Friday, September 29, 2017

Keto Kool-Aid And Flavored Waters

Walking down the drink aisle in my local supermarket, I noted that there were more than four different brands of flavored waters for sell in a multitude of flavors. Some are slightly carbonated, others are not. So why are there so many different flavored water options? Heck when I was growing up, we didn't have bottled water, we simply drank out of the tap or the water fountain. However, we know that keeping hydrated is very important, especially when you are first starting out on a LCHF / Ketogenic diet. In the induction phase of this way of eating (WOE) you will experience some diuresis (increased urination) which will cause you to have some sodium, potassium, and other mineral losses.

It is this diuresis and loss of electrolytes that contribute to the symptoms known as 'Keto Flu'. Obviously, one of the things you can do to help minimize these symptoms is to make sure that you are properly hydrated. Simple water is your best choice, commercially prepared fluids like Gatorade and or Powerade can help with the electrolyte replacement, but they are loaded with sugars, which of course are carbohydrates so these are not a good choice. Gatorade brand does make a low carbohydrate version known as 'G2', but even this so-called low carbohydrate version of Gatorade has 12 grams of carbohydrates per 20 ounce (591ml) bottle. So as you can see, even the so-called low carbohydrate version is not an option for those of us on a strict or even moderate LCHF / Keto diet. Have no fear, If you are active, or work outside a lot in the heat in which you perspire, you can make your own zero carbohydrate electrolyte replacement drinks that taste great and are LCHF / Keto friendly. You can find recipes for these drinks in my article 'Make Your Own Sports Drink' that I wrote in 2012. Five years later, I am still making and drinking these electrolyte drinks and not only are they zero carbohydrate, they taste great, and save me a whole lot of money.

So, let's get back on topic and talk about day to day hydration. Before embarking on this way of eating twelve months ago, I had switched from diet soft drinks to 'sweetened' tea made with Splenda low calorie sweetener. Although, I did drink some water, and no caffeine after 4 PM, tea was still my primary form of fluid intake throughout the day. One problem with consuming this much tea, coffee, diet soft drinks, and the plethora of energy drinks (Monster, Red Bull, NOS, Full Throttle,etc...) that many of us consume on a daily basis, is that they contain a lot of caffeine. Caffeine which acts as a mild stimulant also contributes to the diuretic effects of the induction phase of the LCHF / Keto diet.

Let me be brutally honest, pure unadulterated water is the best fluid choice you can make for re-hydrating your body, but I will be honest, it is the most boring, at least for me. And it appears that I am not the only one who finds this to be true as hundreds of thousands of bottles of flavored waters or flavored water enhancers in the little squirt bottles are sold each month in the United States. The problem is that these flavored water options are often expensive and or in some cases contain hidden carbohydrates. So what is a bored with plain water LCHF / Keto dieter supposed to do when they need to keep up with their hydration, and still not spend a fortune on flavored bottled waters or flavored water bottle additives so that they have something to drink throughout the day?

For me, the solution was simple. I went back to my childhood experiences and those of my experimentation with making my own electrolyte replacement drink 'Frugalade' and began making my own flavored waters from...wait for it...Kool aid. I am not sure why more adults do not drink Kool aid, maybe it is because of the color in the package that turns the water red, orange, pink etc... But the flavors are the same as those clear bottled 'fruit' flavored waters and it is way cheaper to make your own than it is to buy flavored bottle water. Now, I will say this, the flavor palate of an adult can be quite different than that of a child, so I had to make some slight adjustments in order to get the specific flavor(s) that I liked. So in this article, I am going to share with you the flavors and or the combinations of Kool aid that my family and I enjoy and drink on a daily basis.

The Recipes

As I mentioned, Kool aid was developed as a powdered flavored drink in the late 1920's. Yes, it is that old. By removing the water content, and producing a powdered form of 'fruit' flavored concentrate it could be shipped across the United States at quite a reduced price making it more affordable for American families. The rest is shall we say...history. Now, the only problem I found with Kool aid is that using the recommended two packages for a gallon of flavored Kool Aid left it's flavor profile a little weak for my liking. However, I found that using three packages of Kool Aid per gallon of water gave me the depth of flavor that I enjoyed. If two packets per gallon works for you, then by all means use two packets, but for my family, three packets per gallon works best. We generally have two different one gallon flavors of Kool Aid in our refrigerator at a time. Primarily because I am a heavy drinker...[GRIN]... So the following recipes are the flavors and or flavor combinations that we make on a daily basis. Now, if you have read any of my articles, you know I use liquid sucralose as my sweetener of choice, but any zero calorie sweetener you want to use will work. One-half teaspoon of sucralose has the sweetening power of 1 cup of granulated sugar, so if you are using any other sweetener, this would be the conversion you are looking for.

3 packets of unsweetened Kool aid mix 0.13 oz, (3.6 grams)
½ teaspoon liquid sucralose (25% concentration)
1 gallon of water

Total Recipe (128 ounces)
Calories 0, fat 0 grams, protein 0 grams, carbohydrates 0 grams

Flavor Variations

Obviously, there are a wide variety of flavor combinations available from Kool aid, and I encourage you to experiment on your own to see what flavors you might come up with that you and your family enjoy. BTW, any of these flavor combinations can be used to make your own sports drink (Gatorade clone) as mentioned earlier in this article. For my sports drinks, I only use 2 packets of Kool Aid as I like a slightly weaker flavor profile for them. Again you can check out my article 'Make Your Own Sports Drink' on our blog.

Black Cherry – This is a combination flavor for me (1 pkt Black Cherry, 2 pkt's Cherry).
Cherry Limeade - This is a combination flavor for me (1 pkt Cherry, 2 pkt's Lemonade, 1 tablespoon
lime juice).
Grape - Three packets of 'Grape' Kool aid.
Lemonade – Three packets of 'Lemonade' Kool aid.
Orange - Three packets of 'Orange' Kool aid.
Peach Mango - Three packets of 'Peach Mango' Kool aid.
Pink Lemonade – Three packets of 'Pink Lemonade' Kool aid.
Strawberry Lemonade – This is a combination flavor for me (1 pkt Strawberry, 2 pkt's Lemonade).
Tropical Punch – Three packets of 'Tropical Punch' Kool aid.
Watermelon Lemonade – This is a combination flavor for me (1 pkt Watermelon, 2 pkt's Lemonade).

Why Kool Aid Versus Other Drink Mix Brands?

Initially, I tried other store brands of flavored drink mixes from Aldi (Mixade Kids), Save-A-Lot (Flavor Aid), and even Great Value, but to be honest, I found the Kool aid brand flavors to be the “cleanest” tasting. This may sound like an odd statement, but maybe it is because some of the other brands contain a greater amount of dextrose (Flavor Aid) and or maltodextrin (Mixade Kids), which in my opinion gives a slight off taste to the final product. Having said that, some, but not all of the unsweetened Kool Aid flavors contain some maltodextrin as well. Anyway, I purchase the Kool Aid brand because I like the flavor better, but use which ever brand you like as long as it is unsweetened and you use an zero calorie sweetener, your drinks will be LCHF / Keto friendly.

The Cost Factor

If you are on a budget as many of us are, then making your own flavored waters from drink mixes is a great way to save money keeping you on budget. On average, one gallon of prepared Kool Aid is about $0.74 cents ($0.72 for 3 packets of Kool Aid, about $0.02 for the liquid sucralose). Now finding the same quantities in other powdered drink mixes for price comparison is not too difficult, but I kept it to a minimum and attempted to list them in similar amount of quantity that the drink mix produced for a more accurate price comparison.

Kool Aid Powdered Drink Mixes
3 packets (4 quarts, 1 gallon, or 128 ounces) $0.72, $0.005 cents per ounce.

Bulk Comparison Prices

Crystal Light Powdered Drink Mixes
5 packets (10 quarts, 2 ½ gallons, 320 ounces), $5.98, $0.018 per ounce

Fit & Active Powdered Drink Mixes
6 packets (12 quarts, 3 gallons, or 384 ounces), $1.89, $0.005 per ounce.

Great Value Powdered Drink Mixes
6 packets (12 quarts, 3 gallons, or 384 ounces), $4.28, $0.011 per ounce.

Kool Aid Powdered Drink Mixes
9 packets (12 quarts, 3 gallons, or 384 ounces) $2.16, $0.005 cents per ounce.

Remember that using store brands or 'no name' brands of powdered drink mixes can lower the cost even more. As an example, a package of 6 packets of Aldi's Mixade sells for $0.84 or $0.14 per packet which is about 42% cheaper than the Kool-Aid brand which sells for $0.24 per packet at my local Walmart. So check out your local supermarket store brands of powdered drink mixes for even more savings.


Water is always the best liquid for re-hydrating, and while life sustaining, it is kinda boring. This is why many people who embark on a LCHF / Keto WOE consume flavored and or 'smart' waters as their primary form of fluid intake. Popular commercially prepared fluid replacement drink mixes such as 'Crystal Light', 'Fit&Active', and Walmart's 'Great Value' contain maltodextrin and aspartame as their primary sweetener unlike powdered Kool Aid mixes. They also tend to be a bit more expensive with the exception of Aldi's 'Fit & Active' brand, which is actually slightly cheaper than the Kool-Aid that I prefer. The only problem for me is that the 'Fit & Active' drink mixes are pre-sweetened using maltodextrin and aspartame which I do not like. So given the difference of 1/10th of a penny in difference between Kool-Aid and 'Fit & Active', I choose to use the Kool-Aid brand as I can control not only the flavor profile, the overall sweetness of the drink, and finally because I do not like the taste of aspartame. So while store brands of powdered drink mixes and pre-sweetened drink mixes such as Aldi's 'Fit & Active' are cheaper alternatives than Kool-Aid, at the end of the day, I still prefer the taste of the Kool-Aid brand powdered drink mixes.

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  1. Kool-aid's directions for grown consumption are horrible. I'm not getting 2 qt of water, especially if you intend to add ice. I use 1 qt water, add a little extra, then agave nectar till it tastes good. There's no way the directed amount of water ever tastes good.

    1. AGAVE NECTAR is a big NO-NO on the Clean Strict Keto diet. It's a SUGAR in natural form. It's best to sweeten your drinks with natural Stevia extract drops. The drops do not have any carbs unlike the powder type.