If you’ve followed the keto lifestyle, you inevitably get to a point where you get bored of having to limit yourself to the same or exact foods and drinks every day.
This is especially true for your drink options, as drinking pretty much just water can get boring and fast.
A prevalent option that you may have seen conversations mentioned or heard about is drinking Crystal Light, which many keto disciples swear by.
However, is Crystal Light compatible with keto in real life? Read on for the facts about it.
Crystal Light is a low- or zero-calorie powdered drink blend marketed as a convenient way to break boredom with plain water and stay hydrated.
Its ingredients vary by variety but are generally a combination of alternative sweeteners, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors.
Its major goal is to offer a drink that is supposedly healthier to consume than soft drinks but has sweetness properties many times stronger than glucose or sucrose.
Kraft Foods has made it easy for Crystal Light available in convenient single-serving takeaway packs, multi-serving packs, and a model that is particularly suitable for use in carbonated beverage machines.
However, it offers powder powders that use sugar and natural colors and flavors instead, without preservatives.
Why The Crystal Light?
Well, aside from the apparent reason for getting tired of consuming water over and over, Crystal Light seems like a pretty attractive alternative to consumers given some of its best-selling outlets, including:
Shallow in calories.
When deciding to buy a new supplement or consumable, most people look at the nutrition label. And Crystal Light doesn’t disappoint.
Classic Crystal Light or single-serving takeaway varieties typically produce five calories or less per serving, which in today’s world can be considered to be zero.
Low sugar content.
It is probably also external in sugar/fat if something is shallow in calories. This is due to the type of sweeteners used in its formulation when it comes to Crystal Light.
Sugar substitutes are often classified as non-nutritive because they produce meager caloric amounts or cannot be digested or either broken down by the body once consumed.
Comfortable and discreet.
We all have guilty pleasures, don’t we? If you follow a strict nutritional schedule, you can imagine the frown you would encounter if you walked around with a bottle of a brightly colored drink, presumably high in sugar.
Judgment aside, Crystal Light can help you satisfy cravings when they arrive, as they can easily be transported in convenient single-serving packs. In this way, when the need arises, add a sachet to the water and consume it. It is no longer necessary to measure portions and then store them in plastic packaging.
Ingredients Used in Crystal Light.
When you read the list of ingredients included in Crystal Light, you will likely notice differences in what they contain depending on the flavor you choose.
These are some of the more common elements you will probably find in Crystal Light and what they serve in all the products.
This artificial sweetener is among the most known in the world today, having been accepted by the FDA in 1976 for use based on its low calorie but charming nature.
Compared to a gram for gram, it’s 200 times sweeter than table sugar, which means you also need less to sweeten what you’re about to consume.
In terms of overall safety, it is approved by many of the world’s leading health regulatory bodies, among them is the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the FDA, l ‘Association of American Dietitians, and the American Heart Association, to name a few.
Often featured on labels as Acesulfame K, or simply Ace-K, this is another artificial sweetener that’s about 200 times sweeter than table sugar. It was also accepted by the FDA for human consumption in 1998, after nearly two decades of testing.
While it might be expected to be thoroughly revised after all this time, the fact remains that not many studies have yet been conducted, and for this reason, critics are generally wary of it.
It is potentially carcinogenic (promotes cancer), can kill probiotic cultures that live in the gut, and can affect young children while they are in the womb. Therefore, you should avoid products with this sweetener during pregnancy.
Truvia is the brand name of a sweetener produced by The Coca-Cola Company, made from the leaves of the Stevia plant. When stevia leaves are immersed in hot water, a compound known as rebaudioside A is obtained. Pure rebaudioside A is much sweeter than Stevia, which has a bitter aftertaste, so it seems like a better option.
However, the rebaudioside A found in Truvia represents only 0.5% of the actual product; the rest is erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol.
Erythritol itself is only 70% sweeter than table sugar and is more likely to cause digestive disorders such as bloating or diarrhea (a property of many sugar alcohols).
Maltodextrin is not a non-nutritional sugar substitute, as it produces the same four calories per gram as table sugar also has. It also has a very high rate of glycemic index, which means it can negatively affect your blood glucose level.
It is made almost from genetically modified corn, but it can also serve as a filler, binding agent, or preservatives when used for purposes other than just sweetening.
Like sugar alcohols, it could also cause digestive upset and negatively affect the health of gut bacteria.
It is used as a preservative and to soften sweet flavors. Citric acid gives it a distinctive slightly sour to sour taste, which is needed to improve overall palatability.
Does Crystal Light Contain Carbs?
Most varieties of Crystal Light contain 0g of carbohydrates/sugars as indicated on the nutrition label. While this sounds like a good thing to you, this is only a superficial assessment; as you will discover later in this article that, there are ways that Crystal Light still affects blood sugar.
Crystal Light is the closest thing to a calorie-free drink that can replace water as you’d expect, although the effects on your body aren’t relatively as pure. A typical Crystal Light nutrition label specifies the following:
- Calories per serving: between 3 and 15
- Total carbohydrates: 0 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Sugars: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Fat: 0 g
The curious among you may have noticed that if everything shows 0g, how come it still contains calories? This is related to the point we indicated earlier, where it is allowed to indicate values of macronutrients 0g, although the products can contain up to 0.5 g.
Other minuscule macronutrient values can also increase your total calories per serving, so keep that in mind.
Is Crystal Light Harmful to You?
At this point, after reading, you may be wondering if Crystal Light is harmful to you. This is a question that can spark passionate discussions on both sides of the barrier.
On the one hand, some analyze what available based literally on what the label says is. On the other hand, there are “conspiracy theorists” or highly competent specialists in nutrition and endocrinology.
First, let’s take the corner of people analyzing nutrition labels. Looking at it, Crystal Light appears like a water substitute dream. After all, it tastes great.
Its sweetness is comparable to that of sugar-rich beverages, and many international and government health regulators have approved the ingredients in the formulation as safe for consumption.
So a reasonably logical assessment at this point is that it is fair game to consume as needed.
On the other hand, some people don’t just take nutrition labels by face value but go deeper into the analysis of each ingredient, looking for reports of irregularities.
Specialists in nutrition and endocrinology also tend to observe how components affect the body and generally confirm the fears of skeptics.
So what’s up? To appreciate the answer to this question, you need to look at it from both perspectives: short-term and long-term.
In the short term, I do not doubt that Crystal Light is perfect for consumption. Having an occasional drink won’t have any adverse effects on your body.
However, the game changes entirely if you plan to incorporate it into your daily routine heavily.
Is Crystal Light Keto Friendly?
Crystal Light is technically keto-friendly, as its macronutrient profile may appear to have little influence on achieving and maintaining ketosis.
Unbeknownst to you, however, the alteration of metabolism and hormones may be at play, making it more difficult to use fat as fuel.
On top of that, Crystal Light is loaded with several additional scream artificial flavors and coloring agents, although they can be classified as natural because the source was plant-based.
This is another crucial loophole when it comes to categorizing food additives, as anything that undergoes significant processing must be labeled as artificial.
You should also seriously consider the potential adverse effect profile for each. There is no guarantee that the opponent will happen to you, but keep that in mind.
Aspartame, for example, accounts for the majority of adverse reactions to food additives that people experience and report to the FDA. You guessed it, and it can be found in Crystal Light.
The many other sugar substitutes, such as sucralose, disrupt digestive health, promote systemic inflammation, and can end up making you sick, just like cancer.
If you are tired of drinking water all day, the best thing to do is drink hot or cold tea, possibly sweetened with Stevia, which seems to be one of the safest sweeteners and what we can call genuinely natural.
You can also try adopting a cyclical ketogenic diet, also known as ERC, which follows the ketogenic diet principles at all times EXCEPT when exercising outside the window.
This means you can strategically have some carbohydrates (even sugar to preserve sanity) after completing your workout and a smaller but slow-digesting sensitive carbohydrate with your pre-workout meal.
Crystal Light is keto-friendly, looking at it from a purely current perspective, but at the end of it all, it’s not worth the sweet short-term gratification when it paves the way for endless health complications along the way.
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