Is Sparkling Ice Good For You? A Registered Dietitian Answers

Is Sparkling Ice Good For You? A Registered Dietitian Answers


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Sparkling Ice is a popular zero-sugar beverage brand. The company sells a wide variety of fruit flavored drinks which they describe as having a “rainbow of colors” that are “sourced from nature.”

But is Sparkling Ice good for you, or is it unhealthy? Does the brand use any questionable additive ingredients? Why was Sparkling Ice sued over one of its ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the taste and effects of Sparkling Ice?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Sparkling Ice, Sparkling Ice Caffeine and Sparkling Ice Spiked to give our take on whether these drinks are healthy or unhealthy, and to pick which one is the healthiest option.

We'll feature unsponsored customer reviews of the brand, and highlight some questionable additive ingredients in Sparkling Ice. We'll also document which ingredient the brand was sued over in 2022.

Sparkling Ice Ingredient Analysis

Sparkling Ice ingredients

The ingredients in Sparking Ice Black Cherry flavor are shown above.

Sparkling water is the first ingredient, and some of the flavoring comes from real fruit; in this case cherry juice concentrate.

Sparkling Ice uses fruit and vegetable juice as a natural colorant, which is a healthy choice and much superior from a nutritional standpoint to artificial food dye.

If this drink only contained the above-listed ingredients, we would recommend it. However, Sparkling Ice contains a number of additive ingredients that may be questionable from a health perspective.

Potassium benzoate is a preservative that has been shown in a clinical trial to be clastogenic (DNA-damaging), mutagenic (potential for genetic mutation) and cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) to human cells.

The above-linked study was a test tube study, which is a weaker standard of evidence than a trial with human participants.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener which was found in a clinical trial published in the Nutrition Journal to cause insulin dysregulation in young, healthy adults. 

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer. As we documented in our Smart Sweets reviews article on another brand that uses this ingredient, one medical review documented that citric acid can cause whole-body inflammatory reactions.

Natural flavors is a broad categorical descriptor that fails to identify the specific chemical compounds used. A 2013 medical review suggests that some flavoring additives may have negative health effects.

Vitamin A and vitamin B3 are included in a blend of vitamin additives in this drink. We haven't come across any convincing medical evidence for multivitamin supplementation in otherwise healthy individuals, and we don't understand why a sparkling beverage needs vitamin additives. 

Overall, we do not consider Sparkling Ice to be good for you and we do not recommend this brand from an ingredient perspective. We don't consider this drink actively harmful, and nearly approved beverage in the US is acceptable in moderation.

But how do the ingredients in Sparkling Ice Caffeine and Sparkling Ice Spiked compare? Before analyzing ingredients in those products (and explaining why the brand was recently sued), we'll feature some real user reviews of Sparkling Ice including taste tests in the next section.

Real Users Try Sparkling Ice

A YouTube creator named "Lumberlend" reviewed and ranked every flavor of Sparkling Ice:

A YouTube channel called "mamah!" had real people compare the taste of Sparkling Ice to regular soda:

Why Was Sparkling Ice Sued?

In 2022, Sparkling Ice was sued over an ingredient called d-malic acid, which isn't actually listed in the ingredient label but must be one of the constituent chemicals in the "natural flavors."

According to Top Class Actions, the class action lawsuit alleges that d-malic acid is an artificial ingredient (found in gasoline), and therefore the brand should have to list "artificial flavors" on its label.

At the time of publishing this article, the lawsuit appears to be ongoing.

While we consider the arguments made in the lawsuit to be reasonable, we don't think this makes a significant difference from a health perspective. It's an argument about marketing, but this type of labeling issue is why we generally recommend that consumers be cautious about products containing natural and artificial flavors.

Sparkling Ice Caffeine Ingredient Analysis

Sparkling Ice Caffeine ingredients

The ingredients in Sparkling Ice Caffeine are shown above, and are similar to the ingredients in the original formulation of Sparkling Ice analyzed previously.

Sparkling Ice Caffeine contains all of the same additive ingredients that we referenced in the previous section and recommend avoiding: potassium benzoate, sucralose, citric acid, natural flavors, and a vitamin blend.

Caffeine is included at a dose of 70 milligrams (mg) in this drink, which is the main difference in terms of formulation.

This is a lower caffeine dose than one standard cup of coffee (~95 mg), and we do not consider this dose likely to have any negative health effects in otherwise healthy individuals.

Consumers with anxiety or high blood pressure may want to avoid caffeine entirely.

Our overall take on Sparkling Ice Caffeine is very similar to our take on Sparkling Ice. We don’t recommend it and we don't consider it to be healthy due to its inactive ingredients.

We consider Sparkling Ice Caffeine to be a healthier option than commercially available caffeinated drinks like Monster, given the lack of artificial flavors and lower caffeine dose.

We Tried Sparkling Ice Ourselves

Sparkling Ice UGC

As the author of this article, I wanted to try Sparkling Ice myself to share my thoughts on its taste and the overall product experience.

I bought the Pink Grapefruit flavor from my local Walmart and had it with a leftover sandwich wrap for a late breakfast on a weekend day.

The taste was milder than most artificially sweetened drinks, which I appreciated. It did actually taste like grapefruit, and on taste alone I'd rate this drink 7/10.

The drink tastes good when paired with a salty snack or meal.

I don't plan to buy this drink again because it doesn't seem to have any functional benefits, it doesn't seem healthy to me and I try not to drink out of single-use plastic for health and environmental reasons.

Overall, I'd rate Sparkling Ice 4/10 with all factors considered.

Sparkling Ice Spiked Ingredient Analysis

Sparkling Ice Spiked ingredients

The ingredients in Sparkling Ice Spiked are shown above. This is an alcoholic beverage.

Ironically perhaps, we actually consider this to be a healthier formulation (if consumed in moderation) than the brand’s other products. It contains natural flavors, citric acid and sucralose but is free of preservatives and synthetic vitamin blends.

We do not recommend Sparkling Ice Spiked from a health perspective due to the additive ingredients.

Our Healthy Soda Pick

Olipop is our healthy soda pick.  

This natural soda uses no flavoring additives or refined sugar, and is instead flavored with nutritionally-rich botanical ingredients like mandarin juice (which is clinically shown to be a potent antioxidant), nopal cactus and calendula flower.

The cans have only 2 to 5 g of added sugar from natural sources like cassava root syrup and apple juice.

Interested consumers can check out Olipop Orange Squeeze flavor (our top pick) at this link to the product's Amazon listing.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

We do not believe that any drink sold by Sparkling Ice is good for you based on a review of the ingredients in Sparkling Ice, Sparkling Ice Caffeine and Sparkling Ice Spiked.

We wouldn’t go as far as to say the products are necessarily bad for you, because it may be a healthier alternative to drinks like soda, but we currently don't recommend any products sold by this brand.

Sparkling Ice drinks contain many additive ingredients such as preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavoring compounds.

The brand is currently being sued over the alleged inclusion of an artificial flavor, while the label for Sparkling Ice does not list any artificial flavors. 

Out of the three products we reviewed in this article, we actually consider Sparkling Ice Spiked to be the healthiest (when consumed in moderation), because it's free of preservatives and vitamin additives.