“Water Recipes” Have Taken Over Social Media, but Are They Healthy?

Updated: May 04, 2023

What you need to know about #WaterTok, the community of hydration enthusiasts who flavor water with powders and syrups to create new water-drinking experiences.

Water isn’t just water, at least on social media. Over on TikTok (from which all trends emerge these days), a community of hydration enthusiasts is sharing “water recipes” that use various artificial powders and syrups to create flavored waters. The hashtag #WaterTok (which is what the community has come to be called) has blown up, with more than 220 million views. People are even creating videos of so-called “hydration stations” in their homes.

Many believe the trend is putting the fun back into drinking water. After all, anything to get people drinking more water and staying hydrated must be good, right? But others, including some nutritionists, have raised a note of caution. There’s worry about too much reliance on sweeteners and also the whiff of toxic diet culture. Is #WaterTok just another hydration myth?

What is #WaterTok and what are water recipes?

On #WaterTok, hundreds of TikTok creators share videos showing off creative ways to flavor water using syrups, liquids and powders. Creator Keely Lindler, for example, posts a new water recipe nearly every day to her more than 230,000 followers. As she says in a recent video, “Good morning, let’s make a water together.”

@keelylindler Shoutout @Walmart for the best flavors 🙌🏼🤤 Lanyard is T’s Side Hustle on Etsy  #teacher #teachersoftiktok teachertok #teachertoker #teachervlogger #teachercontent #teachercontentcreator #teachervlog #water #watertiktok #watertiktoks #watertok #watertoks #hydrationation #hydrationtok ♬ original sound – Keely Lindler

Videos of “hydration stations” in people’s homes abound. A good example comes from wellness creator @jennaa.kathryn. Hers is a bar cart with a five-gallon water dispenser, bottles of Torani syrup of flavors from peach to strawberry to blue raspberry, and an organizer with dozens of flavor packets—along with water bottles at the ready—to mix up new water recipe flavor creations.

@jennaa.kathryn Watertok has pulled me in with my new hydration station #watertok #waterrecipes #flavoredwater #watertok2023 #hydrationstation #watercart #sugarfreewater #sugarfreewaterenhancer #watertiktok #flavoredwatertok #flavoredwaterathome #flavoredwaters ♬ Here Comes the Sun – HERDIANSYAH

Is #WaterTok healthy?

With the trend in full roar, some skeptics have stepped forward with concern. Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietician, says to stay away from artificially flavored and colored syrups. “Since these TikToks feature sugar-free syrups, the influencers don’t seem to be adding sugar to their water,” she told Today. “However, I do think that making your water super sweet isn’t great in the long run as it may put you in the mindset that all beverages need to be overly sweet and flavored to be enjoyed.”

One TikTok creator, Jess Majors, recently called out #WaterTok: “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all those little syrups and drinks packets—that you’re putting in every water you drink, every single day, all day long—are full of artificial booboo.” Majors suggested drinking one per day, and not having it be “your water intake all day long.”

@jesskmajors Well if this video doesn’t cancel me nothing can 😂 Bring it on water tok!  If you have any questions leave them in the comments or message me over on the gram 🥰 JKAT saves you 20% on your order @1upnutrition  #watertok #healthydrinkideas #1upnutrition #team1upnutrition ♬ original sound – Jess Majors ✨

Others take a more even-handed view. Dr. Amy Lee, a physician-nutritionist specialist and head of nutrition for Nucific, says she sees little harm in the #WaterTok trend. “I don’t see any dangers in the promotion of hydration as most people don’t drink enough fluids,” Dr. Lee said.

Flavors, as long as they’re not sugar-laden, can help promote water intake. “I think our society just doesn’t like plain water,” Dr. Lee said. “The discussion of water intake has always been difficult because, frankly, water is boring. So if there are creative and healthy ways to get one to meet their water goals, it would be great.”

Dr. Lee does warn about drinking too much water in a short time period, however, which can lead to water toxicity, disrupting your body’s electrolytes. Meaning, yes, you can overdose on water—but you’d have to drink three to four liters of water in a short time to do that.

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