Are MiO Water Enhancers Good Or Bad For You?

Anything can get monotonous and boring, even something as trivial yet essential as drinking water. Sometimes in attempts to overcome the boring experience of drinking plain water, people may add artificial flavoring. But how safe is the consumption of flavor enhancers?

The artificial flavors and preservatives used in MiO have a reputation of being harmful but are still Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While research into their safety is ongoing, several studies on the artificial sweeteners indicate associations with increased blood insulin levels, systemic inflammation, disruption to the gut biome and weight gain.

Clearly, there is no straightforward answer to this question. But let’s take a look at different MiO products, if they pose a threat to a person’s health in specific ways, and if MiO can affect your diet.

What Is MiO And What Products Do They Offer?

MiO is a beverage mix owned by Kraft Foods. The purpose of MiO products is to flavor normal or carbonated water, and other drinks.

It is a concentrated liquid of artificial flavoring that comes in a compact bottle. A whole bottle of water can be flavored with just a couple drops of MiO.

MiO comes in many flavors and has four product lines:

MiO Original

Enhances the taste of your beverage.

Available Flavors Vegan-friendly Caffeine-freePrice per 1.62 fl. oz. bottle
Fruit Punch
Berry Grape
Berry Pomegranate
Cranberry Raspberry
Sweet Tea
Blueberry Lemonade
Mango Peach
Cherry Blackberry

MiO Vitamins

Enhances the taste of your water and supplements vitamins B3, B6, and B12.

Available Flavors Vegan-friendly Caffeine-freePrice per 1.62 fl. oz. bottle
Orange Tangerine
Orchard Apple
Orange Vanilla

MiO Sport

Supplements electrolytes and B vitamins, and adds fruity flavor to your water.

Available Flavors Vegan-friendly Caffeine-freePrice per 1.62 fl. oz. bottle
Berry Blast
Artic Blast
Lemon Lime

MiO Energy

Enhances the flavor of your water whilst also giving you a small energy boost.

Available Flavors Vegan-friendly Caffeine-freePrice per 1.62 fl. oz. bottle
Wicked Blue Citrus
Black Cherry
Tropical Fusion
Green Thunder
Strawberry Pineapple Smash
Acai Berry Storm

MiO And Your Health

Generally Speaking…

When it comes to your health, drinking flavored water – albeit MiO or other brands – is next to harmless if it is in moderation.

A minimum of 64 ounces of water intake is recommended, and as long as more than a quarter of that isn’t consumed with artificial flavoring, then there is no problem, according to Rachel Wagner, a dietitian at  St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center.

MiO and other water enhancers can be a great option for someone who finds it difficult to keep themselves hydrated. However, consumption of plain water is also required so relying on flavor enhancers for every glass of water you drink is probably not be the healthiest option.

Effects of Artificial Sweeteners

Although water enhancers, including MiO, are zero-calorie, zero fat, and zero sugar, they are still packed with artificial sweeteners such as:

  • Aspartame,
  • Acesulfame potassium (also known as Ace K), and
  • Sucralose.

These sweeteners have been shown to cause long-term effects on your body.

Some research have found that the use of aspartame may increase systemic inflammation which is linked to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

On the other hand, sucralose can cause the same effect whilst also bringing about unwanted changes in your metabolism.

Meanwhile, Ace K has often been associated with neurological damage, although the research behind it is inconclusive.

However, unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners do not affect your dental health. As per an IJBCP study, artificial sweeteners do not have a cariogenic effect on your teeth. In fact, it displays anti-cariogenic properties meaning it may work against tooth decay.

Antifreeze In Your Water?

MiO and many water flavoring products use a component called propylene glycol – a preservative also found in antifreeze and car batteries. It is also a common additive used to bring certain products to a desired consistency and texture.

However, propylene glycol is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAF) by the FDA. According to the World Health Organization, as much as 25 milligrams per kilogram of your body weight of the compound is safe for consumption.

Most processed food comes with this additive.

Nevertheless, there are arguments that it may not be safe for consumption for people who have kidney and liver diseases. A healthy human body can remove about 45% of propylene glycol, whilst the rest is converted to lactic acid. And lactic acid can contribute to kidney failure and acidosis if taken in large quantities.

Forget the Calories

MiO – like most water-enhancing products – is calorie-free. Meaning you won’t have to constantly count the calories every time you feel thirsty. So if you are considering purchasing MiO but are put off by thoughts of weight gain, rest easy.

Is MiO Bad For Diabetics?

The artificial sweeteners used in MiO have been shown to increase insulin and blood sugar levels. Although the use of sweeteners such as Sucralose and Aspartame was considered safe not too long ago, recent studies have revealed they may cause blood sugar and insulin fluctuations, specifically in people with severe obesity.

Further research suggests that these sweeteners may only cause blood sugar to spike in new users whilst regular consumers do not experience it.

Is MiO a Good Soda Alternative?

If you are someone who rarely drinks pop soda or flavored water, then going for MiO is certainly a relatively healthier option, according to Rachel Wagner, a dietitian at  St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center.

MiO – or any water enhancers for that matter – is not something you would want to drink frequently. Plain water is always preferable.

Neither soda nor flavored water is good for you if it is all you drink. MiO just happens to be a slightly better option if you’re someone who doesn’t consume a lot of artificially sweetened beverages regularly.

What Is MiO Sweetened With?

Sucralose is the primary sweetener used in MiO. It is about 400-600 times sweeter than regular table sugar and is often combined with other sweeteners such as aspartame or acesulfame potassium (Ace K).

Despite being hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, these compounds are considered zero-calorie.

Does MiO Promote Weight Gain?

The artificial sweeteners used in MiO are zero-calorie and technically do not contribute to weight gain. However, Acesulfame-potassium (a sweetener in some varieties) is capable of disrupting the gut microbiome, which can result in weight gain. Although, research is ongoing.

In general, water enhancers, such as MiO, are a good option for weight loss patients to have a refreshing beverage while they cut out other sweetened drinks such as sodas.

Although, it would be in your best interests to not drink flavored water regularly.

Does MiO Energy Really Work?

Each squeeze of MiO Energy contains ~60mg of caffeine, and provides a small boost of energy. For comparison, an average 8 oz serving of coffee contains ~90mg of caffeine. However, most reviews indicate very little effect was observed in energy levels post-consumption.

In fact, customer reviews are pretty mixed. Experiences ranged from no effect at all to a tiny energy bump, with people rarely vouching for a significant effect.

Considering it contains less caffeine that a cup of coffee, it is no surprise that the average person found MiO Energy rather lackluster.

Does MiO Energy Have Any Side Effects?

MiO Energy does not itself have any side effects. However, research has shown several of the primary ingredients are capable of negative side effects. These ingredients include caffeine, sucralose, and acesulfame-potassium.

Caffeine can lead to heart problems when taken in large quantities (>400mg) and other side effects including insomnia, anxiety, digestive problems, and dehydration.

The sweetener Acesulfame-potassium can disrupt the gut microbiome, which can also result in weight gain. While sucralose can increase blood sugar levels, and insulin levels in the blood.

Bottom Line

Most water enhancers are safe as long as it’s taken in moderation, and that goes for MiO as well. For people who struggle to stay hydrated or need to keep track of their weight, it is a good option to have. But you are better off flavoring your water with a slice of lemon or lime; even berries, cucumber, and mint leaves are a great addition

Theresa Orr

Theresa Orr is an Earth Scientist who specializes in determining past climates from rocks using geochemistry. Her passion for clean water drives her to breakdown the science to provide easy to understand information that everyone can read.

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