Is MiO Bad For You? A Registered Dietitian Answers

Is MiO Bad For You? A Registered Dietitian Answers


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MiO is a flavor enhancer that’s added to water to improve its taste. The brand proudly advertises that their products have "bold taste" while containing zero sugar and zero calories.

But what’s actually in MiO? Are there any unhealthy added ingredients? How do the ingredients in MiO Energy compare to the ingredients in MiO Original? And what do medical professionals have to say about the health effects of MiO?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze every ingredient in MiO Original and MiO Energy based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not the popular flavor enhancers are bad for you.

We'll highlight some questionable additive ingredients and feature unsponsored reviews from medical professionals like nutritionists.

MiO Original Analysis

MiO Original ingredients

The ingredients in the Lemonade flavor of MiO Original are shown above. There are a number of additive ingredients that we consider to be questionable from a health perspective.

Citric acid is a flavor enhancer that’s been documented in a series of medical case reports to cause whole-body inflammation in some individuals.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that was shown in a 2018 clinical trial to cause negative changes to insulin sensitivity in healthy young adults, even at only 15% of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) level. Healthy insulin function is necessary for prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Natural flavor is a broad term that could refer to any number of chemical compounds. As we referenced in our article examining is Body Armor good for you, there exists medical research suggesting that some natural flavoring compounds are unhealthy.

Sodium benzoate is a preservative that was shown in an animal study to negatively impact memory and coordination.

Potassium sorbate and sucrose acetate isobutyrate are two other preservatives in this flavor enhancer.

Yellow 5 is an artificial food dye that was shown in a meta-study published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health to be contaminated with carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) in some cases.

Overall, we consider MiO Original to be bad for you, because it contains seven additive ingredients we recommend avoiding. 

Nutritionist Maty Harrington has similar conclusions in her TikTok video on MiO:

@nutritiouslyeasy #mixeddrinks #skinnydrink #mio #healthydrinks #healthycollege #harmfulingredients #red40 #artificialsweeteners ♬ Lofi - Domknowz

MiO Energy Analysis

MiO Energy ingredients

The ingredients in the Black Cherry flavor of MiO Energy are shown above.

This formulation is similar to MiO Original, and contains ingredients we already reviewed in the previous section and consider unhealthy: citric acid, natural flavor, sucralose, sucrose acetate isobutyrate, and potassium sorbate.

Red 40 and Blue 1 are artificial food dyes. 

Red 40 was shown to be contaminated with carcinogens and Blue 1 was shown to cause hypersensitivity reactions according to the medical review on food dyes we cited in the previous section of this article.

Acesulfame potassium is an artificial sweetener that’s been shown to cause negative changes to brain and gut function in animal studies as we documented in our recent Prime hydration drink review.

Vitamin B3 and vitamin B6 are part of a vitamin blend in MiO Energy. 

We have not come across any medical evidence that supplemental vitamins improve energy in otherwise healthy individuals.

Overall we consider MiO Energy to be unhealthy due to its additive ingredients.

Can You Make Healthy Soda With MiO?

A TikTok user named Kaitlyn Anderson shared a viral recipe for a "healthy Dr. Pepper" that includes MiO for added flavor:

@k8lynanderson Dr. Pepper 🤝 Health #healthydrpepper #topochicodrpepper #healthydrinkrecipe #healthydrinkideas ♬ original sound - Brooksie

Our Clean Flavor Enhancer Pick

Pique Daily Radiance is our top flavor enhancing packet that can be added to water.

This product comes in convenient stick packs that can be mixed into water, and is naturally flavored with nutritious, whole food ingredients like organic elderberry juice concentrate (which is clinically shown to support the immune system) and organic lemon juice concentrate.

Most importantly, Pique's flavor enhancer is entirely free of citric acid, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavoring additives. There are no ingredients in this formulation that we consider to be unhealthy.

Interested consumers can check out Pique Daily Radiance at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Both MiO Original and MiO Energy contain a significant number of questionable additive ingredients like artificial food dye, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. We do not recommend either product and consider both to be unhealthy.

Healthiness certainly exists on a spectrum, and replacing soda with water and MiO would likely be a healthy switch, but we would definitely recommend regular water or seltzer over MiO products.

For consumers who prefer flavored water to regular water, there are flavor enhancers on the market free of preservatives and artificial sweeteners.