Why TikTok’s Obsession With Water May Not Be As Healthy As It Seems | appencode.com

Why TikTok’s Obsession With Water May Not Be As Healthy As It Seems

TikTok True or False is the answer to your burning questions about the health, beauty, and fitness fads taking over your social feeds. Each story breaks down a buzzy wellness trend with the help of experts and scientific research to uncover the truth and safety behind the viral “advice” you see online. You’ll never have to wonder what’s actually legit — or what to skip — again.

TikTok has no shortage of nutrition trends and hacks, from high-protein ice cream (one we can really get behind!) to nutritious green goddess salads. And while many of the creative and fascinating ideas encourage people to eat more of what fuels and nourishes them, some less-than-stellar ones are going viral on the app. One such wolf in sheep’s clothing is the #WaterTok trend, which, while it has merit in promoting drinking more water, some of the methods recommended may do more harm than good.

If #WaterTok hasn’t graced your FYP yet, here is the lowdown: TikTokers are loading up water with sugary or artificially sweetened syrups, powders, and additives to create obnoxious-sounding concoctions such as Nerds Ocean Water, some of which are made with an entire cup of sugar. These sweet, brightly-colored beverages are celebrated as ways to get people to drink more water and hit their hydration goals—but is it safe?


Most people know staying hydrated is a health and beauty tonic that’s pretty crucial to well-being. After all, water makes up 60 to 70% of the human body weight, and bodily systems such as metabolism relies on water to function. While the body is pretty decent at balancing your water and mineral levels, ensuring optimal hydration in your body has a ton of benefits.

“Water is essential to the body in order to maintain proper functions, such as regulation, cleansing, and moisturizing. Dehydration or lack of water can cause many side effects ranging from headaches all the way to kidney dysfunction,” says Allyson Brigham, R.D.

What is WaterTok?

The WaterTok trend involves people trying to boost hydration by mixing 40 ounces of water with powders to add flavor and color to their beverage, ultimately motivating them to drink more and hit their hydration goal. Several types of syrups and powdered flavorings are added to water to improve the taste of “plain” water, all brightly colored with fun names to encourage hydration, often flavored with zero-calorie sweeteners and artificial coloring.

“Many of these additions include artificial colors and flavors and don’t add any additional nutritional value to these drinks, explains Lauren Manaker, M.S., R.D., and nutrition advisor for Cure.

Commonly used WaterTok additives include Kool-Aid, white sugar, sugar-free syrups, and powdered drink packets in flavors like Nerds, Skittles, and Hawaiian Punch, some with sugar and others with artificial sweeteners.

Does WaterTok Work?

One thing WaterTok does accomplish is getting people to drink more water. Whether that’s a positive thing is questionable and depends on the circumstances. “This new trend can have some benefits in replacing high sugar-containing soda consumption in our population,” says Brigham. For some people, this can help reduce calorie and sugar intake to prevent chronic illness, according to Brigham.

However, while it may help people drink more fluids, it is unclear whether including large quantities of artificial ingredients ultimately causes harm to our bodies, according to Manaker. “These additions also aren’t making water any more hydrating. People may be better off either sticking to plain old H2O or leaning on an electrolyte solution to help promote hydration and add some flavor to a drink in a more natural way,” she explains.

Is WaterTok Safe?

The recommended amount of daily water intake differs from person to person and depends on individual body size, climate, health, and activity levels. On average, men need about 3.7 liters of fluids daily, and women need about 2.7 liters daily to maintain ideal hydration levels. Fluids include anything that comes from drinking and eating water-containing foods.

Although overhydration can be rare, in most cases, it is better to gradually hydrate throughout the day instead of consuming large amounts of fluids in confined amounts of time. According to Brigham, this can cause abdominal pain and hyponatremia or insufficient sodium or other electrolyte balance in the blood.

“Natural electrolyte beverages may be a healthier alternative to flavored mixes because they contain no sugar and are made with natural flavors. Additionally, the added electrolytes may promote cellular hydration even better than water can in certain situations,” explains Manaker.

If you exercise for long periods or sweat a lot, drinking a lot of sugary water without added minerals—primarily sodium- can be an even greater health risk. The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming 12 to 16 ounces of fluids every 5 to 15 minutes during workouts, with 300 to 600 milligrams of sodium added, and if you are exercising for 90 minutes or more (or in the heat), add electrolytes as well.

Other concerns include damage to teeth if using a lot of sugary additives and potentially adverse consequences linked to using artificial sweeteners to flavor the water. “Although the research behind artificial sweeteners is inconclusive at this time, some potential side effects include abdominal discomfort, such as bloating and diarrhea, as well as psychological concerns, such as disordered eating,” Brigham warns.

Drinking sweetened, syrupy beverages is a good way to hit hydration goals: True or False?

TikTok True or False: WaterTok

Whether jumping on the WaterTok bandwagon is a good idea depends on a few factors, including which specific ingredients people are adding to their drinks and how much of these flavored drinks they are drinking over time, according to Manaker.

“A once-in-a-while cotton candy drink can be a fun change from plain water. But drinking it all day, every day, may not be the best idea when focusing on overall health,” says Manaker. While the Watertok trend can be a beneficial replacement for more detrimental drinks such as alcohol or high sugar-containing sodas consumed daily, it does not provide essential nutrients to be considered good for individual health.

Brigham suggests healthier alternatives to increasing and promoting healthy hydration, such as flavoring water with fresh or frozen fruits, drinking smoothies with added fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and getting water from fresh vegetables like salads or steamed and seasoned vegetables.

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