Zero calorie sparkling water has been a craze due to its simple ingredient list which is carbonated water and natural flavour. No one knows what those natural flavours truly entail.
According to the USDA guidelines, although food and drink labelled natural, does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives and the ingredients are only minimally processed, the item can contain a slurry of antibiotics, growth hormones and other similar chemicals. Basically, all the additives we are trying to avoid can be found packed into a label that says natural. Antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals disrupt our hormones, our digestive system, our microbiome and cause damaging inflammation.
The USDA oversees over meat, poultry, and egg products and their regulations are fairly lenient for foods labelled natural. However, the majority of the food supply, 80% or more, is regulated by the FDA. The FDA is responsible for dairy, seafood, produce, packaged foods, bottled water, and whole eggs. they have no guidelines for use of the term natural and only lightly enforce the term all natural.
When you see natural flavours as an ingredient on your sparkling water, know that it is just another way to say MSG. These chemical by-products are excitotoxins, a type of harmful chemical which tricks our brain into overeating while creating addiction.
Natural flavour is often code for glutamate by-products. This includes natural flavours categorised as: cherry, lemon, orange, fruit, peppermint, coconut, tangerine......
Just because something does not contain any calories does not mean it is healthy. These drinks are mostly manufactured in aluminium cans and are lined in plastic BPA, which is another huge endocrine disruptor.
NOTE: even products such as organic products and organic tea bags contain natural flavours. I personally do not use tea bags even organic tea bags I do no trust.