It can easily be added to a water bottle to drink during a game or after a long run. Their tablets come packaged in a convenient, recyclable carrying tube that you can easily slip into your workout bag or running belt. Nuun’s tablets provide sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, all important electrolytes to help with hydration and cell functioning.

The tablets are available in a variety of flavors and can also be found with or without caffeine. They are kosher and gluten-free, and the only other added ingredients they may contain are avocado oil, dextrose, stevia leaf extract, and beetroot powder for color.

Please note that Nuun uses two sweeteners: stevia and dextrose (sugar). The sugar content is very low, which may be preferable for some, but athletes exercising at higher intensities, for longer durations, or in hot conditions may need more sugar to adequately rehydrate. If you’re one of those athletes, you may want to pair this beverage with a carb-containing meal or snack.

The tablets contain 300 mg of sodium per serving, which is beneficial for hydration during and after intense exercise, but it is a high amount for those who are not active. We therefore recommend this option only for active individuals or for those who otherwise need this additional salt.

Price at time of publication: $23 for 40 Tablets ($0.58 per serving)

Key Specs:
Calories Per Serving: 15 calories | Sweetener Type: Dextrose and stevia leaf extract | Sugar Per Serving: 1 grams | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best Ready-to-Drink

Hint Fruit Infused Water

Hint Fruit Infused Water


  • No added sugar or artificial sweeteners

  • Grab-and-go

  • Less environmentally friendly

Hint is simply purified water with added natural flavors. It relies on those natural flavors for taste and does not add any sugar or preservatives. It is naturally kosher, vegan, and gluten free. You’ll note that, similar to flavored seltzer water, there is no sweetness at all in the flavor, which you may or may not prefer.

Their original product is flavored still water, but they now offer varieties that are sparkling, contain caffeine from coffee beans, and even have a kid-friendly line.

As it is ready-to-drink, choosing Hint means that you will keep buying plastic bottles, which may not be the most cost-effective or environmentally friendly. However, they do offer larger sizes which have a lower environmental impact and are more affordable than their smaller options.

Price at time of publication: $16 for a 12-pack ($1.33 per bottle)

Key Specs:
Calories Per Serving: 0 calories | Sweetener Type: None | Sugar Per Serving: 0 grams | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best With Collagen

Vital Proteins Hydration with Collagen

Vital Proteins Hydration with Collagen


  • May support healthy skin, hair, nails, and joints

  • Contains protein

  • Contains vitamins and minerals

  • Not suitable for vegans/vegetarians

Collagen is popping up in everything from smoothies to chips, and it seemed like only a matter of time before it ended up in water. Collagen is a protein found in many structural components of the body, such as hair, skin, nails, and tendons. While the research of the impact of collagen on joint health and the effects of aging is mixed, it does seem to hold some promise.

Vital Proteins is a brand synonymous with grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine collagen, and they have introduced Hydration** + Collagen water. This beverage provides 5 grams of collagen protein, vitamin C to aid in collagen incorporation and act as an antioxidant, and B vitamins for overall cellular health. It also contains small amounts of the electrolytes sodium, magnesium, and calcium, which may help support hydration. Because this product contains added vitamins and minerals, it's best to not exceed one per day and consider any other supplements you are taking before adding this to your routine.

One of the benefits of a beverage is that it contains five grams of protein to help boost your daily intake. This product would, of course, not be suitable for vegans or vegetarians as it sources the collagen from cows.

Price at time of publication: $9 for 7 Packets ($1.29 per packet)

Key Specs:
Calories Per Serving: 25 calories | Sweetener Type: Dextrose, stevia leaf extract, monk fruit | Sugar Per Serving: 1 grams | Organic: No | Non-GMO: No

Best with Electrolytes

Cure Hydrating Electrolyte Mix

  • Contains sodium and potassium for enhanced hydration

  • Four flavor varieties

  • No added sugars

  • Expensive

Cure Hydrating Electrolyte Mix can help to boost your hydration with 240 milligrams of sodium, 300-350 milligrams of potassium per serving. These moderate amount of electrolytes, in addition to a small amount of sugar (4 grams) from fruit powders is suitable to enhance hydration after moderate exercise, travel, mild sickness, after alcohol consumption, or any other time you are looking for a hydration boost. However, if you are on a low-sodium diet, be mindful of the amount of packets consumed per day.

We like that this variety pack comes with four flavor varieties including watermelon, Berry Pomegranate, Lemon and Grapefruit. The potassium comes from the coconut water powder base and the sodium from pink Himalayan salt. It is sweetened with natural sugars from fruit powders as well as monk fruit and stevia.

Price at time of publication: $46 for 28 packets ($1.64 per serving)

Key Specs:
Calories Per Serving: 25 calories | Sweetener Type: Fruit powder, monk fruit, stevia | Sugar Per Serving: 4 grams | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best With Monk Fruit

SweetLeaf Squeezable Organic Monk Fruit Sweetener

SweetLeaf Squeezable Organic Monk Fruit Sweetener


  • Zero calorie

  • Very affordable

  • Easy to keep in your bag

  • Contains sugar alcohols

If you are monitoring your added sugar intake but still want to enjoy a beverage that tastes sweet, you may want to consider a water flavoring with monk fruit. Monk fruit is a non-nutritive, or non-caloric, sweetener derived from a Chinese plant that is actually 300 times sweeter than sucrose, so a little goes a long way!  

The Sweet Leaf Liquid Monk Fruit Drops come in a convenient squeeze bottle, and each bottle provides 80 servings (one squeeze equals one serving) per bottle. There are delicious flavors like orange passion fruit, strawberry guava, and even caramel macchiato and English toffee.

Price at time of publication: $5 for 1.7 FL Oz ($0.06 per serving)

Key Specs:
Calories Per Serving: 0 calories | Sweetener Type: Organic monk fruit | Sugar Per Serving: 0 grams | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

Best Fruit Juice

Natalie's Blood Orange Juice

Natalie's Blood Orange Juice


  • Pure fruit juice

  • No preservatives

  • Rich in vitamin C

  • Juice needs refrigeration

Sometimes the best water flavorings can already be found inside your fridge or served at your breakfast table. Adding a splash of fresh squeezed fruit juice to a glass of water can provide just enough flavor to help you drink enough to meet your hydration goals. Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company makes a variety of 100% pure fruit juices, and the blood orange flavor is particularly bright and delicious, making it a great water addition.

This non-GMO juice contains only blood orange—no preservatives, artificial ingredients, or added sugars. The blood orange fruit and its juice are rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants. If you’re feeling fancy, add it to your water along with a sprig of rosemary or mint to make it look like a tropical cocktail.

Make your flavored water by adding a quarter cup of fruit juice and filling the rest of the glass or water bottle with water or seltzer and ice. Key specs below are based on this recipe, while a full cup of this juice has 24 grams of sugar.

Price at time of publication: $7 for 32 FL Oz

Key Specs:
Calories Per Serving: 33 calories | Sweetener Type: Juice from blood oranges | Sugar Per Serving: 6 grams | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes

How We Selected the Water Flavorings

When selecting the best water flavorings, we investigated multiple aspects of the beverage flavoring market, including products with no sugar added, those containing herbal ingredients, and those that may claim to provide additional health benefits. We understand that many people can struggle to consume enough water, so we made sure to consider flavorings that are easy to use and have appealing flavor options. We also spoke to Callie Exas, MPH, MS, RDN to provide insights on the importance of hydration.

What to Look for in Water Flavorings


In general, water flavorings are going to come in a powdered, tablet, or liquid form or in the form of fresh or frozen fruits or fresh vegetables or herbs. Which you use is a matter of personal preference. If you prefer to add flavoring to your water on the go, you may want to consider the easy-to-carry single-serving products, which are generally found as powders and sometimes as drops.

There is always the pre-bottled or canned water option as well for ultimate convenience, though they may be heavier and may not be enough liquid to keep you hydrated for the whole day. Water flavored with fruit is best prepared at home, but you can add it to a water bottle to bring it on the go.


In addition to adequate water intake, electrolytes help to maintain adequate fluid balance in the body. For most healthy individuals, eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water is sufficient to keep your hydration in check.

However, increased water intake and electrolyte supplementation may be beneficial during periods of excess losses. For example, high-endurance athletes exercising vigorously for more than 60 minutes may benefit from increased water and electrolytes to replace what is lost through sweat. Sodium, in particular, can enhance fluid retention, helping you stay hydrated.

Exas says, “Unfortunately, the typical American diet is low in minerals that are important for hydration status. In cases where you have low mineral intake or where your minerals may be depleted (i.e., burnout, taking certain medications, overexercising), adding electrolytes to your water can be helpful.” Again, this may not be the case for everyone, so speak with a healthcare provider if you’re curious about your individual mineral needs.

Caffeine Content

There is often a concern about caffeine having a strong diuretic effect, but truthfully, caffeine consumption has been found to only have a minor, short-term effect. The addition of caffeine to a flavored water has more to do with whether or not you want a little extra boost of energy and how caffeine makes you feel.

Sweetener and Flavorings

It may be hard to drink enough water if you are used to drinking soda or juice, which tastes a lot sweeter. However, many of our picks provide plenty of flavors while leaving out sugar, so the transition to water may not be so difficult. We recommend leaning on the natural sugars of fresh fruit, such as in the fruit-infused waters listed above, or stocking up on our top pick, True Citrus, which skips natural and artificial sugars. Non-nutritive sweeteners like monk fruit, stevia, and sugar alcohols are other ways to provide sweetness, but not everyone tolerates them well.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is flavored water good for you?

    Not all flavored waters are created equally, so there may be some waters that are good options for some people but not for others. Flavored waters that contain added sugars may not be appropriate for someone with diabetes, for example. Other waters that contain added electrolytes and vitamins may be beneficial for athletes or someone who finds themselves nutrient-depleted, such as people who have just had babies.

  • Does flavored water hydrate you?

    Yes, seeing as the base of flavored water is still water, the science of hydration theoretically works the same whether you are drinking plain tap water or you decided to start drinking water with added flavor. Truthfully, there is not much research on whether or not the addition of flavorings like fresh fruit, juice, or non-caloric flavoring packets hydrate you any better or worse than plain water. However, for certain groups of people, such as endurance athletes or people who find that they sweat heavily, drinking flavored water with added carbohydrates and electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, may further improve hydration.

  • Can you drink flavored water if you have diabetes?

    Being well-hydrated is an overlooked aspect of diabetes management. Water is very helpful for overall blood sugar balance, but be mindful of sugars in water flavorings. If adding juice to your water, keep it a very small splash, for example. Or you may want to opt for products that use natural, sugar-free fruit flavorings like True Citrus or contain alternative sweeteners that are shown to have little to no glycemic impact, such as stevia, monk fruit, or sugar alcohols (allulose or erythritol, for example).

  • Does adding flavoring packets to water make it more or less healthy?

    This depends on the flavoring. If the flavoring contains upwards of 5 grams or more of added sugar per serving, then continuous consumption of that product over a day may significantly contribute to your added sugar intake. Water flavorings that provide electrolytes and other minerals and vitamins may or may not be a healthier option for hydration, depending on your needs.

  • How do I make flavored water?

    Making your own flavored water at home is incredibly easy! All you need is a large pitcher or a personal water bottle, preferably with an infusion insert, and your mix-ins of choice. Simply add fruit, vegetables (try cucumber), herbs, and other flavor elements to the container (you can give it a little mash with a wooden spoon to release some of the juices if needed), top with ice and water, and stir to combine. For a more robust flavor, prepare this pitcher the night before and enjoy your infused water the next day. You can also simply drop a few pieces of frozen fruit into your water, which both chills the water and adds flavor and nutrients. We like frozen berries or frozen pineapple cubes.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Casey Seiden, MS, RD, CDCES, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist who specializes in pre- and postnatal health for women, with a specific focus on blood sugar and diabetes management. She is the dietitian at Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates in Manhattan, and owner of the online private practice, Casey Seiden Nutrition.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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