Colorful bottles of flavored water
Read The Label Twice Before Getting Flavored Waters
If you're not a fan of plain water and often opt for a flavored variation to hydrate yourself, beware of one stealth ingredient you may not know you’re getting: caffeine.
Besides labels that say "caffeine," flavored water may have words on the packaging like boost, energize, energy, pep, or power to let you know that caffeine is lurking.
Flavors labeled as green tea, black tea, white tea, yerba mate, or a coffee infusion probably have caffeine. The label may say "natural caffeine" or "plant-based caffeine."
If your goal is hydration, caffeine may be a counterintuitive choice. One can or bottle of flavored water with caffeine can easily contain 125 milligrams of it.
For reference, an 8-ounce cup of coffee has 96 milligrams, and the recommended maximum daily amount of caffeine consumption for adults is 400 milligrams.
Flavored water may also contain secret artificial sweeteners such as stevia, aspartame, or sucralose, especially if labeled "sugar-free" or "zero added sugar."
Some flavored water brands contain citric acid, which often comes from corn and can be an issue for people who are allergic to it. Some brands may also have food dye or coloring.
However, they might have ingredients you’re seeking out, like electrolytes, ginseng extract, or B vitamins. Be sure to read the label so you know exactly what you’re getting.