Is Crystal Light Healthy or Unhealthy?

Crystal light is a powder that can be mixed with water to give it a fruity flavor. It is a low or zero-calorie drink.

It is a brand with a wide range of drinks that come in a variety of flavors. They do not contain any nutrients and have low or no in calories along with no fat and no sugar.

It comes in numerous flavors just like juices, sweet tea, and lemonade.

Nutritional Status of Crystal Light

Crystal light is available in several varieties that include classics, tea, caffeine, and pure.

Crystal light does not use artificial flavors or preservatives. Instead, it uses cane sugar, dried corn syrup, and stevia, and also natural colors like turmeric or black carrot.

The basic ingredients present in crystal light are:

  • Citric acid, a naturally occurring compound that is used for sour flavor and preservatives.
  • Potassium citrate, a form of potassium that is also used as a preservative.
  • Sodium citrate that is used to enhance flavor and as a preservative.
  • Aspartame, an artificial sweetener
  • Magnesium oxide, which is a food additive that is used as a drying agent, color retention, and pH modification.
  • Maltodextrin that is a sweetening, thickening, and stabilizing agent
  • It has less than 2% natural flavoring, artificial sweetener, emulsifying agent, an artificial color, and preservative.

The nutrition status can vary depending on the ingredients present in it. Crystal light containing acesulfame potassium as natural sweetener, soy lecithin as an emulsifying agent, and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) as a preservative has the following nutritional composition:(1)

  • 5 calories
  • No protein
  • No fat
  • No sugar
  • 35mg of sodium.

Heath Consideration and Side Effects of Crystal Light

In most of the crystal light, artificial colors and sweeteners used are yellow 5, red 40, blue 1, aspartame, sucralose, and stevia. These have come in light with controversy in a few customers.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared these ingredients as safe, but some health experts do not accept them to be consumed for the long term.

Studies suggest artificial colors in foods and drinks are linked with allergic reactions, behavioral problems in children, and autoimmune disorders.(2, 3, 4, 5)

Aspartame present in crystal light is made of two main components i.e. phenylalanine and aspartic acid. These are the naturally occurring amino acids. Studies suggest that it could amplify the symptoms of people suffering from tardive dyskinesia, a neurological movement disorder.(6,7)

Aspartame is also not safe for people with phenylketonuria, a rare disorder in which phenylalanine accumulates in the body leading to neurological damage. (8)

Sucralose is made from sugar by a process that replaces 3 hydrogen-oxygen atoms with chlorine atoms. Some of the research indicates it can reduce insulin sensitivity and affect gut bacteria.(9, 10)

Stevia is a herbal zero-calorie sweetener that is derived from the stevia plant. It is known to affect blood pressure levels. It should also be used with caution by those suffering from diabetes.(11, 12)

Artificial sweeteners trigger headache and depressive symptoms and also increase the risk of kidney and heart diseases.(13)

Is Crystal Light Healthy?

Crystal light introduces a flavor to your day. It contains artificial sweeteners and colors.

It is not exactly a healthy drink and does not offer a health benefit, but is also not bad as other beverages available out there.

The crystal light pure option that contains more naturally derived ingredients is a better choice than those containing sugar. It can be enjoyed on occasions, but plain water always is a better choice.

It can be a choice for those who are bored drinking plain water and need some kind of flavor to their drink. This can also be done naturally by adding fresh berries, fruits, cucumber to the water.

Crystal light is a low or zero-calorie drink mix that can be taken to replace the boredom of drinking plain water. If consumed by a healthy individual, it may not prove to be of any problem. It has certain downsides to it for those with health conditions.

You can also flavor the water yourself by adding slices of fruits such as berries, cucumber, or seltzer water to it.

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