{"id":606150000946,"title":"Is Fresca Bad for You? A Dietitian Answers","created_at":"2023-08-28T23:54:22-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Is Fresca Bad for You? A Dietitian Answers\",\n \"keywords\": \"is fresca bad for you, is fresca good for you, is fresca healthy, is fresca unhleathy, fresca ingredients\",\n \"description\": \"Our research team and dietitian analyze the ingredients in Fresca based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not the popular sparkling water is bad for you. We highlight some questionable additive ingredients, and compare Fresca to Pellegrino and La Croix.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-fresca-bad-for-you\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"DJ Mazzoni\",\n \"honorificSuffix\": [\n \"M.S.\",\n \"R.D.\",\n \"C.D.N.\",\n \"C.S.C.S.\"\n ],\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/dj-mazzoni\",\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/dj-mazzoni-rd-cdn-cscs-00a33038\/\",\n \"http:\/\/djmazzoni.com\/\"\n ],\n \"jobTitle\": \"Medical Reviewer\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"exercise, drugs, pharmaceutical, health, workout, strength and conditioning, nutrition, dietetics, medicine, medical research, scientific research, scientific method, healthcare, patient care, wellness\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"State University of New York College Oswego\",\n \"D’Youville College\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Is_Fresca_Bad_For_You_Thumbnail.png?v=1693331194\",\n\"width\": \"3444\",\n\"height\": \"3444\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\", \n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29458115\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8227014\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-v8-good-for-you\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8427741\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.sanpellegrino.com\/us\/sites\/g\/files\/xknfdk2166\/files\/2023-03\/EN_Water_Analysis_Report_2022.pdf\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-sparkling-ice-good-for-you\",\n\"https:\/\/www.classaction.org\/news\/class-action-challenges-label-representations-of-fresca-sparkling-soda-waters\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-red-bull-bad-for-you\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Coca-Cola\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"citric acid\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"aspartame\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"natural flavors\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"Pellegrino\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"La Croix\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"Sparkling Ice\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"The Doctors\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"ClassAction.org\"\n }\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2023-08-28\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"memberOf\": [\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"U.S. Chamber of Commerce\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.uschamber.com\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Certified B Corp\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.bcorporation.net\/en-us\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Natural Products Association\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.npanational.org\/\"\n }\n ],\n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Favicon_48x48_7595c3cc-e27b-47b8-a4fe-edcc7ed9b29a.png?v=1666502785\", \n \"width\": 48,\n \"height\": 48\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Is_Fresca_Bad_For_You_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1693281200\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eF\u003c\/span\u003eresca is a popular zero-sugar and zero-calorie sparkling drink. The brand is owned by Coca-Cola, who describes their product line as a “refreshingly unique, crowd pleasing taste experience?”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eBut what’s actually in Fresca that gives it its unique flavor if it has no calories? Is the brand good for you or bad for you? Are there any questionable additive ingredients in Fresca? And how does it compare to other sparkling water brands in terms of healthiness?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Fresca based on medical studies to give our take on whether the sparkling drinks are bad for you or not.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe’ll compare Fresca to other popular sparkling water brands like Pellegrino to give our top pick, and explain why the brand was sued over false advertising allegations.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eIngredient Analysis\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"Fresca Grapefruit Citrus flavor\" src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Fresca_Grapefruit_Citrus_Ingredients_Optimized.png?v=1693281283\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe ingredients in the Grapefruit Citrus flavor of Fresca are shown above.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eConcentrated grapefruit juice\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is a healthy and nutritious flavoring ingredient, but there can’t be very much of it in this drink, since fruit juice contains calories and Fresca has zero calories.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBeyond the water and fruit juice, there are a number of additive ingredients in Fresca that have questionable health effects according to clinical studies.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eCitric acid\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is a preservative and flavor enhancer that can cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in some individuals according to a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eToxicology Reports\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eAcesulfame potassium\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is an artificial sweetener shown to cause negative changes to brain function under certain dietary conditions in a 2018 \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29458115\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eanimal study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eAspartame\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is another artificial sweetener that \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecan break down in the body into formaldehyde and damage DNA\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e according to a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8227014\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNutrients\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eNatural flavors\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is a broad generalization that fails to identify the specific flavoring chemicals used, and some flavoring additives may be toxic to the body as we documented in our article on \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-v8-good-for-you\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eis V8 good for you\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003ePotassium benzoate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is a preservative.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIt’s also worth noting that some Fresca products are packaged in plastic, and plastic products leach chemicals into food and beverage products that can be toxic according to a 2021 \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8427741\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe would recommend that consumers intent on purchasing Fresca use the canned version rather than the plastic bottle version.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOverall, we consider Fresca to be bad for you due to the additive ingredients listed above\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and we do not currently recommend this brand.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNearly any food or beverage approved for sale in the US is acceptable in moderation, and Fresca is certainly a healthier choice than soda.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBut how does it compare to other sparkling water brands in terms of health? We’ll answer that question in the next section of this article.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eFresca vs. The Competition\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere are many popular sparkling water brands in the US, but Pellegrino, La Croix and Sparkling Ice are among the most popular. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHere’s our comparison of these three brands against Fresca:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePellegrino\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePellegrino is a sparkling mineral water with no added flavoring ingredients or preservatives. It’s typically packaged in glass, and the brand publishes an annual \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.sanpellegrino.com\/us\/sites\/g\/files\/xknfdk2166\/files\/2023-03\/EN_Water_Analysis_Report_2022.pdf\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWater Analysis Report\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e proving its purity and mineral content.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOur verdict: Pellegrino is much healthier than Fresca\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLa Croix\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eLa Croix became popular for their colorful cans. The brand’s products have a simple formulation: carbonated water and natural flavors. While we don’t typically recommend natural flavors, this is still a preservative-free and artificial-sweetener-free drink.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOur verdict: La Croix is healthier than Fresca\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSparkling Ice\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSparkling Ice is more similar to Fresca than the two brands discussed above. It’s zero-sugar and contains a large number of additive ingredients, as we documented in our \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-sparkling-ice-good-for-you\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eis Sparkling Ice good for you\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e article.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe relevant distinction is that beyond all of its questionable additives, Sparkling Ice also contains a synthetic vitamin blend.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOur verdict: Fresca is healthier than Sparkling Ice due to its lack of synthetic vitamin additives\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBut does sparkling water cause weight gain? We’ll discuss that question in the next section of this article.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eDoes Sparkling Water Cause Weight Gain?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA YouTube segment from the popular “The Doctors” show discusses whether sparkling water can cause weight gain, and has over 140,000 views:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/6f9iciay8Fw?si=RK3bNAv-eg32s2xx\" title=\"YouTube video player\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share\" allowfullscreen=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFresca Sued over False Advertising\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn 2023, Fresca was sued over allegations that the brand has misled consumers about its ingredients and healthiness.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eSpecifically, \u003cstrong\u003ethe lawsuit alleges that images of fruits on the product labelling suggests these ingredients are included in the drink in \"non-negligible amounts,\" while they either exist in negligible amounts (as we highlighted in our Ingredient Analysis section) or don't exist at all\u003c\/strong\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.classaction.org\/news\/class-action-challenges-label-representations-of-fresca-sparkling-soda-waters\"\u003eaccording to\u003c\/a\u003e ClassAction.org.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe plaintiffs also allege that these misrepresentations allow the brand to be sold at a premium price.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOverall, we're not particularly concerned about this lawsuit because it's related to marketing and not product quality. We recommend that consumers always read the full ingredient list to avoid being convinced about the health properties of any product based on its marketing.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOur Clean Sparkling Water Pick\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cmeta charset=\"utf-8\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Cocktail_Image.png?v=1686710387\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/amzn.to\/3OW26zp\" rel=\"sponsored\"\u003eSpindrift Sparkling Water\u003c\/a\u003e is our top sparkling water brand pick.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe company has a clean ingredient list for all of their drinks: carbonated water and a small amount of fruit juice.\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe drinks are packaged in cans, there are no questionable additives like artificial sweeteners or citric acid, and the drinks taste great (we've tried them).\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eInterested consumers can check out Spindrift Sparkling Water \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/amzn.to\/3OW26zp\" rel=\"sponsored\"\u003eat this link\u003c\/a\u003e to the brand's official Amazon listing.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe think that Fresca is bad for you (although likely fine in moderation).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis brand uses artificial sweeteners, flavoring additives, a preservative, citric acid and can be packaged in plastic.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe consider Fresca to be a worse option from a health perspective than popular sparkling water brands Pellegrino and La Croix, but a better option than Sparkling Ice.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFresca was sued in 2023 over allegations of misleading marketing related to the ingredients and their respective quantities.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA brand called Spindrift is our top sparkling water pick because it's packaged in cans rather than plastic, and contains only carbonated water and a small amount of fruit juice.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn the future, we hope that this brand updates their product line to eliminate plastic and use water and fruit juice as the only ingredients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2023-08-28T23:56:42-04:00","updated_at":"2023-11-02T13:55:03-04:00","summary_html":"We analyze the ingredients in Fresca based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not the popular sparkling water is bad for you. We highlight some questionable additive ingredients, and compare Fresca to Pellegrino and La Croix.","template_suffix":"","handle":"is-fresca-bad-for-you","tags":"_related:hydration"}

Is Fresca Bad for You? A Dietitian Answers

Is Fresca Bad for You? A Dietitian Answers


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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Fresca is a popular zero-sugar and zero-calorie sparkling drink. The brand is owned by Coca-Cola, who describes their product line as a “refreshingly unique, crowd pleasing taste experience?”

But what’s actually in Fresca that gives it its unique flavor if it has no calories? Is the brand good for you or bad for you? Are there any questionable additive ingredients in Fresca? And how does it compare to other sparkling water brands in terms of healthiness?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Fresca based on medical studies to give our take on whether the sparkling drinks are bad for you or not.

We’ll compare Fresca to other popular sparkling water brands like Pellegrino to give our top pick, and explain why the brand was sued over false advertising allegations.

Ingredient Analysis

Fresca Grapefruit Citrus flavor

The ingredients in the Grapefruit Citrus flavor of Fresca are shown above.

Concentrated grapefruit juice is a healthy and nutritious flavoring ingredient, but there can’t be very much of it in this drink, since fruit juice contains calories and Fresca has zero calories.

Beyond the water and fruit juice, there are a number of additive ingredients in Fresca that have questionable health effects according to clinical studies.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that can cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in some individuals according to a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal.

Acesulfame potassium is an artificial sweetener shown to cause negative changes to brain function under certain dietary conditions in a 2018 animal study.

Aspartame is another artificial sweetener that can break down in the body into formaldehyde and damage DNA according to a medical review published in the Nutrients journal.

Natural flavors is a broad generalization that fails to identify the specific flavoring chemicals used, and some flavoring additives may be toxic to the body as we documented in our article on is V8 good for you.

Potassium benzoate is a preservative.

It’s also worth noting that some Fresca products are packaged in plastic, and plastic products leach chemicals into food and beverage products that can be toxic according to a 2021 medical review.

We would recommend that consumers intent on purchasing Fresca use the canned version rather than the plastic bottle version.

Overall, we consider Fresca to be bad for you due to the additive ingredients listed above and we do not currently recommend this brand.

Nearly any food or beverage approved for sale in the US is acceptable in moderation, and Fresca is certainly a healthier choice than soda.

But how does it compare to other sparkling water brands in terms of health? We’ll answer that question in the next section of this article.

Fresca vs. The Competition

There are many popular sparkling water brands in the US, but Pellegrino, La Croix and Sparkling Ice are among the most popular. 

Here’s our comparison of these three brands against Fresca:

Pellegrino

Pellegrino is a sparkling mineral water with no added flavoring ingredients or preservatives. It’s typically packaged in glass, and the brand publishes an annual Water Analysis Report proving its purity and mineral content.

Our verdict: Pellegrino is much healthier than Fresca

La Croix

La Croix became popular for their colorful cans. The brand’s products have a simple formulation: carbonated water and natural flavors. While we don’t typically recommend natural flavors, this is still a preservative-free and artificial-sweetener-free drink.

Our verdict: La Croix is healthier than Fresca

Sparkling Ice

Sparkling Ice is more similar to Fresca than the two brands discussed above. It’s zero-sugar and contains a large number of additive ingredients, as we documented in our is Sparkling Ice good for you article.

The relevant distinction is that beyond all of its questionable additives, Sparkling Ice also contains a synthetic vitamin blend.

Our verdict: Fresca is healthier than Sparkling Ice due to its lack of synthetic vitamin additives

But does sparkling water cause weight gain? We’ll discuss that question in the next section of this article.

Does Sparkling Water Cause Weight Gain?

A YouTube segment from the popular “The Doctors” show discusses whether sparkling water can cause weight gain, and has over 140,000 views:

Fresca Sued over False Advertising

In 2023, Fresca was sued over allegations that the brand has misled consumers about its ingredients and healthiness.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that images of fruits on the product labelling suggests these ingredients are included in the drink in "non-negligible amounts," while they either exist in negligible amounts (as we highlighted in our Ingredient Analysis section) or don't exist at all, according to ClassAction.org.

The plaintiffs also allege that these misrepresentations allow the brand to be sold at a premium price.

Overall, we're not particularly concerned about this lawsuit because it's related to marketing and not product quality. We recommend that consumers always read the full ingredient list to avoid being convinced about the health properties of any product based on its marketing.

Our Clean Sparkling Water Pick

Spindrift Sparkling Water is our top sparkling water brand pick.

The company has a clean ingredient list for all of their drinks: carbonated water and a small amount of fruit juice.

The drinks are packaged in cans, there are no questionable additives like artificial sweeteners or citric acid, and the drinks taste great (we've tried them).

Interested consumers can check out Spindrift Sparkling Water at this link to the brand's official Amazon listing.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

We think that Fresca is bad for you (although likely fine in moderation).

This brand uses artificial sweeteners, flavoring additives, a preservative, citric acid and can be packaged in plastic.

We consider Fresca to be a worse option from a health perspective than popular sparkling water brands Pellegrino and La Croix, but a better option than Sparkling Ice.

Fresca was sued in 2023 over allegations of misleading marketing related to the ingredients and their respective quantities.

A brand called Spindrift is our top sparkling water pick because it's packaged in cans rather than plastic, and contains only carbonated water and a small amount of fruit juice.

In the future, we hope that this brand updates their product line to eliminate plastic and use water and fruit juice as the only ingredients.