The 7 Best Water Flavorings of 2021, According to a Dietitian

How to chose a water flavoring that is right for you

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Best Water Flavorings

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Water is essential to help you stay hydrated, maintain optimal health, and reach peak performance. While the list of benefits should be enough to convince you to drink more water, there’s no denying that sometimes we get bored with the lack of flavor in our H2O. The Institute of Medicine recommends a total intake of 3.7 liters of water per day for men and 2.7 liters per day for women. This can feel like an overwhelming goal, especially if you don't love the taste of water.

Dr. Richa Mittal, Founder and Medical Director at Radiant Health, notes, "Adequate hydration has many benefits, including protection of kidney function, improved blood pressure and optimization of body temperature regulation." For those struggling to get adequate hydration through plain water alone, she adds, "Water flavorings like lemon, oranges or cucumbers, your favorite herbs, or even flavor drops you can add to water can offer a flavorful option to plain water and help with increasing water intake."

The good news? Adding a few drops of flavoring to your bottle could be the motivation you need to reach for your water—instead of a sugary drink—when you’re thirsty. Our nutritionist helps you pick flavorings that will boost—rather than hamper—your healthy hydration habits.

What to Look for in Water Flavorings

Formula

In general, you’ll need to choose between powder, tablet, and liquid flavorings. These three types of mixtures generally yield similar results in terms of flavor, so think more about how you plan to use the product. If you want something to carry in your gym bag, you might be better off with powder or tablet packets, which are compact and make less of a mess if they spill. If you prefer not to mix at all, try a bottled flavored water that's free of sweeteners.

Nutrients

Some water flavorings provide just that—flavor. However, others contain vitamins and minerals that will help boost your workout and recovery. You can turn water into more of a sports drink by choosing a flavoring that contains hydration-boosting nutrients, like vitamin C and electrolytes. If you're looking to add even more nutrition, consider using a water flavoring with greens powder.

Caffeine Content

Do you want to get more energy from your water flavoring? You can give your water an extra kick by using a water flavoring that contains caffeine. Just be sure not to overdo it, as too much caffeine can leave some people feeling jittery.

Sweeteners and Flavorings

Avoid products with artificial flavors and sweeteners. Choose products made with natural flavors and naturally derived sweeteners, such as fruit, stevia, and monk fruit extract.

Water Flavoring Dosage

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

There is no established RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for water flavorings drinks. However, there are established recommendations for total water intake for healthy adults. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends adequate intake of 3.7 liters (125 ounces) for men and 2.7 liters (91 ounces) for women, daily from both foods and liquids. Remember that some foods, like certain fruits and vegetables, contain a high percentage of water that counts towards your daily hydration goals.

The DRIs for total water intake (from both food and beverages) for individuals under the age of 18 years are as follows:

  • 4-8 years: 7 cups/day
  • 9-13 years: 9 cups/day for girls and 10 cups/day for boys
  • 14-18 years: 10 cups/day for girls and 14 cups/day for boys

It is important to note that adequate water intake is individualized and based on age, gender, activity level, climate, lifestyle, and overall health status. Additionally, you may need increased water intake during periods of excess loss due to sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is flavored water good for you?

    This depends on the type of flavored water. Flavored waters can contain added sugars and other additives that may not support optimal health. However, there are flavored waters on the market with health-supportive ingredients, and little to no added sugars, that can help to boost your water intake to meet your individual needs.

    Additionally, some flavored waters offer electrolytes that can help replenish losses during periods of fluid loss, for example during periods of excessive sweat loss from high heat or exercise.

  • How do you make flavored water?

    Some products come in powder or liquid form that you simply mix into water or add to smoothies. Other flavored waters come bottled and do not require any preparation. If you are looking to make your own flavored water, try squeezing fresh citrus juice, like lime, lemon, grapefruit, or orange, into your water.

  • Can you drink flavored water while fasting?

    Technically, if the water has any calories, it would break a fast. If you are flavoring your own water and adding something like fresh lemon juice, the calories added will likely be below 10, which on some fasting programs, would not be considered breaking fast.

  • Does flavored water have sugar?

    Some flavored waters contain sugar, either from added sugars or natural sugars from fruit. Others contain artificial sweeteners including sugar alcohols and other non-nutritive sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. Try and find a flavored water with no added sugar or sweeteners, or look for less processed sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science, as well as clinically tested and approved for use in humans. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. These attributes include non-GMO, Organic, and allergy-friendly products that are free of most artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. When possible, we recommend products that are third-party tested and certified.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

Here are the best water flavorings:

Best Overall: True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets

True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Packets
Pros
  • Contains vitamin C

  • No added sugars or sweeteners

Cons
  • Tart flavor not suitable for all

Lemon water is a tasty replacement for sugary juices, but it's not always easy to prepare. Keep things simple, healthy, and budget-friendly with these convenient single-serve packets of lemon juice. It’s literally just crystallized lemon juice, making it one of the most natural things you can add to your water.

One packet equates to a wedge of lemon, so you get the taste of fresh fruit with zero calories and zero grams of sugar. This enhancer has no artificial flavors, no preservatives, and it uses non-GMO fruit. A win all around.

Flavors: lemon | Servings per container: 32 | Calories per serving: 0 | Sugar per serving: 0 grams | Non-GMO: No | Organic: No | Sweetener: None

Best with Electrolytes: Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder

Ultima Replenisher
Pros
  • Contains all six electrolytes

  • Contains vitamin C

  • Flavor variety

Cons
  • Expensive

Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder is a great choice for a sugar-free beverage that will replenish electrolyte levels, hydrate effectively, and provide supporting minerals without affecting blood sugar levels. Sweetened with stevia, Ultima is a delicious, zero-carb powder that will boost the flavor of your water.

The Ultima Single Serve Variety Pack comes with 20 sticks in a variety of flavors, including cherry pomegranate, grape, lemonade, orange, and raspberry. The formulation also contains vitamin C, which can help boost immunity.

Flavors: Blue Raspberry, Raspberry, Grape, Lemonade, Orange, Cherry Pomegranate, Pink Lemonade, Watermelon | Servings per container: 30 | Calories per serving: 0 | Sugar per serving: 0 grams | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Sweetener: Stevia

Best with Greens: Amazing Grass Effervescent Tablets

Amazing Grass Effervescent Tablets
Pros
  • Contains antioxidant fruit and veggie blend

  • Contains vitamins C, E, thiamin, and B12

Cons
  • Contains sugar alcohols

Boost the flavor—and nutrition—of your water with Amazing Grass Effervescent Tablets. Each berry-flavored tablet dissolves easily in water and provides 350 milligrams of an alkalizing greens blend of organic wheatgrass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina, and chlorella, in addition to 22.5 milligrams of an antioxidant fruit and veggie blend. The tablets are packed with 100 percent daily value of vitamin C, E, thiamin, and B12.

With only 1 gram of sugar and 10 calories, the tablets are a healthy way to boost immunity, amp up energy, and alkalize your system. The tablets are sweetened with stevia and also contain dextrose and sorbitol.

If you're looking for more flavors, the tablets come in delicious options, including Watermelon Lime, Lemon-Lime, Grape, and more.

Flavors: Lemon Lime, Berry | Servings per container: 60 | Calories per serving: 10 | Sugar per serving: 1 grams | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Sweetener: Stevia, Dextrose, Sorbitol

Best Ready-to-Drink: Hint Fruit Infused Water

Hint Fruit Infused Water
Pros
  • Fruit-infused

  • No added sugars or sweeteners

Cons
  • Plastic waste

Skip the step of mixing flavoring into your water by choosing a ready-to-drink flavored water. While many flavored waters use sugar, sweeteners, and artificial flavors to create uber-sweet and unhealthy beverages, Hint water uses only purified water and natural fruit flavors to make delicious, refreshing beverages.

The fresh, fruit-infused water contains no sugar or calories and comes in a convenient bottle to take with you on the go. It's also vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, non-GMO, and kosher certified.

Flavors: Watermelon, Blackberry, Cherry, and Pineapple | Servings per container: 16 fluid ounce bottles | Calories per serving: 0 | Sugar per serving: 0 grams | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Sweetener: None

Best with Stevia: Stur Natural Water Enhancer Classic Variety Pack

Stur Liquid Water Enhancer
Pros
  • Contains vitamin C

  • Inexpensive

Cons
  • Some negative reviews for strong stevia taste

With tons of flavors to choose from, Stur is an exceptionally popular choice for water flavoring. It uses just a touch of sweetness, but In lieu of sucralose or aspartame, Stur uses stevia, a zero-calorie natural sweetener.

Not only will you get a nice fruit flavor in your water, but you’ll also get 100 percent of your daily vitamin C intake with these drops. They’re calorie-free, sugar-free, and keto-friendly.

Flavors: Fruit Punch, Strawberry Watermelon, Blue & Blackberry, Orange Mango, Pomegranate Cranberry | Servings per container: 20 | Calories per serving: 0 | Sugar per serving: 0 grams | Non-GMO: No | Organic: No | Sweetener: Stevia

Best Keto-Friendly: Sweetleaf WaterDrops

Sweetleaf WaterDrops
Pros
  • Flavor variety

  • Inexpensive

Cons
  • Contains additives

People on the ketogenic diet are more prone to dehydration, especially when beginning the diet. When the body is first adapting to the ketogenic diet, people experience fluid losses, which lead to less bloat and a reduction in water weight; however, the loss of fluid also leads to electrolyte depletion and dehydration. The dreaded “keto flu,” or symptoms of fatigue, headache, and dizziness, is thought to arise from these electrolyte and fluid imbalances (although more research is needed). 

Sweetleaf WaterDrops are a sweet solution for low-carb and keto fans everywhere. The Non-GMO Project Verified product is sweetened with monk fruit extract and stevia, which will not disrupt the sensitive ketogenic cycle like regular sugar and carbohydrates.

The tasty calorie- and sugar-free drops come in various flavors, including Mixed Berry, Lemon Lime, Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi, and Tropical Punch.

Flavors: Lemon Lime, Mixed Berry, Strawberry Kiwi, Tropical Punch, Peach Mango, Raspberry Lemonade, Tropical | Servings per container: 48 | Calories per serving: 0 | Sugar per serving: 0 grams | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Sweetener: Stevia, Glycerin, Monk Fruit

Best For Athletes: Nuun Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Nuun
Pros
  • Contains electrolytes and vitamins

Cons
  • Contains added sugar

When it comes to athletic hydration, Nuun is the go-to product. With a combination of vitamins and electrolytes (and sometimes caffeine, if you need a boost), it helps rehydrate the body adequately. These tablets are vegan and gluten-free and offer dozens of super tasty flavors and combinations of ingredients so you can choose what works best for your lifestyle and preferences.

Nuun electrolyte tablets contain only 2 grams of sugar, 10 calories, and are sweetened using high-quality stevia. The convenient tablets mix easily with water to create a hydrating, tasty beverage that comes in various flavors, including Lemon Lime, Tri-Berry, Citrus Fruit, and Orange. Each tube provides 12 tablets that contain a balance of 11 vitamins and minerals. They’re also soy-free, gluten-free, kosher, and vegan.

Flavors: Blueberry Pomegranate, Grapefruit Orange, Strawberry Lemon, Tangerine Lime | Servings per container: 12 | Calories per serving: 10 | Sugar per serving: 2 grams | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Sweetener: Stevia, Dextrose

Final Verdict

For a natural water flavoring that's convenient to carry with you and tastes great, try True Lemon Packets (view at Amazon). If you are looking for an option with electrolytes, try Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder (view at Amazon).

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8 Sources
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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