“How seltzer water became cooler than Coke”

“How seltzer water became cooler than Coke,” read the Washington Post blog headline in 2015. Sales of sparkling water have doubled over the last few years, while sales of soda pop have plum­meted. Gotta love those trajectories.

What’s driving the bubbly-water boom? It’s the new crop of no-sugar-added flavored carbonated waters.

There’s Dasani Sparkling, Nestlé Pure Life Exotics, Perrier, plenty of store brands, and our favorites, LaCroix and Spindrift.

You can always flavor your own by adding freshly squeezed lemon juice or cut fruit to plain sparking water. But if that’s not in the cards, here’s more about a couple of our favorites.

LaCroix

The only ingredients in LaCroix—it’s pronounced la-CROY—are carbon­ated water and natural flavor. (Watch out for sucralose-sweet­ened impostors like Glacéau fruitwater, which also contains food dyes, and cans of sugar-sweetened San Pellegrino fruit juice drinks.)

What we love about LaCroix: the flavors. Try Pamplemousse (grape­fruit). Or Melón Pomelo (cantaloupe pink grapefruit). Or Passionfruit.

Spindrift

“Sparkling water & real squeezed fruit. Yup, that’s it,” say the cans.

And that is it. That’s all the ingredients in Spindrift Sparkling Water. No added sugar. No sweeteners (artificial or otherwise). Just water and a touch of fruit juice (or juice and purée).

And we mean a touch. Juice comprises just 5 to 8 percent of each 12 oz. can. That’s no more than a couple of tablespoons—enough to deliver a delightful hint of fruit (and even a bit of pulp in some flavors), but only 0 to 15 calories.

Speaking of flavors, one’s better than the next. You’ve got Blackberry (our favorite), Cucumber, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange Mango, Raspberry Lime, and Strawberry.

The downside for both LaCroix and Spindrift: like most cans, the linings almost certainly contain BPA. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has ex­pressed “some concern” about BPA’s “effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current exposure levels.”

So think of LaCroix or Spindrift as a great occasional treat, especially in the summer. Of course, it beats sugary soda any time of year.

Do you have a favorite sparkling water? Let us know in the comments.

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20 Replies to ““How seltzer water became cooler than Coke””

  1. I buy and drink Crystal Geyser on a regular basis. It’s mineral water and the flavoring is natural flavor orange, lime, lemon and berry essences. Zero sweeteners and lowest cost on the shelf, atleast where I shop.

  2. My favorite sparkling water is my own filtered & then carbonated with my Sodastream machine. Sometimes add lime or lemon. Recently a friend gave us special ice cube trays. They hold a small slice of lemon or lime frozen in an ice cube. Requires some prep, but when you want a drink, you just toss in a couple. Inexpensive great water😋

  3. Is it bad for your teeth ? I have heard it might be. Please confirm.

    How about Gerolsteiner Natural Mineral Water ? This is another good one. Join the sparkling detox challenge 2017 !

  4. What about Sodastream. You make your own Seltzer at home as needed and can add what you want to it. It doesn’t come in a BPA can that you will have to recycle.
    And its cheaper.

  5. you forgot sodastream… make your own. cheaper and you can adjust the amount of fizz…. that with a squeeze of lemon or lime or soaking with badil and cucumber….. it’s great!!!

  6. I have loved Polar Seltzer since I found it. Their standard flavors, available in bottles as well as 12-packs of cans, are plain, lemon, lime, cranberry-lime, black cherry and pomegranate (and a couple of others I think). But they have several other flavors only available in 1 liter bottles. And every season, summer and winter, they bring out new flavors to try, and if they sell well, they show up in cans and become available all year long. And I find their flavors far superior to other brands I’ve tried. And 0 calories!

  7. Loved the article on sparkling waters! I was first introduced to sparkling water about 25 years ago on a flight from Chicago to Buffalo where they gave passengers cans of LaCroix. I was hooked! My favorites are Poland Spring, LaCroix, Canada Dry, and Polar. And I hear rumors that my all-time favorite, Clearly Canadian, is making a return. Love the articles and recipes in Nutrition Action, keep up the excellent work!

  8. I love tangerine, passion fruit, grapefruit, and cranberry-raspberry La Croix. Spindrift lemon is great as a summer cooler.

  9. Selzer water is often available from fountain soda machines, including those at Popeye’s and Chipotle. Look for the tab labelled “Soda” on the Sprite dispenser. It’s often available at restaurants also, though when outside NYC I’ve had to tell the staff how to find it on their soda machines.

  10. We invested in a SodaStream system years ago and have never looked back! We bought extra bottles to always have filtered water chilled & ready for ‘charging.’ Our favorite mix-in are any of the True Citrus unsweetened varieties; lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange. No sugar, no BPA’s and no lugging/recycling of cans!

  11. I’ve tried most of them. I too was exposed to La Croix on an airplane in the ’80’s. I’m trying to avoid aluminum cans, so skipping La Croix now.. I like the Whole Foods brand both unflavored and flavored, Perrier, Poland Springs, and Hint now has a sparkling version, but harder to find. I’ve yet to do the Soda Stream.

  12. Agree with you that San Pellegrino should follow this trend to reduce sugar in their Aranciata (used to be called “Aranciata Amara,” bit I suppose they thought the idea of “bitter” would scare people off? They taste the same.

    And all manufacturers should return to using glass bottles. We don’t want BPA in can linings, but we don’t want to ingest alumnum from the can either!

  13. Perrier has been my sole cold beverage for years now. Unfortunately, they’re getting more and more expensive at $17.49 a case of 12 x 750 mL glass bottles. Perrier has introduced plastic bottles of 1L each, and has shifted the flavours away from the glass bottles, to the plastic and tins only. A shame, but I can always flavour my own with lime and lemon. A lot of people are wrongly convinced that there is way too much salt added. If you could correct this myth please, there is no salt other than what mother nature provides, Thank you.

  14. I love Pelegrino (especially in the glass bottles) with a squeeze of fresh lime. It doesn’t get any better than that. Nice soft bubbles and good flavor. We also buy the lime La Croix.

  15. I add a splash of lime juice and teaspoon of stevia to LaCroix lime over crushed ice for a more healthy nostalgic “limeade.” The info. about the BPA-lined can concerns me, though. I may look into a Sodastream!

  16. I’m a great one for taking care of my teeth. That said I might warn all of you to consider the degree of acidity of citrus fruits, not to mention the simple & infamous chemical reaction taking place n our oceans resulting from climate change. Understand that carbonated drinks result from forcing carbon dioxide through water. Here it is: H2O + CO2 = H2CO3. The result of this reaction is carbonic acid. But there is an upside: If you are of Republican persuasion, it does not happen!

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