Not all sparkling waters are healthy. Some contain loads of sugar while appearing to be a healthy option. Others include questionable ingredients that could harm your health or hurt your weight loss efforts in the long run. Your time is precious, so I’ve read the labels for you. Allow this list to guide your healthy sparkling water choices so you know you’re always making a great purchase!
These lists will include sparkling water, seltzer, and sparkling mineral waters, and a few other non-soda alternatives.
The Offenders: Sparkling Waters That Are Not As Healthy As You Think
- San Pelligrino
- Sparkling Ice
- Polar Frost
- Vitamin Water
- Izze Fusion and Sparkling Juice (decent, but high in sugar)
- Gatorade, Powerade, etc
- Some store brands- read your labels!
Some of the questionable ingredients include
- Sugar: linked with weight gain, Type II Diabetes, cancer, mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and memory issues to name a few. Save your sugar rations for something delicious and not your sparkling water.
- Splenda: although regarded as safe, this sweetener has been very controversial in recent years. It’s inertness, ability to raise blood sugar levels, how it affects your gut bacteria, and how safe it is when heated are all under question.
- Sucralose: (See above for Splenda)
- Aspartame: also regarded as safe, but many people have experienced awful side effects from a reaction to this sweetener.
These are the most common ones I’ve seen on labels, but you can also be on the lookout for other artificial sweeteners: Acesulfame Potassium, Advantame, Neotame, and Saccharin.
You can come to your own conclusion about the safety of these, but research also shows that they could interfere with your body’s caloric regulation system, causing short-term weight loss but long-term weight gain. Other research shows that these will not help you lose weight unless you’re an avid calorie tracker and meal planner. And artificial sweetener consumption has been associated with Type II Diabetes diagnoses in non-obese adults. Yikes!
They can help you short-term to reduce your sugar intake and help with any withdrawals or cravings, but I personally wouldn’t recommend consuming anything that’s questionable- which I know is a full-time job! That’s why this list should make your life easier:
Healthy Sparkling Water Options
This list includes Sparkling and Flavored Water and Seltzer water. It is not an exhaustive list, but covers the top brands. Some are sweetened with stevia (which so far appears to be a safe sugar substitute), and others have no sweeteners at all.
Brands that are good:
- La Croix
- Hint “Kick” has caffeine
- Zevia (has a soda alternative as well as a sparkling water to choose from)
- Polar Seltzer
- Arrowhead Sparkling
- Poland Springs Sparkling
- Bai Bubbles
- Topo Chico Sparkling Mineral Water
- Coconut Water is all the rage right now, and Zico is a great choice!
- Some store brands are cheaper and acceptable- read your labels!
If packets to dump into a water bottle are on your list, most are crap. Go with:
- Crystal Light Pure
- Ultima Refresher (more like a Gatorade)
How to Read Your Labels
If your brand isn’t on here, or you’re hoping to buy your grocer’s affordable store brand, here’s what to check for:
- Calories: you want as close to zero as possible, since that’s a common option :)
- Serving size: double check to make sure a serving size is 1 can or bottle so you’re not unknowingly drinking 2x the calories or sugar that you thought you were
- Ingredients: healthy ingredients will include something like carbonated water, natural flavors
- Stevia might be a sweetener (sometimes written: stevia leaf extract) – it’s not unhealthy necessarily, but if you think it’s gross, shoot for a sparkling water with no sweetener at all
- Unhealthy ingredients to watch out for: splenda, sucralose, aspartame, sugar, the other artificial sweeteners mentioned above, really anything weird that’s not carbonated water and natural flavors!
- Natural flavors can be questionable, but I’m not going there because they are in everything! If you’re concerned, check the company’s website, contact them, or just choose La Croix!
If it has anything questionable, look for another choice.
Is Sparkling Water Safe to Drink?
Carbonated water has gotten a bad rap when it comes to bone health, but a recent observational study has cleared its name. Colas, not carbonated water, are associated with lower bone mineral density.
Crentist the Dentist
As for your pearly whites, it seems that plain sparkling water damages teeth only slightly more than still water, but 100 times less than sugar soft drinks. Studies show that sugary beverages, whether carbonated or not, are the ones to watch out for. Many people drink these to avoid soda, so this is still a better choice. If you’re concerned, rinse your mouth out after, or fight cravings even more by brushing your teeth more frequently throughout your day!
BPA and Blood Pressure
Ugh. I’m so tired of talking about BPA, but here we are again. Some studies and organizations claim it’s safe. Others show it causes a spike in blood pressure for up to 2 hours after consuming. It’s also suggested that BPA could disrupt your thyroid hormone.
BPA is found in both cans and plastic bottles. To avoid altogether, find a brand that produces in glass bottles, like Perrier, Voss, or Topo Chico (or La Croix if you’re a WI local- WHAT). This would be something to consider if you already have high blood pressure or thyroid concerns. I personally just limit myself to one a day, and I get my vitals checked a few times a year at various doctor appointments!
Good news! Sparkling waters have been linked with improved swallowing, improved digestion, improving heart health, and increasing feelings of fullness. Yippee! I personally have seen it used as great tool for many of my clients to decrease soda and sugar consumption and help with cravings.
You Do You
If you’re turning to flavored or sparkling water to kick your soda habit, it might help to start out with something sweetened with stevia or a little bit of sugar and work your way down to no sweetener! Do what you gotta do to be healthy! :) Sometimes it’s cold turkey, sometimes it’s baby steps. Do what works for you.
If the idea of reading labels or buying glass bottles stresses you out, just start where you are and go from there. It’s a healthy journey, not a healthy standardized test where you have one shot to know everything. Chill out and go at your own pace. Grab a six pack of one of the healthy options above and go from there.
I’d love to answer any questions you have about this, and please share with your friends who may be choosing an unhealthy option! Reading labels can be frustrating, so I’m hoping that highlighting go-to brands can help!
Psssst: If fighting hunger and/or being healthy is your goal, download my free Real Food Reset Meal Plan– dinner’s ready in 30 min or less ;)
Share with me your go-to brands in the comments! And pin or share this for easy access.
Friend, some of these links are connected to my affiliate program. Thanks for using them, of course at no extra cost to you. Isn’t life grand?!
I’ve learned a lot in reading this. Thanks for sharing this very informative post. The knowledge gained here will be very useful.
I have been drinking Schweppes black cherry seltzer water. Just carbonated water with natural flavoring. Also Clear American blackberry unsweetened..Wal-Mart brand.. I hope these are the healthy alternatives because I have a hard time with plain water. I enjoyed your info..
Thanks Laurie! I’m glad you found this helpful! Those two brands look good – free from unnecessary sugars and chemicals, yay! Great job making healthy choices. I know, water can be boring! Glad you’re still staying hydrated!
Clear American black raspberry from Walmart has sucralose in it. Is that still okay?
Hi Judy! I would recommend avoiding sucralose if you can. There are plenty of options that have just carbonated water and natural flavors, so finding one without that questionable ingredient should be easy (and worth it, in my opinion!). Thanks!
The Clear American brand of sparkling water in the WHITE boxes with colored print for the flavors, DO NOT HAVE sucralose. The SOLID color boxes have the sucralose. The only ingredients in the WHITE box Clear American sparkling waters is Carbonated Water, Natural Flavors All zero’s.
Here is the link to Walmarts Clear American Blackberry. Click all the pictures views to see the Ingredients and the label.
Clear American has aspartame it’s on the label
Clear American has aspartame it’s on the label
Hi – This info was helpful. I tried one today called “So Clear”. It says ingredients are sparkling water and natural flavors. The one I have is pomegranite and is very good. I tried to find out if this had other ingredients not listed – like aspertame and chemicals but could not find anything on it. Can you tell me if this is a good brand of sparkling water. I don’t drink soda every day – but my husband does so I want to get him a healthy alternative. Thanks.
Hi Joyce! Companies are required to put those things on the ingredient list, so if it just says those two things, you picked a good one! :) “Natural flavors” don’t need to be disclosed, but they aren’t usually chemicals. I don’t ever stress about those, but you can always email the company to find out what’s in them and if they are using real fruit to flavor the water, for example :) Thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad you found a water you like!
What if it only has carbonated water and natural flavors listed as ingredients and has 0 on everything like calories and sugar
They are required to list everything except what’s in the natural flavors on the label. So, if that’s all it says, you should be good! :) Thanks for your comment Cati!
Thanks for the info! I just started drinking bubly sparkling water. It only lists carbonated water and natural flavor. I like it so I’m hoping it’s a good one :)
That sounds like a winner, Linda! I’m glad you found one you like. :)
I started drinking Great American brand at Walmart. Mandarin Orange. I also like Weis brand raspberry looks like it has aspartame and citric acid. What do you think about these two brands?
Hey Carole! Thanks for your comment. I would actually stay away from anything with aspartame and/or citric acid. There are plenty of brands like the ones listed above that are just sparkling water + natural flavors that don’t have any harmful ingredients! I think Walmart carries a lot of the brands mentioned in my article. It looks like Walmart also carries the Deer Park brand that has only good ingredients, too :) It may take a few tries to find one without artificial sweeteners that you like, but once you find it it will be so worth it!!!
Tried pretty much all on your list (except Bai Bubbles) … and Topo Chico beats them all. And then, we are also limited by what we can find here in our stores. For me the only sparkling water that can compete with Topo Chico is a sparkling water from Croatia, called “Jamnica”. Anyways, I guess what we like it’s so much more personal.
(BTW, a typo in the paragraph starting with “BPA is found …”, where Topo Chico brand is written as Topo Loco).
Thanks for your comment! You’re right, it’s definitely a personal preference! Croatia is on my list of places I want to visit, so I’ll be on the lookout for Jamnica whenever I get there :) Glad you like Topo Chico, and thanks for noticing that typo! Oh goodness, how did I miss that!
Hi I love to drink sparkling water from food lover’s no sugar but flavoured it taste natural . what do you think
Hey Pat! It sounds good if it has no sugar, but you’d have to read the label to make sure it only contains sparkling water and natural flavors :) Some that have no sugar have artificial sweeteners, which I don’t consider healthy. You can look for splenda or aspertame on the ingredients list, and I’d suggest avoiding those.
Thanks for this article- I gave up my Diet Coke habit with the aid of Sparkling ICE flavors. Now, to give up the ICE w/ some from your list. I’m sure there’s one for me.!
Thanks for your comment, Jean! Way to go giving up Diet Coke!!! That’s huge! I am sure you can find one that you like! Waterloo is one of my new favorite brands, too, but some of these others are a little cheaper. Best of luck!!
I purchased Klarbrunn Sparkling water from a local grocery store. I put a slice of lemon or lime in it. Ingredients are stated as carbonated water only. This a safe one? It’s prepared by Wis-Pak, inc. in Watertown, Wisconsin. Great questions and your responses are very helpful here, thanks Doc!!
Sounds like it’s safe! That ingredient list is key! That’s great you’re adding your own natural fruit, too, Gaylen! Thanks for your comment! :) Glad it was helpful!
What about the Walmart brand of Clear American Sparkling Waters? Would you please provide information regarding its “healthiness?” Thank you!
It looks like that brand has aspertame, so I would stay away. The label shows it has way more ingredients than needed for a healthy sparkling water, so I would say find a new brand for a healthier option!
You recommend Crystal Light Pure, however, the ingredients contain sugar & citric acid.
Crystal Light is sweetened with a combination of aspartame, acesulfame potassium, Sucralose, and/or sugar depending on the specific product line and flavor
Thanks for your comment Lucy! I agree, I’d stay away from Crystal Light, but the Pure isn’t a bad option when it comes to the packets. Most packets are full of terrible ingredients… and these are ones commonly found in grocery stores that would be a better alternative. The sugar is only 2g which isn’t terrible compared to the other options out there, and avoiding citric acid is a whole other discussion, sort of like avoiding “natural flavors.” :-/ I’d definitely suggest going with the other options, but I was hoping to provide something that’s not so bad for packets. :)
How about Trader Joe’s Sparkling Water – Lime Flavor?? It says the ingredients are: Spring Water (carbonation added), Natural Lime Flavor with other Natural Flavors.
I started googling to see if flavored sparkling water was actually healthy or not? Just the ones that list: sparkling water and natural flavor as ingredients. You never really know. I’m a bit of an ingredient list reader freak, I stay away from sugar, fake sugars, stevia, artificial flavoring, etc.. So just wanted to know your thoughts? Thanks!
Hey Juliet! It sounds like you’re great at doing your research! :) Yes, the Trader Joe’s one should be fine, especially if those are the only ingredients.
What do you think about Ice Mountain’s sparkling water?
Hey Monique! :) I haven’t tried it myself, but from what I can see online it looks like the ingredients pass the test!
I recently tried Waterloo brand which was really nice, but now I found that Publix Super Market has their own organic sparkling water under the Green Wise label.
Oh that’s great to hear! I’ve only heard good things about Publix. I moved from North Carolina as soon as our new one opened! Wish we had them out here! Glad you found something that works!
I purchased a soda stream maker to make my own carbonated water to save money on buying ready made product on the shelves even if they may have good tasting flavors. What do you think of making your own carbonated water? How much healthier is it to make it myself?
Hey Daisy! How do you like your soda stream so far? From what I understand, a lot of the flavoring packets include chemicals and sugar. I would be careful to read your labels when you buy flavorings, or just search for a blog that explains how to flavor your own naturally! I heard that’s the best option, but we don’t have one. it’s definitely on my list of things I’d love to add to our kitchen, though! Sorry I don’t have much experience in this area, but it’s worth researching :)
I am using zephyrhills natural spring water, what you think ?
Hi Aziza! Is that just regular or sparkling? As long as it doesn’t have any of the ingredients mentioned or added sugars, I’d say it’s fine! I found the spring water and the label looked good!
What do you think of sparkling ice?
Hi Rocio! Sparkling Ice is mentioned at the top with other waters that have some added ingredients. You can find other options that are just sparkling water and natural flavors, which I would recommend over Sparkling Ice! :)
Why is San Pelligrino not healthy?
Hey Jonathan! Have you read the label yet? 32g of sugar for one can! Now, if you’re weaning off of soda I think this is a good step, but there are other options out there that are healthier and contain no added sugars :)
Natural flavors does not mean healthy and can mean anything. https://www.purefoodcompany.com/what-are-natural-flavors/
You’re right Jen! I mentioned that in the post- that’s going down an entire other rabbit hole and I couldn’t fit it in this article. I’d still recommend sparkling water with natural flavors over soda any day, though!
Thanks for a great article. Arrowhead black cherry is my current fav. I thought I heard a brief news blurb about La Croix containing something that was unhealthy. Any idea about that?
Hey Adrianne! I’m just not sure yet- it sounds like we won’t really know until the lawsuit is over. I’m hoping it’s not true- they have been one of the most transparent companies about their “natural flavors”! I read this article and found it helpful: https://www.cookinglight.com/news/lacroix-sparkling-water-lawsuit-insecticide-health
I am very addicted to the carbonated drink Bubly- is it bad for you ? I prefer it over just plain water – However I wonder if its bad.
I love Bubly Renee! I think it’s just as good as any of the recommended ones here!
Is Core peach mango a good drink
I often drink plain San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water. It has no added sugar, and provides some calcium. Also, we drink plain Gerolsteiner, which we purchase at Trader Joe’s. It has even more calcium than Pelegrino. My only concern is buying water in glass bottles that get imported from Italy and Germany. This does not seem like a good thing to do ecologically. Our local brand of seltzer is Polar. It is said to come from a natural spring, but I have heard that disputed. Also Whole Foods now has plain Italian sparkling mineral water. I often add a slice of lemon, or a dash of low calorie lemonade.
Hey Peggy! Great insight, and thanks for your comment! You’re right… buying imported things doesn’t seem too eco-friendly. However I would argue that’s still better than buying anything plastic.. since you know they’re going to ship that + 1 million other things regardless. I’m so glad you thought about that though and have been able to find alternatives! :) I have enjoyed polar, too.
I’ve been drinking Chek sparkling seltzer water for a couple of months. Label indicates “0” everything. Can I trust it? Solves Sosa problem.
Hey Dean! I can’t find that brand online to help you out, but if it says “0” and the ingredient list is good, you should be in the clear! It’s definitely better than soda! :)
Is crystal falls flavored water healthy
“Healthful” is the correct word to use here. We may become healthy by eating healthful foods. You’re welcome.
Loved the article. Is it a better idea to use a Carbonated Sparkling Water Makers like SodaStream?
I have been trying to research bone density loss with carbonated drinks. Above the article states, “…a recent observational study has cleared its name. Colas, not carbonated water, are associated with lower bone mineral density.” In the results of the study it says more studies are needed to confirm the results. I think your statement of “clears its name” is misleading. The study does not do that. That section in your article should be worded differently. I am, however, grateful you provided the link so that I know I need to continue finding more research instead of taking one study as fact. This is a common problem with reporting research. I am not trying to be rude. My spouse is a researcher and it’s frustrating to see results of studies used or reported on incorrectly. I hope this comment will only cause more reflection on how to report information accurately.
Thanks Hannah! If you look up other interpretations of that study you’ll find this is the general consensus. If you’re doing research, I’d suggest going to the ncbi website and not someone’s personal health and fitness blog. good luck!