Is Topo Chico Bad For You? An Ingredient Analysis

Is Topo Chico Bad For You? An Ingredient Analysis

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Topo Chico is a popular bottled mineral water brand with a distinct yellow label that’s bottled in Mexico. The brand sells an unflavored version and three flavored versions.

But what ingredients are used to flavor Topo Chico? Are the drinks bad for you? Is mineral water healthier than regular water? And what do the reports about PFAS in Topo Chico mean?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Topo Chico based on medical studies to give our take on whether the drinks are healthy, or if they’re bad for you. 
We’ll discuss whether mineral water is healthier than regular tap water, and explain the research report that found Topo Chico to be high in per-and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) and whether it matters.

Ingredient Analysis

Topo Chico unflavored ingredients

The ingredients in the unflavored version of Topo Chico are shown above.

The fact that there are no additive ingredients in this water brand, along with the fact that it’s packaged in glass, make it healthier in our opinion (and better for the environment) than the average water brand packaged in plastic.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in some plastic bottles, and was shown in a 2020 medical review to be estrogenic and hormone-disrupting. BPA can leach into water (or food) from packaging.

The flavored versions of Topo Chico are not naturally flavored with the fruits in their name, but with flavoring additives, as shown in the ingredient list from the “Twist of Lime” Topo Chico drink below:

Topo Chico Twist of Lime ingredients

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that’s clinically shown to cause whole-body inflammation in some individuals, as we documented in our Waterdrop review article on another brand that uses this ingredient.

Natural flavor is healthier than artificial flavor in our opinion, but is a broad descriptor that fails to identify the specific flavoring chemicals used.

A medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal suggests that some flavoring additives and their metabolites may have toxic effects.

Overall, we would recommend Topo Chico unflavored but not the flavored versions of the brand based on their ingredients.

But what does it mean that researchers found PFAS in Topo Chico? We’ll share our thoughts on that topic in the next section.

Researchers Find PFAS in Topo Chico

PFAS are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they take so long to biodegrade.

Exposure to PFAS has been associated with risk of kidney disease, thyroid dysfunction, insulin dysregulation and other negative health effects according to a medical review published in the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry journal.

Put simply: it makes sense to reduce exposure to PFAS as much as possible.

A study published by Consumer Reports found Topo Chico to have the highest PFAS levels of any bottled water brand tested. 

A more recent study published by Consumer Reports found that Topo Chico had reduced its PFAS levels by more than 50%, but that the levels in the bottled water were still “above a cutoff recommended by scientists and advocates.”

An animated YouTube video published by Alaska Public Media is under two minutes long and discusses some potential sources of PFAS in a regular American’s day:

Is Mineral Water Healthier?

Topo Chico is a mineral water, which typically refers to water derived from a mineral spring outdoors.

Mineral water can be higher in minerals than tap water, but not enough to make any significant health difference in our opinion.

As an example, the only mineral listed on Topo Chico’s Nutrition Facts label is calcium at a dose of 40 milligrams (mg). This is one-third of the calcium dose in one single slice of cheddar cheese, according to the USDA.

All things being equal, we would recommend mineral water over regular tap water, but the most important consideration for bottled water sourcing is contamination in our opinion. Minerals can be obtained from food.

Before giving our recommendations for clean water brands, we’ll share a fun video in the next section with a taste test of different bottled water brands:

Good Mythical Morning on Bottled Water

A popular YouTube channel called “Good Mythical MORE” (which is the second channel for “Good Mythical Morning”) reviewed the taste of Topo Chico and compared it to other bottled water brands in a video with over 550,000 views: 

Our Clean Water Picks

Brita Water Filter is our top value water filter pick.

It's been shown in studies conducted by ConsumerLab (an independent research firm) to significantly reduce heavy metal levels and entirely eliminate microplastics.

Sans Water Purifier is our top premium water filter pick.

The product is NSF-Certified, and is clinically shown to not only remove common contaminants like heavy metals, but also toxins like nitrate and PFOAs ("forever chemicals").

Pique Daily Radiance is our top water flavoring pick.

These packets are naturally flavored with nutritious ingredients like organic elderberry juice concentrate (which is clinically shown to support the immune system) and organic lemon juice concentrate.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Topo Chico is not bad for you. The unflavored version of this brand passes our formulation test, and we would recommend unflavored over the flavored versions which contain two additive ingredients that may be questionable from a health perspective.

Topo Chico was found in a third-party test to have high levels of a concerning class of chemicals called PFAS, but the brand seems to be reducing levels of this chemical since.

The best way to access clean drinking water in a cost-efficient way may just be to filter tap water at home.

The fact that Topo Chico is bottled in glass gives it a health advantage over brands packaged in plastic, because plastic bottling contains estrogenic chemicals that can leach into water.

We don’t consider mineral water to be substantially healthier than other types of water, but all things being equal, it adds a bit of nutrition.

We hope that in the future, Topo Chico uses whole fruit as flavoring additives to the flavored versions of their water.