Is Crystal Light Bad for You? The Truth About This Drink on Keto

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minute read | Last update: Nov 29th2022

This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.

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When it comes to counting calories and carb macros on keto, many dieters pay more attention to the foods they eat than the beverages they consume. They might assume that if they avoid soda and sugary drinks like it that all other beverages should be okay, including Crystal Light. Is that the case or is Crystal Light bad for your keto diet?

Crystal Light, while technically low-carb or no-carb, has ingredients such as aspartame and potassium citrate that can cause unpleasant health effects. If you’re on the keto diet for health conditions, drinking Crystal Light could exacerbate those conditions.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what’s in that canister of Crystal Light and what those ingredients could be doing to your health.

Whether you’re new to the keto diet or you’re an established dieter, you’re not going to want to miss this article!

What Is Crystal Light?

Let’s rewind for a moment and talk about what Crystal Light is before we delve into which ingredients it contains.

Crystal Light is a powdered drink product from Kraft Heinz that was first introduced to grocery store shelves in 1984. The beverage mix had been sold two years prior, but only on a test basis to ensure its safety.

General Foods, a now-defunct company that’s the original producers of Crystal Light, reported $150 million in sales the first year Crystal Light was available for general retail sale.

To use Crystal Light, all you have to do is open a packet of the stuff and then stir it into a glass of plain water. Once the particles dissolve, your beverage will be infused with flavor. That flavor can be more like tea or juice, even lemonade.

Compared to drinking fruit juice or lemonade, you save calories by choosing Crystal Light. The average amount of calories per packet of Crystal Light is 5 calories. A cup of lemonade, by comparison, has 99 calories, so you’re skipping 94 calories.

Crystal Light produces four powdered drink products: Pure, With Caffeine, Tea, and Classics. Here are the flavors in each product line.

Crystal Light Pure

The first of the four product lines is Crystal Light Pure, which is supposed to contain more natural ingredients compared to the other varieties of Crystal Light (which says a lot about them and their healthfulness). You can choose from flavors such as:

  • Tropical Blend
  • Tropical Citrus Energy
  • Tangerine Mango
  • Raspberry Lemonade
  • Strawberry Lemonade Energy
  • Peach
  • Strawberry Kiwi
  • Mixed Berry Energy
  • Lemon Iced Tea
  • Lemon
  • Grape

Crystal Light With Caffeine

Do you need a kick of energy, but you don’t want coffee or an energy drink? Try the flavors of Crystal Light With Caffeine instead. Each packet has roughly 60 milligrams of caffeine, so you will get a bolt of energy. The available flavors are:

  • Wild Strawberry
  • Strawberry Pineapple Refresh
  • Pomegranate
  • Tropical Paradise Punch
  • Peach Mango
  • Acai Berry Bliss
  • Citrus
  • Grape
  • Cherry Splash

Crystal Light Tea

Although tea is already low-calorie, it’s time-consuming to make. With Crystal Light Tea, you can have the flavors of tea anytime, anywhere. Here are the flavors:

  • Sweet Tea
  • Raspberry Green Tea
  • Raspberry
  • Peach-Mango Green Tea
  • Pomegranate Green Tea
  • Peach
  • Lemon Iced Tea
  • Lemon Decaf

Crystal Light Classics

The fruity flavors in the Classics are varied enough for all sorts of tastes. These are popular drink mixes for sure. Try these flavors:

  • Strawberry Kiwi
  • Strawberry Lemonade
  • Strawberry Orange Banana
  • Raspberry Lemonade
  • Pomegranate Lemonade
  • Raspberry Ice
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Mango Passionfruit
  • Orange
  • Fruit Punch
  • Lemonade
  • Cherry Pomegranate
  • Concord Grape
  • Blackberry Lemonade
  • Blueberry Raspberry
  • Strawberry Watermelon
  • Black Cherry Lime
  • Tropical Coconut
  • Berry Sangria

Is Crystal Light Keto?

With such low calories per serving, you couldn’t imagine that Crystal Light contains many carbs either. Let’s examine the carb load in the four Crystal Light product lines.

  • Crystal Light beverages with zero carbs per serving:
    • With Caffeine flavors Tropical Paradise Punch, Strawberry Pineapple Refresh, Cherry Splash, and Acai Berry Bliss
    • Tea flavors Sweet Tea
    • Classics flavors Blackberry Lemonade, Tropical Coconut, Black Cherry Lime, and Berry Sangria
  • Crystal Light beverages with 1 gram of carbs per serving:
    • Pure flavors Raspberry Lemonade, Peach Iced Tea, Lemon Iced Tea, Lemon, and Grape
  • Crystal Light beverages with 3 grams of carbs per serving:
    • With Caffeine flavors Pomegranate, Wild Strawberry, Peach Mango, Grape, and Citrus
    • Tea flavors Lemon Iced Tea, Peach-Mango Green Tea, and Peach Iced Tea
    • Classics flavors Fruit Punch, Concord Grape, Cherry Pomegranate, and Strawberry Watermelon

The average carb load of someone on the keto diet is anywhere from 20 grams to 50 grams of carbs per day. You’d have to consume a lot of Crystal Light to hit those numbers.

Of course, a keto-friendly food or beverage isn’t only low-carb, but it’s supposed to contain moderate amounts of fat and high amounts of protein as well. Crystal Light is devoid of both, but since it’s low-carb, it’s technically keto enough.

Why You Shouldn’t Drink Crystal Light on Keto

Crystal Light seems like the ideal beverage to drink on the keto diet. You’re cutting carbs and calories compared to consuming real lemonade, fruit juice, or tea.

However, Crystal Light is not all that it seems. As we talked about in the intro, it’s bogged down by several ingredients that are not healthy for keto dieters or anyone, really. Let’s talk about them now.


How does Crystal Light taste sugary like real lemonade or fruit juice but at less than 10 calories per serving? That’s due to the artificial sweetener aspartame.

Per gram, aspartame contains only four calories. Its low-cal status has made it popular in many beverages and foods. Lots of soft drinks use aspartame, especially the low-cal ones like Mello Yello Zero, Fanta Zero, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero Sugar. Even Gold Peak Diet Tea has aspartame.

Snacks such as sugarless candy, yogurt, chewing gum, and sugar-free ice cream will also likely contain aspartame to restrict calories.

So what’s the big deal with aspartame, you’re asking?

By processing and digesting aspartame, your body makes it into methanol or methyl alcohol.

Excess methanol can be toxic. Even moderate amounts of methanol in your system might be able to link up with free methanol, which can increase how much methanol your body has.

Free methanol contains polysaccharide methoxy groups or fatty acid methyl esters that your body releases when you digest foods or beverages. As free methanol eventually breaks down, it becomes formaldehyde.

You know, the stuff used to embalm corpses. Formaldehyde is a neurotoxin and carcinogen.

Although it would take a lot of aspartame for the body to produce formaldehyde levels that could be considered dangerous for human health, that’s quite a disturbing link nonetheless.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, aspartame can lead to a slew of nasty physical and mood effects, among them joint pain, anxiety and depression, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and even memory loss in some people.

Artificial Colors

Have you wondered how Crystal Light gets its colors? It’s not through natural means, that’s for sure.

The Lemonade mix contains yellow 5, the Tropical Coconut mix has yellow 5 and red 40, and a slew of flavors in the various product lines contain blue 1, yellow 5, and red 40. Those are Lemon Iced Tea mix, Mango Passionfruit mix, Peach Iced Tea mix, and Lemon Iced Tea mix.

Okay, but these are just colors, right? If only. Yellow 5 could be a carcinogen, says this 2015 report from Anticancer Research. There’s also a belief that the food coloring could contribute to hyperactivity in kids, notes a 2007 publication of the journal The Lancet.

Blue 1 can trigger allergic reactions in some people. It too has been tied to hyperactivity and might be a carcinogen as well.

As for red 40, it’s a synthetic dye that’s sourced from petroleum. Although it’s earned approval by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA for beverage and food use, the above health risks are still a possibility.

Potassium Citrate

Another concerning ingredient in Crystal Light is potassium citrate. This ingredient is often favored for medicinal use, such as to treat kidney stones. Yet the citrate also provides the tangy, citrusy taste that you expect when drinking lemonade or orange-flavored beverages.

It’s been tied to unappealing side effects such as skin irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea.

Which Keto-Friendly Beverages Should You Drink Instead?

We’re not trying to target Crystal Light specifically. If you do your research, you’ll find that lots of beverages or drink powders use aspartame and artificial sweeteners that are not good for your health.

Although the amount of sugar in Crystal Light isn’t enough to knock a keto dieter out of ketosis, if you’re someone who’s on the keto diet for reasons other than weight loss (such as to reduce inflammation), then you’ll want to stay far away from Crystal Light.

Here’s what you should drink instead.


Plain water will never be a bad beverage choice. Rather than sweeten and flavor yours with Crystal Light, we recommend infusing real fruit into your water instead. It can take several hours for the fruity flavor to permeate through, so make sure you prepare ahead of time!


As we established earlier, tea is a low-calorie, sometimes no-calorie beverage. It contains miniscule amounts of carbs, maybe 0.4 grams of carbs per eight fluid ounces. Drinking tea can support your health in a multitude of ways, from lessening inflammation to increasing the strength of your immune system.

Sparkling Water

If even fruit-infused water is still too boring for you, try sparkling water. It has the sparkle and snap of soda but without all the sugar, carbs, calories, and aspartame or other artificial sweeteners.

Homemade Smoothies

You can’t go wrong with a keto smoothie, especially after a long day or a sweaty workout. May we recommend our chocolate-flavored keto collagen powder for your next smoothie? Our collagen powder has MCT oil for energy, and it never clumps. Plus, the chocolate flavor is utterly luxurious!


Crystal Light might seem like an innocent powdered drink mix, but it’s anything but. It uses the very questionable sweetener aspartame and includes dangerous artificial colors and ingredients that can cause mood changes and induce physical symptoms as well.

Even if you’re not on keto, Crystal Light is worth skipping. You can still enjoy low-cal beverages without the dangerous ingredients.

About the author

The Authentic Keto Team is here to bring you health tips that help you with losing weight fast. We focus on a clean keto diet for beginners because we believe that is the easiest and most simple way to healthy eating. Our keto weight loss tips will not only bring you into ketosis fast but will also help you to improve your mental health, sleep problems, and wellness.

- Our goal is to make keto success easy. -

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