In the last few years, many of us have become a little bit hydration obsessed. Now, there are water bottles with motivational messages on the side, telling you how much you need to drink by certain times to reach maximum hydration levels. There are apps to track our water intake and plenty of smart products that offer a little extra help with keeping track of our daily supply of H2O. And now, there’s also #WaterTok.
The idea behind the new TikTok trend is, essentially, to make water more interesting and fun to drink, helping us all stay hydrated. But how healthy is #WaterTok, really? And is this new trend vegan-friendly? Here’s what you need to know.
What is WaterTok?
WaterTok has emerged on TikTok in the last few months and involves people (mostly American Millennial women) uploading videos of themselves to the app filling up large tumblers with ice and water, before adding a number of different flavorings, syrups, and even creamers in order to change the taste and the color.
At the time of writing, a quick search for #WaterTok brings up a sea of videos—with more than 320 million views—each named things like “salted caramel apple water” and “peach ring water recipe.”
Is WaterTok healthy?
The base ingredient of #WaterTok recipes is, of course, water, which we should all be drinking on a regular basis. According to the CDC, there is no actual recommendation for exactly how much plain water we should drink daily, but the bottom line is staying on top of fluids is important.
“Daily water intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy status, and breastfeeding status,” it notes. “Most of your fluid needs are met through the water and other beverages you drink. You can get some fluids through the foods that you eat—especially foods with high water content, such as many fruits and vegetables.”
There’s no doubt that #WaterTok recipes help us stay on top of our fluids. But so does Diet Coke. “Is [#WaterTok] the same thing as drinking H20 au naturale? Personally, and professionally, I say no,” says Abbey Sharp, RD, in a video on her TikTok account @abbeyskitchen. “Assuming you’re choosing a ‘diet’ powder or syrup, then sure, it’s not like you’re downing a Stanley Cup of Kool-Aid every day. But if you don’t consider Diet Coke to be a replacement for water, then sugar-free flavored water probably shouldn’t be either.”
She explains that many of the flavors and syrups people are adding to their water contain citric acid, which can be damaging to tooth enamel, as well as food dye and artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and Splenda. “While safe, [these] can cause digestive issues in sensitive folks and ultimately should be enjoyed in moderation,” she notes.
So, while there’s nothing wrong with dabbling in a bit of #WaterTok, according to Sharp, “moderation” is the keyword here.
Can WaterTok be done vegan?
If you’re scrolling through #WaterTok and fancy giving it a little sip for yourself, there are many ways to make this fun trend vegan, as a number of syrups and flavorings don’t contain any animal ingredients. There are also plenty of plant-based creamer options, too. We’ve listed many of the best options below, but remember, some of the best water flavor enhancers come from nature. Think of the humble lemon or cucumber water, for example.
“As a dietitian, I would say if you’re struggling with water consumption, try adding some fruit, herbs, or veggies to regular H2O, and consume these artificial water enhancers occasionally, as you would diet soda or any other highly processed drink,” says Sharp.
Are TikTok’s most popular “skinny” syrups vegan?
One of the most popular additions to #WaterTok recipes is “skinny” syrup, which basically refers to super sweet syrups that are sugar- and calorie-free. And good news, most of the popular brands are vegan.
1 Jordan’s Skinny Mixes
Jordan’s Skinny Mixes is the go-to brand for many #WaterTok fans. And good news, most of its fun, brightly colored syrups—like Mermaid, Cotton Candy, and Unicorn—are totally vegan. Just watch out for options like the Cookie Dough Syrup, which contains dairy.
Find it here
2 Torani sugar-free syrups
Torani’s syrups, which include flavors like Black Cherry, Blue Raspberry, and Brown Sugar Cinnamon, are sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium (or “Ace-K”)—a mineral salt—both of which are considered vegan.
Find it here
Did you know you can buy a bottle of syrup from Starbucks? Vanilla, Classic, Caramel, Hazelnut, Cinnamon Dolce, and #WaterTok-friendly Sugar-Free Vanilla are all available for purchase at your local café (pending your store has enough stock to spare). Sugar-Free Vanilla is Starbucks’ only current sugar-free offering, but with nearly 16,000 US locations, a bottle is never far.
Find it here
Vegan water enhancers
Electrolytes are essential minerals, like calcium, sodium, and potassium. They’re called electrolytes because they have a natural positive or electrical charge when dissolved in water. LMNT’s powder packets are designed to increase access to electrolytes while forgoing all the added sugar of popular alternatives like Gatorade and other sports drinks.
Our picks: Salted chocolate, Lemon Habanero, Mango Chile
2 BareOrganics Superfoods
Arizona-based BareOrganics Superfoods creates a range of nutrient-packed powders, coffees, teas, and smoothie boosters. The latter—made from organic herbs and superfoods like apple cider vinegar and turmeric—can be added to water, juice, or smoothies to enhance the flavor, as well as help with digestive support and energy levels.
Our picks: Chamomile for Sleep, Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion, Lion’s Mane & Reishi for Focus
3 Skratch Labs
Sports nutrition brand Skratch Labs also aims to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat with its own Hydration Sport Drink Mixes. They’re not too sweet and will help to quench your thirst while nourishing your body (and tasting great) at the same time.
Our picks: Hydration Sport Drink Mix with Lemon Lime, Matcha Green Tea & Lemon, and Raspberry Limeade
4 Ultima Hydration
Cocktails aren’t just for nights out. These hydration powders are sweetened with stevia, with no carbs or calories, and are all inspired by some of the most popular cocktail (or rather, mocktail) flavors. Who says you need alcohol to have a good time?
Our picks: Appletini, Piña Colada, Peach Bellini
According to Waterboy, its flavored Recovery Formulas have been designed specifically to reduce the nausea, anxiety, and fatigue that comes with a hangover, as well as hydrate you, too, of course, thanks to its high levels of electrolytes.
Our pick: Strawberry Lemonade
6 Liquid IV
Liquid IV claims it relies on “cellular transport technology,” which is a precise ratio of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, as well as glucose, to enhance the body’s “rapid absorption of water and other key ingredients.” It has many different variations to choose from, including its Hydration Multiplier and Energy Multiplier options.
Our picks: Seaberry Hydration Multiplier, Mango Tamarind Energy Multiplier
Make it creamy with these vegan creamer brands
Another popular #WaterTok trend is adding in creamer to give your beverage a thicker texture and richer flavor. For example, this Cherry Cheesecake WaterTok recipe uses Cherry Nerds water flavoring, Vanilla Skinny Syrup, and French Vanilla Creamer. While most creamers on the market contain dairy, there are also plenty of vegan versions. Here are some of our favorite brands, but for more on the best coffee creamers, follow our guide here.
1 Califia Farms
California-based Califia Farms has no shortage of vegan creamer options. Keep it simple with flavors like Vanilla Oat and Hazelnut Almond. Or, if you want to get a little more creative, try Cookie Butter, S’mores, or Cinnamon Roll.
Find it here
2 Coconut Cloud
As you would expect from the name, all of Coconut Cloud’s creamer options are made with a coconut milk base. But that said, there are a handful of fun flavors to try, including Salted Caramel and Pumpkin Spice.
Find it here
3 So Delicious
So Delicious is known for its extensive range of frozen desserts, but it also has a small selection of non-dairy milks and creamers, too. The latter comes in two classic flavors, Sweet & Creamy and French Vanilla.
find it here