Liquid IV is a a powder that you add to water to make you more hydrated than drinking water alone. Does this product really make you more hydrated or is it just flavored water?
Dehydration is serious issue. With summer fast approaching and the start of warm weather outdoor activities, it’s type to start thinking about proper hydration again. Without drinking enough fluids we can suffer from headaches, fatigue, confusion, poor skin, dry mouth, muscle cramps, dizziness, and other serious issues.
Obviously the thinking is that you should drink more water to fix this. When you sweet you lose more than just water, so you can instead drink something with nutrients or electrolytes, like coconut water, Gatorade, watermelon juice, or whatever your preferred drink is.
Liquid IV is designed to be an optimized solution to dehydration, one that helps you retain water to stay hydrated instead of simply drinking more.
What Is Liquid IV?
Liquid IV is a single-serving packet that is filled with a powder. You pour 16 grams of this power into 16 fluid ounces of water, mix it, and drink it. This single serving is supposed to offer your body 3x the hydration of water alone. It also has 3x the electrolytes of a typical sports drink, which means a lot of nutrients but also, generally speaking, more flavor.
What’s In Liquid IV?
The powder inside a Liquid IV stick is a white, sweet substance. It mixes easily with any liquid, even cold water. The top 10 ingredients of the product:
- Cane Sugar
- Citric Acid
- Potassium Citrate
- Sodium Citrate
- Dipotassium Phosphate
- Silicon Dioxide
- Rebaudioside-A (Stevia Leaf Extract)
- Natural Flavors
There are vitamins too, including C, B3, B5, B6, and B12. It’ll get you over 100% your recommended daily amount of each of these.
From the ingredients list the product seems to be largely composed of sugar, and the nutrition information largely confirms this. Each packet (1 serving) is 45 calories with 11 grams of sugar and 500 mg of salt.
Does Liquid IV Work?
This is a very difficult question to answer. The company’s claim that “One stick of Hydration Multiplier in 16oz of water can provide the same amount of hydration as drinking 2-3 bottles of water” seems impossible at first glance. If your body needs water, 16 oz. simply can’t replace 48 oz. There is no way around the simple physics of fluid replacement, right?
That said, if what your body needs isn’t the water, but the nutrients that were lost with your sweating, then this could work. This doesn’t exactly make sense though, as water has essentially no nutrients, so drinking 1/3 the water with a lot of nutrients doesn’t seem like it could serve as a replacement for 3x the amount.
But maybe the way Liquid IV works is that the nutrients in the powder causes your body to hold onto water, making the 16 fl. oz. as effective as 48 fl. oz. This seems to be what Fluid IV’s materials implies.
I’m not a nutritionist or a scientist, so I’ll let you make your own decision with these claims. I’m just trying to use some logic to cut through the marketing talk and figure out how the product works and why so many people believe it to work so well.
Liquid IV Review
What what I can tell, from my experience with the product and my research about it, people seem largely happy with the product. The reviews on Amazon are highly positive and there are over 50,000 of the reviews.
Drinking Liquid IV with water did make me feel hydrated. I found that the more intense the activity and the more dehydrated I was, the more effective any sports drink or powder like this feels. During limited activity — walks around the neighborhood or light gardening work — the drink didn’t seem worth it and wasn’t more effective than water. During, and especially after intense, extended activity when I was losing a lot of water and not replacing it regularly it seems possible than Liquid IV was more effective than water alone. I’m not sure it was ever 3x more effective than water, but I could see the benefits of the added sugar and nutrients.
Is Liquid IV more effective than Gatorade or sugar alone? Or, say, a packet of powdered iced tea? It’s really hard to say. Many people online seem to think it is, but I couldn’t really say that I found a significant difference.
From a taste standpoint, I found Liquid IV to be very sweet. I bought the Passionfruit flavor, which was perhaps a mistake, as its tropical sweetness was too much for me. As a result I watered down the solution considerably in order to be able to drink it. The right mix for me was more like 48 oz of water to a packet, but I’m not very tolerant of sweet drinks. This isn’t a problem though — you can simply use your existing water bottle and use 1/3 a packet instead of a full one. If anything this was an incentive to drink more water.
I noticed that Liquid IV has a lot of cane sugar and dextrose (usually a corn-derived sugar), more than I’d like in a drink. That said if you are doing serious activity the sugar likely isn’t an issue, similar to the calories. This is something you’ll need to decide for yourself. Older formulas were said to use a beet-based sugar with lower glycemic impact, but it now uses cane sugar.
Liquid IV has a lot of salt in it, and tastes rather salty. This didn’t bother me much as salt is an important part of any electrolyte replacement but I could see how the salty taste would turn people off.
If you are looking for a Liquid IV alternative, many people seem to be happy with Nuun electrolyte tablets which have less sugar in them.
Does Liquid IV taste good?
Most people agree that, yes, Liquid IV tastes quite good. Some people say the drink is too sugary and others that it is too salty, but most people like it a lot and would compare it to other sports drinks, like Gatorade.
Who makes Liquid IV?
The company behind Liquid IV is owned by Unilever. The Liquid IV brand was acquired by Unilever in September 2020.
Where is Liquid IV made?
Liquid IV is headquartered in El Segundo, California, but the company does not say where the Liquid IV packets are manufactured.
Can I return Liquid IV packets?
Liquid IV states that if you are not 100% happy with the products they will “fly stand behind them.” If you are not happy with the product you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a refund.