Let’s (tik) talk about #Watertok
Eating plenty of high-water and electrolyte-rich vegetables, fruits, coconut water, and bone broth are other options to maintain optimal hydration. If you don’t enjoy the taste of plain water, you can add flavor to water with lemon, lime, berries, or cucumber directly or with an infusion pitcher.
Tiktok trends come and go at the speed of light, so while some may consider this “old news,” we thought it’d be important to discuss the watertok movement and its relation to news about artificial additives from the World Health Organization.
First things first, what is #watertok?
The trend on TikTok shows people creating and sharing water recipes that modify plain water with flavor enhancers. These water flavor enhancers include flavored packets, drops, and syrups and typically have eye-catching names, like Piña colada water, unicorn water, or peach ring water. You might also see influencers adding electrolyte packets with a variety of sweeteners. More often than not, you can find a creator drinking their water cocktail out of a Stanley tumbler, which also has garnered popularity.
At Azuluna Foods, we’re all about finding ways to stay hydrated, whether you drink flavored water or bone broth. Why should you care about this trend and want to know more? Some creators are participating in this trend to lose weight or for health reasons. It seems pretty innocuous to aim to drink more water to lose weight or improve health, but many flavor enhancers contain artificial sweeteners or non-sugar sweeteners (NSS). Additionally, the amount and concentration of flavor enhancers added to water can reduce the hydration benefits.
What are artificial sweeteners? Artificial sweeteners are no-calorie or low-calorie artificial and natural sweeteners developed as an alternative to sugars. They are widely used as ingredients in pre-packaged foods and beverages and are added to foods and drinks by consumers. So, why is this concerning?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report warning against using artificial sweeteners. While the recommendation is conditional, there is evidence to suggest that artificial sweeteners do not help control body mass or reduce the risk of weight-related illness and may produce potentially undesirable effects after prolonged use, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Outside this report, the concomitant use of artificial sweeteners needs to be better understood and studied. So let’s take a closer look at the details.
The most common non-sugar sweeteners include acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, and other stevia derivatives. The main benefit of consuming this artificial sweetener is that it may reduce the caloric intake of sugar. Risks include the likelihood of overweight obesity and contribution to insulin resistance and DNA damage at the cellular level. The long-term use of these sweeteners needs to be better understood.
Another group of non-caloric sweeteners you might find in water flavor enhancers are sugar alcohols, including sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol, erythritol, and others. You can find these in toothpaste, chewing gum, and desserts; some are naturally found in fruits and vegetables. These sweeteners do not cause sharp rises in blood sugar, reduce the risk of dental caries, and reduce caloric sugar intake. In high quantities, sugar alcohols can cause GI upset and loose stool.
The WHO recommends against using non-sugar sweeteners in food or beverages for all individuals except those with pre-existing diabetes. What does this mean for you?
We encourage you to find a way to stay hydrated that makes sense for your lifestyle AND enjoyment. Not everyone enjoys the taste of plain water, and that’s okay! You know the benefits of staying hydrated, as we talked about in our hydration blog.
Daily liquid intake is also a great time to enhance hydration with nutritious substitutes. Eating plenty of high-water and electrolyte-rich vegetables, fruits, coconut water, and bone broth are other options to maintain optimal hydration. If you don’t enjoy the taste of plain water, you can add flavor to water with lemon, lime, berries, or cucumber directly or with an infusion pitcher. You can also mix it up with decaffeinated herbal teas, hot or iced, flavored ice cubes or pops, or electrolyte packets without artificial sweeteners.
There are a lot of trends to keep up with while trying to optimize your health and hydration, and not all products and sweeteners are created equally. So, we hope this blog will help you make the best-informed choices.