We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

The Latest Disturbing TikTok Trend Is #WaterTok

We thought the ice-cream-filled Fruit Roll-Ups were as sweet as things got.

I drink more water than literally anyone else I know. I'm constantly replenishing my Brita, constantly refilling my bottle, and constantly rushing to the toilet. I will often hear someone say that they "forgot" to drink water all day. I don't understand how that's possible. It's quite literally the lifeblood of humanity. Are you not alive?

There's one gripe I hear about water more than any other, and it doesn't make any sense to me: "I don't like water." What? Every single living being on the planet is hard-wired to crave it. How could you simply "not like it"? It's like saying you don't like sleep.

I've heard of people using sugar-free "flavor enhancers" like MiO to add some sweetness to their water (or to their borg). But I didn't know until I read it in The New York Times that flavored water has become the latest TikTok food trend, spurring the rise of the hashtag #WaterTok.

The #WaterTok trend, explained

These TikTok trend adherents aren't just adding a drop or two of MiO to their bottle of Poland Spring, oh no. They're concocting full bars in their homes with gross-sounding syrups like "Unicorn Candy" that allegedly make "plain" water taste "better." I put "better" in quotes because sugar-free syrups famously taste artificial, but the #WaterTokers certainly don't seem to mind.


One #WaterTok influencer made an orange creamsicle flavored water, which I'm unsure if you can still even call water with its artificial orange color. Another frequent #WaterTok poster, who is also a TikTok teacher (which in my opinion should be illegal, but that's an entirely separate rant), makes flavors that look virtually radioactive, like the bright blue Nerds Ocean Water or the hot pink Watermelon Jolly Rancher water. She also pours bottled water into a reusable cup, so hopefully she isn't teaching environmental science.

Anyone with common sense might question whether a serving of water that's been doctored up with both powders and syrups containing artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and dyes can still be called water as opposed to juice. A Harvard nutritionist told CNBC that such a concoction "really isn't that different from drinking Kool Aid." She also mentions that fake sugar substitutes can be bad for gut health and might lead to discomfort. And while adding all that extra shit to water initially gained popularity as a way to hit one's daily hydration goals, the practice could also have negative effects.


"I'd argue that this is not real hydration," the nutritionist said. "[It's] just a different form of drinking a sweet beverage like diet soda."

Whether or not you care about the nutritional downsides is up to you, but can we at least agree that this stuff isn't really water at all? And sure, regular old water can sometimes seem boring, but if you feel that way, I recommend exploring the wide world of seltzers. I first got into them back in my working-from-an-office days, when drinking five cans of grapefruit/pamplemousse LaCroix was the most exciting part of my day. Seltzers are a fun, fizzy, flavorful way to get hydrated without risking a sugar-induced crash or chemical-sweetener-induced diarrhea. Maybe #SeltzerTok will be the next big thing.