SoBe lifewater 0 Calories

Fooducate reader Tammy asks “Will you guys do research on SoBe Lifewater 0 calories drink”?

Happy to oblige.

SoBe is a young brand which started selling iced teas in the Northeast in the late 1990′s. In 2000, it was acquired by PepsiCo. Vitamin enhanced waters have been a huge growth engine in the beverage category over the last decade. And as people came to realize that they are paying for those vitamins with lots of sugar, companies have come out with zero calorie versions of the same.

In either case, the health halo of vitamin water is perpetuated with massive marketing campaigns, starting on the label itself and ending in multimillion sport star endorsements.

SoBe’s zero calorie drinks are sweetened with stevia, the darling sweetener of choice, which only last year was approved by the FDA as safe for consumption. Some consumer organizations have warned that the approval was given too fast, as not all studies have shown stevia to be safe for human consumption.

We randomly picked the SoBe lifewater yumberry pomegranate flavor and took a close look inside the label.

Here’s the ingredient list:

Filtered Water, Erythritol, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Xanthan Gum, Calcium Lactate, Potassium Citrate, REB A (Purevia Brand), Modified Food Starch, Cochineal Extract (Color), Vitamin E Acetate, Calcium Phosphate, Gum Arabic, Ginseng Extract, Dandelion Root Extract, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).

For a water beverage, this product sure has lots of  additives! (8 of 21 ingredients, in bold). The stevia sweetener is enhanced with Erythritol which is a sugar alcohol used in sugar free gums and other low sugar products. It is virtually calorieless but may cause bloating in some people.

The “natural flavor” is a proprietary cocktail of extracts that creates the illusion of drinking “yumberries” and pomegranates. Citric Acid adds an acidic/sour flavor to foods and beverages.

But what are modified food starch, xantham gum and gum arabic doing in this drink? These additives are used as thickeners, for example in salad dressing and ice creams. Here they provide just enough viscosity to give a richer mouth feel, as if you are drinking a rich elixir, not plain old tap water mixed with vitamins and flavors.

The reddish tinge of this drink comes from a natural, yet gross, source – cochineal extract. Basically it’s bug powder. But hey, it’s definitely better than Red #40.

All the vitamins are achievable if you eat real food.

While this drink is not going to directly add to your weight, it does condition the palate to expect a beverage to be sweet. That’s not good. If you drink it here and there, it’s probably OK, just don’t fool yourself that the vitamins here are going to make you the healthy vibrant person you could be if you eat more fruits and vegetables.

What to do at the supermarket:

The best hydration comes from water, preferably the free kind – tap. Next in line would be bottled water which is nutritionally identical, yet taxes the environment and your pocketbook. One level down are the flavored waters that don’t contain sweeteners of any kind, just flavor. Down one more notch are the stevia sweetened drinks. Then the ones sweetened with artificial sweeteners (though for kids, some parents prefer sugar sweetened over chemicals). Last in line are the sugar sweetened vitamin waters.

In any case, don’t pay any attention to the vitamin added to drinks, they’re not going to be your savior.

  • WilliamB

    I should drink more water than I do but plain water isn’t that interesting to me. So as a “better than nothing” solution I make a 50/50 mix of Propel and water, or sometimes 25/75 of cranberry juice cocktail and water.

  • Big Ass Food Corp

    How much Stevia must one consume before the bloating side effects kick in? Fooducate me! That’s why I read this blog.

    What’s with the highlight of citric acid? It’s naturally occurring.

    • Idajacson2442

      this sucks

      • Idajackson2442

        mr berg smokes crack

    • Fuck

      You’re an idiot.

    • jarreau2001

      Stevia is not listed as a sweetner on the label. Erythritol is. Sometimes Erythritol is used along with stevia but nothing suggests that is the case with this drink.

      • Cfanger

         stevia is in the zero.  it’s just listed under a brand name of Reb-A
        short for rebiana, the extract form the stevia plant. You can also buy stevia extract concentrate in small glass bottles in health food stores.  Make your own lemon- lime- orange drinks with fresh fruit and a few drops.  I like the sobe zero waters, my problem with them is all the plastic container waste.

  • Big Ass Food Corp

    Actually nothing is better. Your body will teach you the lesson. Cheating on your health is a mistress you cannot hide forever.

  • Dakota S. R

    I don’t understand why you include “drink tap water” in a lot of your blog-post. From what I’ve read and researched in almost every state of america the tap water has fluoride present,

    A study published in Brain Research shows that rats drinking only 1 part per million fluoride (NaF) in water had histologic lesions in their brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In addition, evidence was seen pointing to possible damage to the blood brain barrier from extended fluoride exposure. This study was the third in a series of papers published by Varner et al. Brain Research Vol. 784 No. 12 p 284-298 (1998).

    • Momagain1007

      Actually a lot of people in this country are on well water with no fluoride and even at my daughter’s pediatrician’s office they had a list of the town’s in the area that had fluoride and which did not and many did not. I think it is the big cities that do that. And for a rat that may be a lot of fluoride, but not to a person.

      • Collin Nonapplicable

         Regardless, fluoride is poison. And they give it to your children in school.

        • food eater

          And you brush your teeth with it

        • darnthealarm

          That’s easy to understand if you’ve been around the spoiled little brats.

          • Collin Nonapplicable

            lol. i mean that’s not funny.

    • Anonymous

      Check out all the YouTube videos of people catching their tap water on fire.  There are a lot of them.  I can’t help but wonder how safe our drinking water is when this passes for tap water!

      • SandyTodd

        Those are people who live near fracking wells.

    • Anonymous

      Check out all the YouTube videos of people catching their tap water on fire.  There are a lot of them.  I can’t help but wonder how safe our drinking water is when this passes for tap water!

  • SOH

    @Big Ass Food Corp
    The bloating is caused by Erythritol, not Stevia. Every person is different in the amount that causes bloating. See the wikipedia article on “sugar alcohols”

  • Feightrachel

    i loooooove sobe life water:)

  • PJV

    Each bottle has 15 grams of carbohydrates in it. I always thought that carbs had 6 calories per gram which means that a bottle of Lifewater should have 90 (15×6) calories in it!!! Why does it list 0 calories? There are zero calorie carbs???

  • Me

    Get your facts straight about Stevia first. Stevia is an all natural plant sweetner – not a fake sugar like aspartame and sucralose (which claims to be from sugar, but really is heavily chemically processed). Guarani Indians used stevia leaves “since ancient times.” Since the 1800s individuals in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina have been consuming Stevia. The FDA did not rush to approve it, quite the opposite – the refused to approve as safe for consumption (even though there are centuries worth of proof of its safety, unlike fake sweetners) because the nutrasweet lobby is so powerful.

    • T.Michelle

      Stevia is an all-natural sweetener, but much of the stevia on the market (and in processed foods) is highly processed. I use stevia, but I buy organic, 100% stevia drops (the powder is “cut” with additives for “ease of application”). Plus, the “stevia” used here is Reb A, which is FOUND in stevia…meaning, the stevia has been processed in order to extract this ingredient.

      • disqus_EauFvCsm9I

        Then why the fuck does that shit make me sick? How come there are so many things including the David Pakman Show that have called Sobe Lifewater out for using aspertame and not labeling it. The same with PEZ and Jelly Bellys. There are others as well like Smarties.

    • disqus_EauFvCsm9I

      They do use sucalous or aspertame. They just don’t label it. Jelly Bellys no longer label it. It’s also not labeled for PEZ. There are a lot of other things that don’t have it labeled and that needs to be illegal but it’s not because corporations can do whatever they want. That’s why sobe lifewater makes me sick.

      • Adam

        Where are you getting your facts? I just googled “SOBE ASPARTAME” and found nothing supporting that notion.

        • kazooga1234

          It has something like aspertame in it. Also I have noticed that things that have it don’t list it. They don’t seem to need to if it’s under a certain amount. I know it does because I do get sick from it.

          • Shawn Paul Love

            Actually the products that have aspartame in them but don’t label directly will have phenylalanine with an asterisk next to it to warn people with allergies. This is the giveaway that is has aspartame in it.

      • Erica

        I agree with Adam. I drink Sobe Lifewater all the time and actually wouldn’t be able to drink it if it included aspartame because I’m allergic. I’m pretty positive that there is none in this product.

        • kazooga1234

          Then how come I get sick from it as well as other people. You probably do but just ignore it.

  • PJV

    I don’t have a problem with any of these newfangled sweeteners. I notice soooooooo many people ranking against Sucrose. I think it’s just about the best sweetener ever. And it seems to be available everywhere. Of course, everything in moderation is unquestionably the key. I also love the sweeteners in the SoBe products and have never noticed bloating before. Zero calories vs. hundreds of calories per bottle is just incredible. And for a fruit juice lover like me, these SoBe juices have no equal.

    • Kaydoll77

      Sucrose is plain old table sugar, made from sugar cane and/or beets. Yes, it’s the best sweetener ever, as long as you don’t eat too much of it. Another name for table sugar is dextrose. Sometimes food labels list both, which means there is a lot more sugar than you might think!

  • Ilona

    Those who “love” Splenda might not love the side effects that you can’t see or feel immediately, such as

    Reduced growth rate in newborns and adults at levels above 500 mg/
    Decreased red blood cells — sign of anemia (at levels abofe 1500 mg/kd/day
    thyroxine levels (thyroid function) (According to McNeil, since this
    only occurred on male rats and no abnormalities were observed with the
    thyroid tissue, this was considered insignificant.)
    losses (magnesium and phosphorus) McNeil stated that these patterns
    were variable and at times not dose related so they were not
    Decreased urination
    colon (The FDA Final Rule states cecal enlargement is often seen with
    poorly absorbed substances and is not significant.)
    Enlarged liver and brain (McNeil stated these were insignificant due to a lack of a dose response.)
    Shrunken ovaries
    Shrunken thymus aboe 3 grams per day
    and calcified kidneys (McNeil stated this is often seen with poorly
    absorbed substances and was of no toxicological significance. The FDA
    Final Rule agreed that these are findings that are common in aged female
    rats and are not significant.)
    adrenal cortical hemorrhagic degeneration (McNeil stated that this is a
    variable finding common in aged rats and not toxicologically
    Increased cataracts (McNeil
    stated that cataracts were discovered upon microscopic sections of the
    eye tissue and that this was not as accurate as in-life ophthalmological
    examinations and did not reveal any treatment- related ocular findings.
    liver cells (The FDA Final Rule states that this was only marginal and
    probably not treatment related due to the severity of the lesion was not
    contaminant with the dosage.)
    Of course, the FDA didn’t think any of these were significant enough to hold back approval.  No toxic tests done until after approval, and then only for 3 months long  -hardly comparable the long term use by a person “loving it!”

    Not to mention that I get migraines from drinking SoBe as there are just too many artificial ingredients in it, along with its vague “natural flavors” which are allowed to contain MSG among many other brain toxic substances.

    • Aerie

      What does Splenda have to do with any of this? Splenda isn’t even in SoBe.

  • Janiegilbert

    i don’t have a problem with stevia but with erythritol. I HATE the artificial sweeteners, and it drives me nuts trying to find a product that doesn’t have them. How can Sobe state “naturally sweetened” when it’s NOT. When I first tasted it and saw the claim, I was excited. It was too difficult for me to read the ingredient list on the bottle, so went online and found that, just like all the others, it’s artificially sweetened. The only artificial sweetener that agrees with me is saccharine unfortunately. 

  • Amy Hagerup

    Thanks for the facts you listed here. I believe that water is the best beverage for good health, but tap water might contain fluoride which is not good for us. I use Shaklee’s Get Clean Water pitcher for drinking water and it even filters out lead which none of the other major brand filters can do. If you have ever truly experienced thirst, then you will realize just how wonderful good water is. 

  • Amorette

    Bug powder. Yuk!  Stevia ?  That makes me have a negative reaction. I am glad to know what is really in this water.  Too many chemicals and additives for me.


    • Is1030

      Yessss!  I did no what was in.  I had a life threatening allergic reaction to it.  Will definitive stay away from.  Let me tell u was a very scary experience.

  • Pat85014

    I don’t get it,  it says the Sobe Lifewater 0 has no calories, no sugar, yet it has a certain amount of carbs in it.  Where does this come from?

    • Kimberly Doster

      You seem to be confusing SoBe LifeWater, which has sugars and calories, with SoBe LifeWater ZERO, which is sweetened with erythritol and stevia.

      • Juliet Jimenez

        No confusion here … SoBe lifewater with 0 calories lists 3 grams of carbohydrates.
        Where DO they come from?

        • ChristopherRice

          It’s most likely carbohydrates which would be listed as sugar alcohols, but the label probably wasn’t that specific.

        • Chase

          I’m quite late on answering this and you may not even read it, but I had the same question and did some research. Apparently, sugar alcohols are made up of carbs, but have less calories per gram than normal carbs. Most of it is indigestible, which is why people seem to have bowel issues when they drink too much of it.

          • BadKitty

            Thanks for the update, Chase!

    • kent

      Modified corn starch is a complex carb that turns immediately to glucose, then directly to body fat after ingestion. Very deceptive trash they put in a lot of drinks an cereals. It is pretty much the same as maltodextrin. Both are hidden carbs – instant fat makers and have very high glycemic index ratings. Buyers beware.

    • disqus_EauFvCsm9I

      It also has aspertame or sucalous in it because it makes me sick. The David Pakman Show even called them out for it before.

      • KD

        I was wondering why I was feeling sick today! I grabbed one at work last minute yesterday and ever since I haven’t been feeling well (I’m allergic to artificial sweeteners). Damn!

        • kazooga1234

          You aren’t allergic. They are toxic waste. It makes everybody sick. Some people just ignore what their body is telling them and continue to drink that shit. It causes thyroid, cancer, makes people gain 2 extra pounds then normal soda, and it messes with sperm and ovaries.

  • is1030

    I drank a sobe life water flavored pomagranite.  I had a severe allergic reaction and when I say severe I mean life threatening. I only had  3 small, drinks and within 2-3 minutes I started swelling, breaking out in hives.  Thank God I work right next to the hospital, that is what saved my life! Doctor told me I was gone for 30 seconds!  
    This is the second time it happens to me.  This was the worst !! Please everyone drinking this drinks be very-careful…

    • Stl_rlc

      The same thing happened to me.  I was driving.  It wasn’t life threatening but very uncomfortable.  I broke out in hives.  I had a similar reaction two years earlier with another drink–vitamin life water or something.  From here on out, I’m just going to stick to water.  This stuff is a crock.

  • Padilla2012

    I remember whend SoBe was sold in bottles.  Are the bottles of SoBe still around?

  • Tarapractice

    :) Stevia is NATURAL. I believe it comedy from tStevia is natural. I’ve been using it way before it was mass marketed and it is labeled as a dietary supplement. It comes from the grapefruit or so I’ve read.

    • MrTour

      Try reading more!  Grapefruit?  I don’t think so…

    • Tracy MacAuley

      Stevia does NOT come from grapefruit, it is an herb.

  • Bnnndls

    Wow! I didn’t know there was an organization that gave food products such an understandable yay or nay so we consumers can make a more intelligent choice. Well done!

  • carpet cleaning Sacramento

    I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it.

  • ChemEngineer

    Whoever writes this blog is an idiot. What are your credentials?

  • Nick

    Wow so what you are saying is that tap water is a better preference??? Do you even know what is in tap water??? Does the word FLUORIDE ring a bell? I’ll stick to my SoBe and you stick to your tap water and we will let nature take its course. At least SoBe has nutritional value that tap water doesn’t.  

    • Jorge

      Apparently you are unaware of the fact that the government regulations to tap water are far more strict than that of bottled water. In fact bottled water is often times tap water that has been given a fancy label. Do your research.

      • Donna

        With the way things are in our society you better do your homework and pick your poison wisely. There is so much deception in our food industries from labeling to subliminal suggestions we must be careful but even more we must educate. Educate ourselves and others with the truth. Everything is not always cracked up to be what it says it is. Pay attention to the fine print!!!!

    • karidrgn

      In the 1930s doctors found that people living in areas where the water was naturally fluoridated had fewer instances of cavities than those who lived in areas with low natural fluoride. So, they started adding it to tap water and cavities in people has dropped drastically. Worldwide there is a min & max recommended levels as too much (like just about anything) is bad for you. So, having fluoride added is not something to be alarmed about.

    • al

      I have been drinking Sobe for over a year trying to avoid the other nasty sugars, and for that time there was only one I did not outwardly have an allergic reaction to and that was the apple pear flavor. Well, I stopped drinking the apple pear flavor for over a month- no reason just focused on water, but when I came back to it I had this constant dizzy feeling that I never associated with the drink before. Periodically, when I felt that way I thought maybe I ate something I didn’t pay attention to that aggravated my allergies. Now, I know they changed the ingredients when they changed the labelling because for me there was an obvious taste difference. So, for me I am done with Sobe and will stick with pure water for now. There is something in there they are not revealing…

  • Nick

    Wow so what you are saying is that tap water is a better preference??? Do you even know what is in tap water??? Does the word FLUORIDE ring a bell? I’ll stick to my SoBe and you stick to your tap water and we will let nature take its course. At least SoBe has nutritional value that tap water doesn’t.  

  • Sirris15

    Way to put the negative impression on people. Who are you to say these things about life water. and Tap? tap water most deffinately isnt the healthiest water. last i checked the water out my sink had some nasty smell and taste to it. and as for the sweetner you probably couldnt find a more natural sweetner. Personally i think people need to just face the fact that good stuff isnt gonna be acceptable. theres always gonna be someone trying to be heard and if that means disgracing a great product then thats what theyll do. dont be fooled sobe lifewaters as good as it gets, an like everything else in this uncontrollable world it should be moderated. dont just drink sobe water eat and drink sobe water and switch it up.nothing is healthy forever anymore. get used to it. and i wouldnt listen to some jerk over the interwebz!

  • handyman melbourne

    Thanks for the facts you listed here. I believe that water is the best
    beverage for good health, but tap water might contain fluoride which is
    not good for us.

  • Vancouver mortgage renewals

    For a water beverage, this product sure has lots of  additives! 

  • Black Tungsten Wedding Bands

    I like the sobe zero waters, my problem with them is all the plastic container waste.

  • Katie

    thank you for this article.  It was an eye opener for me.  

  • guest

    this is at least a better alternative to soda or diet soda with the killer Nutrasweet! water is best but once in awhile this will satisfy the need for a sweet drink.

  • Wish_I_did_research

    Talking poorly about Erythritol and Stevia sure shows some powerful ignorance. I wish people would do their homework before bashing a product. Erythritol is just sugar that’s been digested with yeast(not to mention is naturally occuring in fruits and vegetables), and Stevia comes from a plant, just like -gasp- sugar. I hope you all suck down your diet sodas and get the splenda poisoning lurking around the corner. Also, why hate on bug coloring? Go google how many insect parts are in your average container of peanut butter. People are so paranoid.

  • Anna M. Jiménez Wilcox

    You are seriously advocating drinking TAP water?! Maybe if my life depended on it! Do you know what’s in out tap water?!
    As for Stevia – it has been used as a sweetner for hundreds of years. What the FDA does and does not approve is not a good rule of thumb to go by in my book.

    • Food Eater

      You know that we have some of the most filtered Tap water in the world where others are drinking from creeks and rivers right? And government regulates tap water more than bottled.

  • nancy mindes

    Sobe water is so overly sweet and tastes like plastic. I just bought a flat at Costco and am returning it.

    • Adam

      Could be the batch you bought was old and left out in the sun. I drink it regularly from the local convenience store and have only ever experienced a mild plastic taste, and even that’s rare.

  • C

    As I just finished my bottle of yumberry pomegranate… well I think it’s really good, and it’s a lot better tasting than plain water to me, plus vitamins, so when you add it all up, you get someone staying hydrated with a bit of artificial flavoring, vs. someone who rarely drinks tap water because of the taste. I’ll take the vitamins and a bit of artificial flavoring. Hopefully it won’t kill me.

  • Kimberly Doster

    From the wikipedia article about erythritol: “In the body, most of the erythritol is absorbed into the bloodstream in the small intestine, and then for the most part excreted unchanged in the urine. About 10% enters the colon.[4] Because 90% of erythritol is absorbed before it enters the large intestine, it does not normally cause laxative effects, as are often experienced after consumption of other sugar alcohols (such as xylitol and maltitol).[5], although extremely large doses can cause nausea and borborygmi.[6]” .

  • rick

    are you suggesting it is better to drink aspartame?

  • Kaydoll77

    I was also hoping you would explain the zero calories. Carbs have 4 calories a gram, so 3-4 grams is not zero calories. Are they rounding down?

  • Bex

    Ok, I agree with the all the arguments about it being a Stevia source, the actual Stevia sweetener is better for you. But, the problem is that manufacturers of bottled drinks are not producing it. They are afraid that people won’t drink the straight source and they aren’t going to make money. But, people who are diabetic or can’t or won’t drink sugar drinks aren’t given a choice. In the words of my doctor: “If it comes down to a choice between sugary sodas, artificial sweetened drinks, or Stevia by products, choose the Stevia by product, it is not gonna kill you.” My husband started drinking diet soda when and artificial sweeteners when he found out he was bordering on diabetes. He soon went into renal shutdown and nearly died. He was told by the doctor not to ever touch artificial sweeteners again. If doctors know this was the cause of his near death, what else do they know they are not allowed to talk about. We grab up every bottle of this stuff we can find in our area and Crystal Lite Pure. Because it’s all there is and we still have to beg our merchants to stock the stuff. Oh don’t depend on Walmart to do it for long.

  • eganstew3

    There is a item that they do not talk about natural flavor. Is that MSG?

  • Barbara Ann Moffitt

    I am pre diabetic and I had one of these bottles of Sobe Life Water 0 Calories while we were traveling, for lunch, at a Quizno’s Sandwich shop and my blood sugar jumped from normal to 339. This is NOT good and I am reporting this to my doctor. I was going by the assumption that 0 calories meant no sugar or no carbs; what happened here?

    • SandyTodd

      The rest of the meal at the Quizno’s Sandwich shop?

    • sanji

      I hate to tell you but the sub at quiznos will spike your sugar more than the drink did not that im defending it or others like it but still….

  • Gina

    I began adding Stevia to my water way before it was mass marketed just for the health benefits. Apparently Stevia aids the gut in absorbing good nutrients.

  • Gina

    I began adding Stevia to my water way before it was mass marketed just for the health benefits. Apparently Stevia aids the gut in absorbing good nutrients.

  • rob

    I had no idea that I have been drinking powdered bugs in the cochineal extract ingredient. No more Sobe Lifewater for me, ever again! YUK!

    • Ftloosenfanzfree

      It’s an extremely common ingredient found in all kinds of red things. I have more frequently seen it in ingredient lists as “carmine.”

  • Kristin Johnson-Jones

    ? Since I started drinking Sobe water I have noticed that my hands, fingers, ankles and feet are killing me. It may have nothing to do with the water. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this. I went to my Dr. and got tested for RA, Lupus and another form of Arthritis and they all came back negative. They hurt all the time but worse in cold and stormy weather. Just searching for answers is all.

  • pathmage

    Hard to trust a review that uses the wrong too.

  • Adam

    Considering how little and how nit-picky they had to be about the downsides, I would say that these are a pretty good choice in today’s world of sugar/calorie loaded drinks. Is it as healthy as water? No. But it’s way better than Vitamin Water or soda.

  • carmon

    Does anyone know if yum berry pomegranate contains blueberry juice?

  • xtremetoxin

    can Sobe water be used as an alternative to water?

  • Michael1959

    I read all the comments here and feel dumber for it.

  • Amleuchicken

    I want to know how it is possible for it to have 0 calories and 10 grams of carbs!