There are thousands of “healthy” drink brands out there—but if you look at the details, most of them aren’t actually good for you. Today, let’s take a look at Bai… Is Bai really as healthy as it seems?
Bai is relatively healthy, as it is sweetened with erythritol and stevia, not sugar or artificial sweeteners. Most Bai drinks only have 1 gram of sugar and 10 calories per bottle. Bai is also free of artificial colors, with added polyphenol antioxidants and added vitamin C.
Below, I’ll discuss whether Bai raises blood sugar, whether it’s good for weight loss, and more. I’ll compare Bai with soda, Gatorade, and energy drinks—to help you understand how it sizes up.
Is Bai Bad for You?
Here are the 10 specific questions I’ll be answering about Bai nutrition. Click any of them to skip to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Ingredients Are in Bai?
- What Are Bai Drinks Sweetened With?
- Does Bai Raise Blood Sugar?
- Is Bai Good for Weight Loss?
- Does Bai Have Caffeine?
- Is Bai Healthier Than Soda?
- Is Bai Healthier Than Gatorade?
- Does Bai Count As Water Intake?
- Can You Drink Bai Every Day?
- Are Bai Drinks Vegan?
1. What Ingredients Are in Bai?
Let’s start by looking at what Bai drinks are actually made of. Bai has quite a few different drinks, so we’ll be looking at multiple product lines.
I’ll share my takeaway points below the table:
|Bai Antioxidant Fusion (Brasilia Blueberry)||Filtered water, erythritol, blueberry juice concentrate, malic acid, strawberry juice concentrate, vegetable and fruit juice concentrate (for color), blackberry juice concentrate, tea extract, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), stevia leaf extract, citric acid, natural flavors, coffeefruit extract, sodium citrate.|
|Bai Boost (Togo Tangerine Citrus)||Filtered water, erythritol, citric acid, clarified orange juice concentrate, potassium citrate, tea extract, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), stevia leaf extract, natural flavors, coffeefruit extract, vegetable juice concentrate and beta carotene (for color).|
|Bai Cocofusions (Andes Coconut Lime)||Filtered water, erythritol, coconut water concentrate, citric acid, potassium citrate, acacia gum, natural flavors, stevia leaf extract, sea salt, tea extract, green coffee bean extract, malic acid, coffeefruit extract, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E).|
|Bai Lemonade (Burundi Blueberry)||Filtered water, erythritol, clarified lemon juice concentrate, citric acid, vegetable and fruit juice concentrate (for color), tea extract, blueberry juice concentrate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), stevia leaf extract, malic acid, natural flavors, acacia gum, coffeefruit extract, sodium citrate.|
|Bai Bubbles (Bolivia Black Cherry)||Filtered carbonated water, Bai® Proprietary Sweetener Blend™ (erythritol, stevia extract), natural flavors, cherry juice concentrate, malic acid, citric acid, fruit and vegetable juice (for color), coffeefruit extract, tea extract, ascorbic acid, sodium citrate.|
|Bai Supertea (Rio Raspberry)||Brewed tea (filtered water, tea), erythritol, raspberry juice concentrate, citric acid, potassium citrate, malic acid, natural flavors, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tea extract, stevia leaf extract, coffeefruit extract.|
Here are my takeaway points on these ingredients:
- Bai is sweetened with erythritol and stevia extract. Erythritol and stevia are natural zero-calorie sweeteners. They have a better reputation than artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. But there are still some concerns if you’re consuming a lot. We’ll explore those concerns below.
- Bai has caffeine. Caffeine may actually reduce risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But it’s habit forming, and too much can disrupt sleep. Most Bai drinks have 55mg of caffeine, but Bai Boost has a double dose (110mg per bottle). More on Bai’s caffeine below.
- Bai has added antioxidants. This is one of the main selling points of Bai. The drinks have added vitamin C and E, plus polyphenols from tea and coffeefruit extracts. This is a good thing—but in truth, antioxidants are typically more impactful when eaten in whole foods. So, don’t get too excited.
- Bai has no artificial colors. Many flavored drinks have artificial colors, which are controversial for safety. But Bai gets its color from fruit and vegetable juice concentrates. This seems much safer to me.
Overall, Bai’s ingredients are pretty healthy compared to most flavored drinks. Bai doesn’t have the same artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or high fructose corn syrup that are found in most soda and flavored water.
However, let’s take a closer look at erythritol and stevia in the next section. Can you trust these zero-calorie sweeteners?
- Does Bai have real coconut water? Bai Cocofusions are made with coconut water concentrate and filtered water. Personally, I’d count that as “real”—but it’s reconstituted from concentrate.
- Does Bai have alcohol? The current product offerings from Bai do not have alcohol. However, some people may use Bai in mixed alcoholic drinks.
2. What Are Bai Drinks Sweetened With?
Bai is sweetened with erythritol and stevia, which are natural zero-calorie sweeteners. Bai does not have artificial sweeteners like aspartame, or any form of sugar. Bai does not have high-fructose corn syrup.
There’s good reason to be concerned about how any drink is sweetened. Most sweeteners have been declared “unhealthy” at some point, by some health authority or other.
Erythritol and stevia (the sweeteners in Bai) are not nearly as controversial as aspartame or high-fructose corn syrup. So relatively speaking, it’s probably a better choice.
But there are still a few possible concerns with erythritol and stevia (and therefore with Bai):
- A study that compared stevia to sugar found that blood sugar averages were the same between the two groups. While stevia did not raise blood sugar immediately, participants who had stevia ate more calories at their meals, which raised blood sugar to a similar degree. See more about this blood-sugar issue below.
- Excessive consumption of stevia may increase mutagenic DNA damage. Research has found that our gut bacteria can turn stevia into steviol, which is toxic to us. Accordingly, the World Health Org (WHO) recommends limiting stevia to 4mg/kg of bodyweight per day. That’s about 2 stevia-sweetened drinks per day. (source)
- Erythritol can cause gas and digestive issues for some people. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. As such, it may cause some people to experience bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, or other digestive issues. (source)
So, these sweeteners are not necessarily “unhealthy” or “unsafe” in any dramatic sense. But just keep in mind, they are not totally inert substances. They can affect your body, especially if you consume a lot.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the blood-sugar issue.
3. Does Bai Raise Blood Sugar?
Since Bai is sweetened with erythritol and stevia—not sugar—we could expect that it doesn’t raise blood-sugar in the short term. That is, Bai should not cause a “blood sugar spike” after drinking it.
However, whether Bai will raise your blood-sugar in the long-term is a different question, and a harder one to answer.
As I mentioned above, one study compared stevia to sugar and found that they resulted in the same daily blood-sugar averages. Participants who had stevia did not have an immediate blood-sugar spike—but they ate more at meal-time, causing similar blood-sugar averages. (source)
But that’s not all. Research also suggests that many zero-calorie sweeteners can alter your gut bacteria in a way that worsens your tolerance to carbs on a longer-term basis.
For example, a 2014 study on rats found that “aspartame elevated fasting glucose levels and an insulin tolerance test showed aspartame to impair insulin-stimulated glucose disposal.”
Some authorities also worry about zero-calorie sweeteners causing blood-sugar issues through a whole different mechanism.
That is, zero-calorie sweeteners—including natural ones like stevia—can decouple sensations of sweet taste from the presence of actual sugar in your meal. This can make it harder for your body to properly “know” when it needs to release insulin in the future.
It’s kind of like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf“: With zero-calorie sweeteners, your brain perceives sweet taste, so it starts to prepare for a blood-sugar spike… but then the sugar never comes—it was a false alarm.
So over time, your brain stops preparing as much for real sugar when you taste sweetness, and your metabolic response becomes less sensitive and effective.
That’s the theory, anyway. For more detail, you can listen to Susan Swithers, professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University, on the Science Friday podcast. Or read her article in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.
In any case, proceed with caution. If blood-sugar control is crucial for you, don’t assume Bai is completely safe. And keep in mind that some effects may be delayed, via changes to your appetite at meal-time or how your gut bacteria affects your glucose tolerance.
4. Is Bai Good for Weight Loss?
Most of the sweet flavor in Bai comes from zero-calorie sweeteners, not sugar… And that means Bai only has ~10 calories per bottle. That’s pretty low!
Here’s one explanation: Artificial sweeteners keep you accustomed to sweet foods. So you still get cravings for sweets, and you end up eating more calories from something else. (Other explanations have to do with how these sweeteners affect gut bacteria.)
But what about the specific sweeteners used in Bai drinks (erythritol and stevia)? Well, the research is not fully conclusive at this point.
If you do some research on erythritol and bodyweight, you’ll find conflicting claims. Some studies link erythritol to belly fat and weight gain. Meanwhile, other sources emphasize how erythritol can help with weight loss.
Similarly, stevia was found to increase abdominal fat in at least one study—but that was a study of chickens. It also appears that stevia causes most people to eat more calories later in the day. So that could lead to weight gain for some people.
But practically speaking, zero-calorie sweeteners can help you reduce your calorie intake. So for that reason, Bai can potentially help with weight loss.
Bai is a good choice for weight loss compared to full-calorie juices and sodas. Especially if you drink soda or high-calorie beverages now, then switching to Bai could help you reduce your calorie intake. But drinking Bai will not automatically lead to weight loss.
Weight loss depends on your overall diet and calorie balance. So, if your goal is weight loss, you should consider (A) tracking your calories or (B) following some of these 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories.
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5. Does Bai Have Caffeine?
Bai drinks have caffeine from tea extract and coffeefruit extract. Most Bai drinks have 55mg of caffeine per bottle (18 fl oz). However, Bai Boost has double the caffeine (110mg per bottle), while Bai Bubbles only have 45mg per can (11.5 fl oz).
How does Bai’s caffeine compare to coffee, energy drinks, and popular soda brands? Here is a comparison table. Bai drinks are bolded:
|Bang Energy Drink (16 oz)||300 mg|
|5-Hour Energy Regular Strength (1.9 oz)||200 mg|
|Folger’s Classic Roast Coffee (12 oz)||120-160 mg|
|Bai Boost (18 oz)||110 mg|
|BodyArmor Edge (20 oz)||100 mg|
|Red-Bull (8.4 oz)||80 mg|
|Monster Energy (8 oz)||80 mg|
|V8 Energy (8 oz)||80 mg|
|MiO Energy (1 squeeze)||60 mg|
|Hint Energy (16 oz)||60 mg|
|Bai Antioxidant Fusion (18 oz)||55 mg|
|Bai Cocofusion (18 oz)||55 mg|
|Bai Lemonade (18 oz)||55 mg|
|Bai Supertea (18 oz)||55 mg|
|Lipton Black Tea (1 bag, brewed)||55 mg|
|Bai Bubbles (11.5 oz)||45 mg|
|Zevia Cola (12 oz)||45 mg|
|Coca-Cola (12 oz)||34 mg|
|Barq’s Root Beer (12 oz)||22 mg|
As you can see, Bai Boost is actually pretty high in caffeine, toward the top of the list. So it can really give you energy and potentially keep you awake. But the other Bai drinks are more mild in this regard.
For a larger comparison table of caffeine content, check out this page from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
- Is Bai an energy drink? Bai Boost could be called an energy drink, as each bottle has more caffeine than a can of Monster or Red Bull (110mg vs 80mg). Other Bai drinks have a bit less caffeine, with only 55mg per bottle.
6. Is Bai Healthier Than Soda?
Bai is far healthier than regular soda. Most soda has around 40 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can, which is around 160 empty calories. In comparison, Bai only has 1 gram of sugar and 10 calories per 18-ounce bottle.
I would much rather drink Bai than regular soda, from a health perspective:
- The non-caloric sweeteners in Bai appear to be safe and healthy for the most part—especially if you’re only having a bottle or so per day.
- Bai has added antioxidants.
- Bai doesn’t have the artificial colors that many sodas have.
Another issue to consider with colas (e.g., Pepsi, Coke Zero) are caramel color and phosphoric acid. These ingredients may be linked to cancer, osteoporosis, and tooth decay (source, source). Bai avoids both of those ingredients.
How does Bai compare to diet sodas, like Fresca? Well, most diet sodas have artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame-K.
In contrast, the natural sweeteners in Bai are considered by many to be safer. Whether they are actually safer is not totally proven, however.
I would venture to say that Bai is healthier than most diet sodas. But it may depend on the specific diet soda. Zevia is diet soda that is sweetened with stevia, so it’s really quite similar to Bai.
For the healthiest drinks, you may want to avoid all sweeteners. For example, take a look at Hint Water or Bubly. Those simple, delicious drinks are flavored only with “natural flavors.” No sweeteners at all!
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7. Is Bai Healthier Than Gatorade?
Similar to the answer above on Bai vs soda, Bai would generally be considered healthier than Gatorade. Why? Gatorade has quite a bit of sugar, along with artificial colors.
If you actually need the sugar and calories in Gatorade to refuel your athletic activity, then fair enough… But the sugar in Gatorade is excessive for most people’s needs. (source)
Of course, you could choose Gatorade Zero to avoid the sugar in normal Gatorade. But Gatorade Zero is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame-K, two controversial artificial sweeteners.
If you’re looking for electrolytes, you could go with Bai Cocofusions. It has ~360mg of potassium and ~65mg of sodium per bottle. That’s a similar electrolyte profile as BodyArmor sports drink (which also has coconut water).
Really, I’d say Bai is a better choice than Gatorade, hands down.
- Is Bai a sports drink? Bai is not typically labeled as a sports drink, but the Bai Cocofusions product line does have electrolytes, and the drink appeals to many sports enthusiasts who want a coconut taste. (source)
- Does Bai have potassium? Most Bai drinks only have about 10mg of potassium per bottle, which is barely any. However, Bai Cocofusions has ~360mg per bottle, which is ~8% of the daily value for adults and children over 4 years old.
8. Does Bai Count As Water Intake?
Bai can count as “water intake,” as the water in Bai still functions the same way in your body. However, Bai also has stevia, which the World Health Org recommends limiting to 4mg/kg of bodyweight per day. Therefore, you may not want to replace all of your water intake with Bai.
As discussed above, the stevia in Bai may cause mutagenic DNA damage if consumed in excess. Therefore, you should ideally only drink Bai in moderation—not as a total replacement for water.
All that said—yes, Bai drinks achieve pretty much everything plain water intake achieves, in moderation. These drinks are still mostly water by volume, after all.
- Is Bai hydrating? Bai is mostly water, so it will help with hydration. However, for acute hydration needs, you may want to choose a drink with lots of electrolytes, such as Pedialyte or other oral rehydration solutions. Bai does not have significant amounts of added electrolytes.
9. Can You Drink Bai Every Day?
Most people should be fine drinking Bai every day. However, the World Health Organization recommends limiting stevia consumption to 4 mg per kg of bodyweight per day. Therefore, you may want to limit Bai consumption in relation to your bodyweight.
You may especially want to limit Bai if you’re consuming other stevia-sweetened products, too. For example, if you drink a stevia-sweetened protein shake for breakfast and eat a stevia-sweetened energy bar in the afternoon, you may already be at your daily limit.
Again, the main risk of over-consuming stevia is mutagenic DNA damage. So always consider your overall stevia intake per day, and try not to go overboard on a consistent basis.
In short, Bai should be fine to drink every day—but I wouldn’t recommend drinking it all day every day.
10. Are Bai Drinks Vegan?
All flavors of Bai are considered vegan. They have no milk, eggs, honey, or other animal byproducts.
Bai even avoids vegan ambiguity when it comes to sugar. Many flavored drinks contain cane sugar that was filtered with animal bone char. But not Bai!
Bai drinks are fully vegan.
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