Nowadays, it seems like every drink you can buy has something sketchy in it. If it’s not sugar, it’s usually artificial sweeteners or colors. Even with sparkling water like Waterloo, some people say it’s bad for your teeth. Today, let’s look closer… Is Waterloo healthy?
Waterloo is a sugar-free, zero-calorie sparkling water that is generally considered healthy. Unlike other sparkling water beverages, Waterloo does not have artificial sweeteners, sugar, or any sweetener at all. It is also sodium-free.
Below, I’ll address whether Waterloo is good for hydration, weight loss, dental health, and more. I’ll discuss what is really in the “natural flavors” in Waterloo, and I’ll compare it side-by-side with diet soda and LaCroix to see which is best.
Is Waterloo Sparkling Water Good for You?
Here are the 13 questions we’re going to cover on Waterloo nutrition. Click to skip ahead to any of them—or just scroll down to read it all:
- What Ingredients Are in Waterloo Sparkling Water?
- Is Waterloo Good for Hydration?
- Is Waterloo Good for Weight Loss?
- Is Waterloo Healthier Than Diet Soda?
- What Is in the “Natural Flavor” in Waterloo?
- Does Waterloo Have Artificial Sweeteners?
- Does Waterloo Have Sugar or Carbs?
- Is Waterloo Bad for Your Teeth?
- Does Waterloo Have Sodium?
- Does Waterloo Have Caffeine?
- Is It Ok to Drink Waterloo Every Day?
- Is Waterloo Healthier Than La Croix?
- Is Waterloo Vegan?
1. What Ingredients Are in Waterloo Sparkling Water?
Let’s start by looking at what Waterloo actually contains. The ingredients are actually incredibly simple:
Waterloo Sparkling Water Ingredients: Purified Carbonated Water, Natural Flavors.
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- Waterloo only has two ingredients. I consider this a good thing. Many beverages have long lists of chemical-sounding ingredients. Many of those ingredients may be harmless, but it’s easier to trust a product like Waterloo that is simple and minimal.
- Waterloo is free of sugar. This makes Waterloo an interesting potential choice for dieters. It doesn’t have the calories and carbs usually found in sweetened drinks. Below, we’ll look at Waterloo for weight loss.
- Waterloo is free of artificial sweeteners. Most artificial sweeteners (and even natural sweeteners like stevia) come with possible health risks. At the least, the long-term effects are not fully known. But with Waterloo, you don’t have to worry about that.
- Waterloo has no artificial colors. Many sodas and other drinks have artificial colors. Since such dyes are controversial for safety and may cause hyperactivity in some children, it’s positive that Waterloo doesn’t have any.
- Waterloo has “Natural Flavors.” What does that mean exactly? We’ll discuss the details below, but it’s generally not considered to be unhealthy or unsafe.
- Waterloo doesn’t have added electrolytes. And that’s probably fine. Unless you’re exercising or sweating hard, you don’t really need extra electrolytes in your beverages.
Overall, Waterloo’s ingredients are not bad. It is rare today to find a drink that actually avoids all sugars, artificial sweeteners, sodium, and other processed ingredients.
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2. Is Waterloo Good for Hydration?
Waterloo is a fine choice for hydration. It is mostly water. The only ingredients besides water are carbonation and natural flavors. However, Waterloo does not replenish your electrolytes or glycogen stores.
Waterloo may not be the optimal choice if you are acutely dehydrated or at risk of dehydration. In such a situation, you may want to use an oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte, or sports drinks like Gatorade (or Gatorade Zero).
Why? Well, if you are really trying to re-hydrate yourself, you may want a beverage with added electrolytes. Waterloo sparkling water does not have added electrolytes.
In a sports situation, you may also want to replenish your glycogen stores with some simple carbs like sugar, too. Waterloo does not have any carbs.
Another thing to note: Just because Waterloo helps with hydration, that doesn’t mean you should replace all your water with it. Read the sections below on natural flavors and whether Waterloo is bad for your teeth before considering that.
But yes, Waterloo is hydrating. It’s mostly water. Waterloo sparkling water can count as “water intake” for most purposes.
3. Is Waterloo Good for Weight Loss?
One reason people choose zero-calorie drinks like Waterloo is to aid with weight loss. But this issue can sometimes get complicated.
For example, evidence shows that consuming artificial sweeteners is surprisingly ineffective for weight loss. Some evidence even suggests they can even cause weight gain. So, some diet drinks may be less effective than originally expected.
But is there any reason why Waterloo wouldn’t be good for weight loss?
Waterloo is a great choice for weight loss. For every 12 ounces of regular soda or juice you replace with Waterloo, you will consume ~150 fewer calories. That change alone could cause weight loss over time, even without making any other changes.
Replacing high-calorie drinks with Waterloo is essentially the same as replacing them with water, from a dieting perspective. The only other ingredients are “natural flavor” and carbonation, which don’t have calories or any known effect on weight loss.
But remember: The key to weight loss is your overall diet and calorie balance. If you switch to Waterloo but then eat extra snacks, you could cancel out the calorie-reducing impact and stay stuck in a weight-loss plateau.
If your goal is weight loss, you may want to track your calories as I describe in this post—or follow some of these 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories.
4. Is Waterloo Healthier Than Diet Soda?
Waterloo is generally considered healthier than diet soda. Diet sodas usually have artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium, which have been linked to possible increases in cancer risk, heart disease risk, obesity, and more.
I already covered some of the possible issues with artificial sweeteners above. But it’s worth digging into the details of diet soda nutrition a little bit more here.
There are some “diet sodas” that use natural zero-calorie sweeteners, like stevia. Stevia seems to have fewer problems, based on the research so far. But there still may be some downside, as I covered in my Zevia review.
There can be other sketchy ingredients in diet sodas, too. Diet Coke, for example, has caramel color and phosphoric acid. Both are controversial for their own reasons.
Maybe the controversy is overblown for some of these diet soda ingredients. They may be safe in moderation. But Waterloo avoids all those uncertainties by avoiding those ingredients all together. And I love that.
Waterloo is just carbonated water and natural flavor. It’s simple and pretty easy to trust. But some people are still unsure about that “natural flavor.” So, let’s cover that next.
5. What Is in the “Natural Flavor” in Waterloo?
Waterloo only has two ingredients: Purified carbonated water and natural flavors. But what are the “natural flavors,” really? It’s not normal fruit juice, as that would add some sugar and calories. (That’s why Spindrift has some calories.) So, what is “natural flavor”?
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find out exactly what is in Waterloo’s “natural flavors.” Here’s what they say on their website:
“All Waterloo’s natural flavor ingredients are derived from non-GMO, vegan sources. Oils, extracts, or essences from the named fruit (or fruits) on each variety are paired with complementary flavors to build our unique, bold taste profile. Using these powerful extracts and oils allows us to pack a lot of flavor without any sugar, sweeteners, or other unwanted additives.” – Waterloo FAQ
So, it’s partly “oils, extracts, or essences” from fruit—but it also includes “complementary flavors.” That is pretty open-ended. What counts as a “complementary flavor”?
Waterloo says their flavors do not have “unwanted additives,” but several flavored water companies have come under fire for exactly that. Consumers have expressed concerns about chemicals that can be legally found in “natural flavors,” like propylene glycol.
Propylene glycol is a food additive sometimes used as a solvent in “natural flavors.” Legally, it doesn’t have to be listed as an ingredient. Some people are freaked out by the fact that it’s also found in antifreeze and paint.
Some flavored water companies have faced class-action lawsuits based on the misleading use of “natural flavors” that include propylene glycol. (Propylene glycol is synthesized from fossil fuels.)
Of course, all the chemicals allowed in “natural flavors” are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA. So theoretically, there should be no cause for concern, safety-wise. (Propylene glycol seems to be harmless, for example.)
Still, some people may not be satisfied by a vague promise that there are no “unwanted additives” in Waterloo. If you prefer to know exactly what’s in your sparkling water, you may prefer Spindrift, which has real juice, not “natural flavors”
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6. Does Waterloo Have Artificial Sweeteners?
Waterloo does not have aspartame, sucralose, or other artificial sweeteners. Waterloo doesn’t have sugar or stevia, either. The flavors in Waterloo come only from “Natural Flavors.”
This is one of the appealing things about Waterloo. Many zero-calorie flavored waters have artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose. Although those sweeteners are FDA approved, there is controversy about their long-term health impacts.
Here are a few of the concerns with artificial sweeteners:
- Studies show consumption of drinks with artificial sweeteners was linked to three times higher risk of stroke and dementia.
- There’s evidence that rodents develop cancer when exposed to aspartame over a lifespan.
- Research has linked aspartame to weight gain and increased appetite.
- Sucralose seems to be a migraine trigger for some people. (source, source)
- Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners may increase insulin resistance through multiple mechanisms.
- A breakdown product of acesulfame K (acetoacetamide) may damage the thyroid. (source)
- And the list goes on…
Overall, the long-term health impacts of artificial sweeteners are not fully known. They do seem better than sugar, and they may be totally fine. But it’s awesome when you can just choose a drink like Waterloo and avoid all the uncertainty by not consuming them.
Side note: Erythritol, monk fruit, and stevia seem to be healthier zero-calorie sweeteners. But there are still some uncertainties about how the body reacts to them long-term.
7. Does Waterloo Have Sugar or Carbs?
Waterloo does not have any sugar or carbs. The nutrition facts label shows 0 grams of total carbohydrates and 0 grams of total sugars. This makes Waterloo suitable for keto and other low-carb diets.
Instead of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners, Waterloo simply has subtle “natural flavors,” which does not add any calories or carbs. This means Waterloo is okay for even the strictest low-carb diets.
- Can Diabetics Drink Waterloo? Waterloo is generally suitable for diabetics, as it does not have any carbs or sugars. It also avoids the potential problems with diet sodas that may worsen carb sensitivity over time with zero-calorie sweeteners.
- Does Waterloo Actually Have 0 Calories? Waterloo has 0 calories per 12-ounce serving. If you looked at a much larger serving size, it’s possible the natural flavors would have a very small amount of calories. But Waterloo is basically calorie-free.
- Does Waterloo Break a Fast? Waterloo does not break a fast, as it has no calories. Many people drink sparkling water during a fast because it gives a sensation in your mouth and throat that can help to satisfy hunger a bit (without calories).
8. Is Waterloo Bad for Your Teeth?
Research suggests unsweetened sparkling water like Waterloo is only “minimally erosive” to tooth enamel. Comparatively, many other flavored drinks are strongly erosive. Although Waterloo has “carbonic acid” from the carbonation, it is not very bad for your teeth.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. So, even though sparkling water is acidic, it’s generally not powerful enough to damage your tooth enamel.
However, many dentists acknowledge that regularly drinking sparkling water could still lead to some tooth erosion. Therefore, if you want to be extra careful, here are some tips for minimizing tooth damage from Waterloo:
- Don’t drink Waterloo or other carbonated beverages all day—instead, limit them to meal times, or just once or twice per day.
- Don’t swish your Waterloo around your mouth or hold it in your mouth for a long time.
- Consider drinking your Waterloo sparkling water through a straw.
- Rinse out your mouth with water after drinking carbonated drinks.
9. Does Waterloo Have Sodium?
Waterloo does not have sodium. The nutrition facts label shows 0mg of sodium, and there is no added salt or “sodium” ingredients. This means Waterloo could be a good choice for people on a low-sodium diet who like sparkling water.
Some sparkling water products may come with added “electrolytes,” or with “sodium bicarbonate” or other such ingredients. If you’re drinking a lot, that sodium could add up. But Waterloo does not have added electrolytes or sodium bicarbonate—so, no worries!
- Does Waterloo Have Potassium? Waterloo does not have added potassium. The Nutrition Facts label doesn’t specify the potassium content, but based on the ingredients, we can probably assume there is 0mg of potassium per serving of Waterloo sparkling water.
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10. Does Waterloo Have Caffeine?
Waterloo sparkling water does not have caffeine. It is not an energy drink. It is not advertised as providing caffeine, and none of the ingredients have caffeine naturally. Waterloo should not keep you awake.
Caffeine has pros and cons. Studies show it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But it’s habit forming, and too much can disrupt sleep.
Therefore, it’s not simply “healthy” or “unhealthy” for a drink to be caffeinated. It’s more complicated than that. That said, Waterloo is not caffeinated.
11. Is It Ok to Drink Waterloo Every Day?
There should be no problem with drinking Waterloo sparkling water every day. Waterloo doesn’t have any unhealthy ingredients or anything that would become toxic when consumed daily. It’s just carbonated water and natural flavors.
Personally, I have had sparkling water almost every day for years. It has had no negative effect that I’ve perceived, and I’m in great overall health.
12. Is Waterloo Healthier Than LaCroix?
Waterloo and LaCroix are nutritionally basically the same. They both have only carbonated water and natural flavors. They are both free of calories, sugar, carbs, artificial sweeteners, and artificial colors. They are both healthy.
Personally, I prefer the taste of Waterloo over LaCroix, especially when it comes to certain flavors like Lemon-Lime. But really, the taste is personal preference.
From a nutrition perspective, Waterloo and LaCroix are both great. And the same goes for Bubly, AHA, and any other sparkling water that is just carbonated water and natural flavors.
13. Is Waterloo Vegan?
Waterloo is considered vegan. It does not contain milk, eggs, honey, or any other animal by-products.
In fact, Waterloo may be even “more vegan” than many competing products, as many competing drinks are sweetened—often with cane sugar that was filtered with animal bone char. With Waterloo, there are no contentious ingredients at all.
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