Crystal Light: Is It Bad For You?

Crystal Light was first introduced to the masses in 1982 with five flavors —and now there is over five times that many. A representative for the brand said Crystal Light was always marketed as a "better-for-you" option, according to the New York Times. But is this true? Is drinking Crystal Light really "better-for-you" than other beverages? Here's what we found.

For those who are unfamiliar with the product, Crystal Light is a flavored powder that is supposed to be mixed with water. It adds flavor without a lot of calories, states Healthline. It comes in powder form as well as a ready to go pre-mixed drink. And although the different types and flavors vary in the amount of calories, the basic ingredients are relatively the same.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it's important to note that drinking Crystal Light can encourage those of us who aren't great at drinking enough water to drink more since it adds a bit of flavor to otherwise flavorless water. And staying hydrated is an important key element to proper organ function and infection prevention, notes Harvard Health Publishing.

The ingredient list isn't exactly rich in nutrients

Healthline shares the basic ingredients for Crystal Light include: citric acid, potassium citrate, sodium citrate, aspartame, magnesium oxide, and maltodextrin. All of these listed ingredients are categorized as either preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food additives, or stabilizing agents — not exactly the staples of a healthy diet. One of these ingredients is especially controversial. Healthline claims that aspartame is a popular artificial sweetener that is made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. And while it does have the FDA's seal of approval, there are many who believe it could be harmful and argue that its consumption is linked to headaches, seizures, dizziness, and birth defects. Currently, there is ongoing research to find more truth to these claims.

So is Crystal Light bad for you? We can't exactly call it a "healthy" beverage, as the majority of its ingredients offers next to zero nutrients for the body, but if mixing Crystal Light into your water causes you to drink more H20, then that might be a good thing.