Now that summer is here, so are the parties filled with sugary, flavorful drinks. Fruit punch, peach tea, iced tea, and sodas seem to be everywhere.
New keto-ers may find these events to be testing times during their transition to a ketogenic diet.
If you’ve searched for low carb alternatives to your favorite fruity soft drinks, you have probably come across a variety powdered drinks — one of those being Crystal Light.
Developed by Kraft Foods, Crystal Light is a low-calorie, gluten-free, powdered beverage targeted at people who want to avoid weight gain.
However, just like any other “healthy” processed food, Crystal Light is not as beneficial as it sounds. Here’s what you should know about it:
What is Crystal Light?
Crystal Light is powdered drink mix sold in different sizes: regular size, smaller variety packs called Crystal Light On The Go, and the more recent Crystal Light Pure (that’s supposed to be lower in artificial ingredients).
It comes in popular artificial flavors such as orange, lemonade, cherry pomegranate, raspberry lemonade, and kiwi strawberry.
Despite being marketed as a healthy beverage, it can be extremely sweet. Most varieties of Crystal Light contain sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and even regular sugar (depending on the specific product).
On the surface, the macros look impressive. Most Crystal Light options contain:
- 10 calories per serving
- 0 grams of carbs
- 0 grams of fat
- 0 grams of protein
It sounds too good to be true, right?
Well — it is. Unfortunately, the artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners in Crystal Light can be quite damaging to your health.
For example, take a look at the ingredient label for Crystal Light Classic Orange: citric acid, calcium phosphate, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), aspartame, maltitol, and less than 2% of: natural flavor, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, acesulfame potassium, xanthan and cellulose gums, soy lecithin, artificial color, yellow 5, red 40.
Those are a lot of ingredients in what’s supposed to be a healthy beverage mix. In this product alone, there are 3 different types of sweeteners.
Let’s unpack what those ingredients do to you:
Aspartame is one of the worst offenders. In fact, aspartame is responsible for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with aspartame consumption include headaches, dizziness, depression, fatigue, irritability, weight gain, rashes, anxiety, memory loss, joint pain and even the possible loss of taste.
Sucralose (also known as Splenda) is another sweetener found in some Crystal Light drink mix versions. It was once a seemingly harmless sugar substitute, but now we know more about its damaging effects.
While it used to be marketed as a natural sugar alternative, it’s actually just chlorinated sugar. Some of the harmful side effects of excessive sugar consumption include digestion issues, disruption of your body’s ability to absorb medication, increased risk of headaches and increased risk of allergies.
So if the ingredients in Crystal Light can do that… is it still keto?
Does Crystal Light Fit Into a Ketogenic Diet?
When it comes to deciding whether or not Crystal Light is keto friendly, there are a few factors to take into consideration.
Given its nutritional profile, does Crystal Light fit into your keto macros? Sure. It allows you to drink a typical serving while maintaining a ketogenic state due to its lack of carbohydrates.
…But is it good for you? That’s another subject.
Despite being low carb, Crystal Light contains artificial ingredients that can harm your health.
A few of the benefits of switching to a ketogenic diet include lower of inflammation, higher energy, and faster weight loss.
However, low carb foods filled with artificial ingredients (like aspartame) can hold you back from enjoying these benefits because they make your keto diet unhealthy and increase your risk of diseases, adverse reactions, and allergies.
So, even if this low calorie drink is technically “keto”, it doesn’t fit into a healthy ketogenic diet.
You’d be a lot healthier drinking iced green tea sweetened with a stevia-based sweetener, such as Truvia.
So Is Crystal Light Keto Friendly?
While most soft drinks available today are extremely harmful and not keto-friendly, it’s still possible to find some that won’t kick you out of ketosis — Crystal Light is one of them.
While you could drink Crystal Light on a ketogenic diet without fear of coming out of ketosis, this soft drink contains damaging ingredients that make it incompatible with a healthy diet. In other words, you shouldn’t consume it.
Crystal Light is keto friendly, but not suitable for a healthy ketogenic diet.