Enhanced Waters: Are They as Good as They Claim to Be? (Part 2)

I got thinking a little more about all of these enhanced waters last week. So when I went to the grocery store, I spent a bit longer than usual in the beverage aisle. I was amazed at the assortment of enhanced waters — I didn’t realize there were so many! No wonder people get confused about what to buy.


I will admit that the beverage companies do a fine job at drawing a person in with the packaging. The bottles sport attractive, eye-catching labels, and even the color of some of the drinks is appealing. (These companies sure have savvy marketing teams!) Anyway, I felt compelled to share a little more on my journey to “enhancement” with you.

SoBe Lifewater
This is Pepsi’s counterpart to Coca-Cola’s VitaminWater. One thing these waters have in common is flashy product Web sites that spout philosophical sayings. But try to find nutrition information on these sites, and you’ll soon become frustrated: When it’s there at all, this information is definitely not easy to locate. But I did learn from the Web site that not only does Lifewater provide you with a “high level of vitamins and antioxidants,” it throws in natural herbs, too, all without artificial sweeteners.

I bought a bottle of Lifewater to check out the nutrients and ingredients. Here’s the data on the 20-ounce bottle of “Enlighten” Blackberry Grape Lifewater:

  • Serving size: 8 ounces (2.5 servings per bottle)
  • Calories: 40
  • Carbohydrate: 16 grams
  • Sodium: 20 milligrams (“to help enhance smoothness and flavor”)

If you drank the entire 20-ounce bottle, you’d swig down 100 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrate, and 50 milligrams of sodium, plus 100% of your daily requirement for vitamin C, 50% for vitamin E, and 25% of various B vitamins (these are the antioxidants they’re referring to).

The ingredient listing is the best, though: filtered water, sugar, erythritol (a sugar alcohol), natural flavor, fumaric acid, black carrot juice concentrate (for color), plus various vitamins, modified food starch, gum arabic, L-theanine, and yerba mate extract. If you’re wondering, L-theanine is an amino acid found only in tea plants and used extensively in beverages in Japan. It apparently helps to relieve stress by inducing relaxation via stimulation of alpha waves (a type of brain wave associated with relaxation), and it possibly may boost resistance to infections. SoBe doesn’t reveal how much L-theanine is in their Lifewater; fortunately, there are few reported harmful side effects (although just as few reported benefits).

Yerba mate is an herb that’s consumed in South America as a tea. It’s claimed that yerba mate has a number of health benefits, although none have been proven. Yerba mate does have side effects, including irritability, nausea, headache, and increased urination. Interestingly, this herb contains caffeine. So, on the one hand, “Enlighten” contains an herb that relaxes you, but on the other hand, it contains an herb that helps perk you up… Is this the path to enlightenment?

What surprises me the most, though, is that there’s not a blackberry or grape to be found in this beverage, despite the fact that the flavor is “Blackberry Grape”.

I checked out another flavor of SoBe Lifewater: “Purify” Yumberry Pomegranate. This variety is sweetened with stevia (PureVia brand), so it contains fewer calories (0 per 8 ounces) and carbohydrate (6 grams per 8 ounces). Along with the filtered water, erythritol, stevia, xanthan gum, modified food starch, and cochineal extract (a red pigment obtained from the cochineal insect), Yumberry Pomegranate Lifewater contains ginger extract and dandelion root extract.

Ginger is likely beneficial in preventing and easing nausea associated with morning sickness due to pregnancy, motion sickness, and chemotherapy. It may also help treat inflammation due to arthritis and ulcerative colitis, and it shows some promise in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Fortunately, reported side effects are few but may include heartburn, stomach upset, and possible interaction with blood-thinning medicine. Dandelion root is used to stimulate appetite, improve digestion, and support a healthy liver and gallbladder. It also acts as a diuretic (substance that increases the production of urine). It can interact with medicines, including lithium, antibiotics, diuretics, and antacids. Once again, we don’t know how much of these herbs are in the drink.

To sum up Lifewater, this beverage, like VitaminWater, is pretty much sugar water with some vitamins and herbs thrown in for good measure.

I’d be interested to know if any of you drink these beverages… and what your thoughts are!

Part 3 next week!

Learn more about the health and medical experts who who provide you with the cutting-edge resources, tools, news, and more on Diabetes Self-Management.
About Our Experts >>

  • denise

    I have tried SOBE lifewater yumberry pomegranate b/c its 0 calories w/o an artificial sweetner. I did research the sweet herb stevia and saw nothing untoward. I didn’t realize there were other herbs in it as well. So, about 8hrs after trying the drink I had a violent episode of vomitting AND diarrhea. I though it was some bad Halloween candy. Two weeks later I had another half bottle and about 8hrs later I got the same response. Just a horrible amount of vomitting and diarrhea that lasts until my stomach is completely empty (1-2hrs). And then I feel fine (other than being wiped out from such an episode). I have googled the drink and can’t find anything describing such a reaction. But I am a creature of habit and tend to eat the same things repeatedly. I am convinced its the LifeWater. I am interested if anyone else has had such a reaction. I did eat seafood both times, but so did the rest of my family, w/o consequence. Maybe theres a reaction with the LIfeWater ingredients and seafood????

  • denise

    I should add on my soapbox: Herbs/herbals may be natural but they are medicines to be respected and taken with care. I don’t like these drinks that put all kinds of “herbs” into their products w/o educating the public on risks and side effects. Be careful. One of our most popular pain relivers came from a plant/herb (ibuprofen).

  • Kelley

    I used to drink Vitamin Water a lot, but then there was all that talk about it not being as good for you as it seems. So, I stopped. Then I saw the commercials for So Be Lifewater and it was eyecatching. The next time I was at the store I bought a few. The labels, color, and names of the drinks were definitelymore appealing than Vitamin Water. I have tried Fuji Apple Pear, Blackberry Grape, Yumberry Pomegranate (my favorite), and an orange one that I can’t remember its name. Some of the fruits were unfamiliar to me, so I haven’t tried them yet. I think they are delicious and have not had any negative effects from any of the flavors I’ve tried.

  • Shonta

    So, I bought some lifewater today, it was the yumberry pomegranate. I drank a little and my stomach started bothering me. Not realizing what is was, a couple hours later after my stomach settled I drank some more, and now her I am again with an upset stomach. I put in a google search to see if anyone else has had any issues with this stuff. So, Denise you are not alone. I am on a trip with a friend of mine and we have been eating the same thing, the only difference is that I had a lifewater with my food and she had something else to drink. So, i think it may be the lifewater. You are not alone with the stomach issues.

  • Bob

    I just purchased a couple bottles of SoBe “Yumberry” Lifewater. Within a few hours of consuming the beverage, my stomach started to “bubble-up”, which was followed by a few hours of diarrhea. I then finished the bottle, same happened again. I didn’t realize what it was until I looked in my trashcan and saw the bottle and decided to check the internet. Not to my surprise, I found these other user posts. What type of horrible chemicals/ingredients/life-destructing-nutrients do they put in this garbage?

    I will never be drinking this beverage again.

  • Crystal

    Im guessing maybe its all the crapi eat and thts why im getting an upset stomach when i drink this water im not blaming the life water at all im going to try to not eat as man processed foods and maybe that will help with me drinking the sobe life water

  • Melissa

    Guys, I’m here with the same issue. I had 2 bottles of Sobe Lifewater Yumberry Pomegranate and my stomach is still cramping after last nights diarrhea. I was able to pull some information up in regards to the sweetener that’s in the drink that causes diarrhea. It’s horrible.

  • acampbell

    Hi Melissa,

    Sorry to hear about your digestive woes! It’s likely that the erythritol in the beverage is the culprit here. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, a type of carbohydrate that isn’t completely digested. Ingesting too much of any sugar alcohol can lead to cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.

  • Janet

    I started drinking the different flavors of Lifewater about 3 1/2 weeks ago. It was not until last Monday that I saw the side effects as Diarrhea,
    stomach cramping & bloating. I had diarrhea for 3 weeks, and each time I had to go, it was accompanied by severe stomach cramps. There was also some nausea. I have drank none for 1 week and still about 20 to 30 minutes after I eat anything, and that can be as small as a peppermint, I have cramping and severe diarrhea. I love the taste of LifeWater, but I can’t do this…Will I go back to normal? I was drinking 2 bottles a day – 40 oz.

  • acampbell

    Hi Janet,

    Sorry to hear about your symptoms. It would be unusual for a beverage that you’ve stopped drinking to still be affecting you a week later, although it could be possible. I’m wondering if, coincidentally, you may have picked up a stomach bug? Or, are you eating any other foods that might contain sugar alcohols that could be triggering the symptoms, such as sugar-free gum or candy, sugar-free ice cream, etc.? To be on the safe side, I’d suggest you give your doctor a call and let him know what’s been happening so he can better evaluate the situation. You might also start keeping a food record for the next few days so you can track any “problem” foods or beverages.

  • jennyp

    Amy, Same symptoms as Janet…went to doc and they did bloodwork, stool samples and now on my way for a colonscopy. I had been drinking the same amount one to two bottles a day when I noticed the symtoms. I was also on a diet at the time, but since have stopped my diet and stopped drinking the Sobe Lifewater. I had diarrhea for three weeks since Easter before I went in to the doctor and now my symptoms continue even after I stopped drinking it. I’m worried.

  • acampbell

    Hi jennyp,

    I’m assuming nothing showed up in your bloodwork or stool samples? Did you tell your doctor that you had been drinking the Sobe Lifewater? Please keep us posted on how you make out and hope you’re feeling better soon!

  • Brock

    I had similar problems recently and after narrowing down the field, I decided maybe it was the Sobe product causing rapid, violent diarrhea. I started picking one up to drink with my meal at work and soon started having episodes within ten minutes of finishing my meals. The food has never caused it and I’m still doing some research, but I’m convinced it’s the Sobe. I had recurrences for almost three weeks, with the only breaks coming on the weekends, or days after I hadn’t had the drink. As wretched as the stomach problems are, imagine having them hit you, and hit you hard, while you’re at work!
    I did enjoy each flavor, except the acai, but I’m done with this until I need something for constipation!

  • Grace

    OMG I did a demo on the Sobe Lifewater yesterday at Target. I was handing out samples of the stuff and drinking it at the same time, pretty much all day. Then I woke up this morning and downed an entire bottle thinking, wow, this stuff must be really good for me! Ten minutes later, and the diarrhea kicked in. This is awful! What the heck! Stevia is the sweetener. I didnt think stevia caused diarrhea…

  • acampbell

    Hi Grace,

    Sobe Lifewater has PureVia in it, which is one of the new stevia-based sweeteners. This sweetener also contains erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols can cause bloating and diarrhea, and some people seem to react more so than others. I suspect this is what happened to you.

  • Susan in VA

    I happened upon this post after Googling “Sobe and stomach upset.” I knew that Erythritol caused stomach problems so I figured it was the culprit. I’m fine if I drink only one a day (Strawberry Dragonfruit is my personal favorite). Yesterday, however, I was outside all day and drank THREE (that’s 60 oz!) Needless to say, I almost didn’t make it home and I had diarrhea several times yesterday evening. I suppose that the saying “everything is good in moderation” is the lesson of the day here. Sobe may be good news for those who aren’t “regular” though! 😉

  • Amber

    I’ve also had stomach issues after drinking Sobe. Also it gives me really bad heartburn. Is anyone else getting heartburn and what would cause it in the LifeWater?

  • elizabeth

    I started drinking Sobe water about 2 months ago. Target had them on sale so I’ve been buying them in bulk. Every so often I would have the rapid violent diarrhea. Last week it hit me at work and has continued and then last night I was also vomitted which was the worse. I assumed I had the flu or just stressed. At 2 this morning I decided to look up Sobe on the internet and feels so good now that I’ve seen its not me.

  • TONY

    For a month a drank several Sobe 0 cal a day. I did have a few fast trips to the John along the way. But I can not say Sobe is the cause. I did get a skin condition all over. My skin feavered, and I itched everywhere. I have not drank any Sobe for a while, and my skin has stoped itching. In a few weeks I will try to duplicate my results and see if it was the Sobe.

  • Leigh

    I also started buying the Sobe when I saw it on sale at Target and have had major stomach “bubbling” ever since then. I went to a specialist who decided I was lactose intolerant but I didn’t think that made sense 28 years into my life… I stopped eating dairy & Sobe (coincidence) for about 3 weeks and until today when I had a Sobe I was FINE! But now the problems are back.

    I think I’ll stop drinking Sobe & starting eating cheese again! 🙂

  • Amanda

    WoW! I am so glad I found this post. I was googling about Purevia and side effects just out of curiosity. I found this link and I am so glad I did. I have been in and out of the Dr. all week, including a CT Scan of my abdomen. I have been having severe soreness/pain in my abdomen area and diarrhea. I am now convinved this is it. It didn’t start until I got addicted to the Sobe Lifewater 0 calories. I have been drinking 2 a day. I am going to cut them all out and I am hoping that will make me feel better. My Dr. is baffled b/c the CT Scan came back normal and she isn’t sure what to do next b/c I told her I am hurting. I will have to ask her if it is a possibility that the Sobe’s have caused this.

  • colleen

    I just drank a yumberry and a kiwi strawberry sobe life water and was in the bathroom every ten minutes peeing!!! This peaked my curiosity and I Googled it and found your research…certainly losing all my liquids was not my intention when I drank it. I was trying to stay hydrated!!

  • aml32288

    I just drank three life waters tonight and i have had diarrhea for like the past hour – it only happens when i drink these or any other fruit drink – i think i am getting to the point where i am not gonna drink them anymore – ive had to go to the bathroom 3 times in the past 20 minutes and there were two times where i hadnt even left the bathroom before i had to go again – this really sucks!! but i love life water and would hate giving it up – what do i do?

  • JR

    I was wondering why they changed the name on the Yumberry Pomegranate from “Purify” to something else (I forget what at the moment). I actually like this flavor. Not to put too fine a point on it, I tend toward constipation, and this stuff helps. I don’t get nauseated or crampy. I guess it just affects people differently.

    We drink a lot of the various flavors, mostly the 0 calorie types. They’re better for you than pop, for sure. I looked up the sugar alcohol and could find no serious side effects aside from a gurgling stomach (in some people) and diarrhea in others, but as I said, that’s not a problem for me.

  • acampbell

    Hi aml,

    It’s interesting to note everyone’s comments about this product. In your case, you may be reacting to the sugar alcohol content (or perhaps some other ingredient). Since you like this product, my advice is to drink a much smaller portion and see how you do with that. You may find that you can tolerate one bottle per day without having to run to the bathroom. But, I think it’s going to be trial and error to see what works best for you.

  • jonathon campbell

    i drank one of these lifewaters, i think it is the blackberry grape one. i’m working an overnight 14 hour shift, some hard labor at a mine, and minutes after i drink this i’m having pain and cramps in my stomach for like half an hour. i’m not amused, and didn’t really care for the taste either. i had never drank any other enhanced waters before, and don’t think i’ll be trying anymore, anytime soon.

  • Barbie

    I decided to research the internet to find out if there is anyone else having “issues” after drinking the Life Water. I have noticed that EVERY time that I drink one of these…that I get stomach aches, cramps and horrible sudden diarrhea. I like the drink, but this is definitely NOT worth it. From what I am seeing on the net…it is definitely an issue w/others too. I think I will STOP drinking this product unless I’m constipated and need relief…lol.

  • Erin

    I bought 4 bottles at the store to try them out (they were on sale). This morning I felt thirsty enough to drink up about 4-5 big gulps of it from the container while I was giving my kids some. Right after I felt terrible SICK! I gulp Vitamin water all the time~ my husband daily ritual. Then I just felt nauseated until I ate 1 banana which sent me to the bathroom with full blown diarrhea. Now I feel fine. I’m finding others to be having the same problem with SoBe.

  • Robin

    I am SO happy I found this website. I started out with really bad gas for the past week and a half and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing different that would cause this. Well then it turned into really bad diarrhea and it hit me like a ton of bricks that I have been drinking Sobe water everyday because it was on sale so I decided to try it out, I like it and got about 12 more. I’m nauseaous and have bad diarrhea and actually started getting headaches too. I think anyone who has any of these symptoms should STOP drinking it all together, not just have a little bit. I can’t believe this drink is doing this to so many people and is still on the market!

  • acampbell

    Hi Robin,

    My advice for you and for anyone experiencing any kind of side effect from a food or beverage is to let the FDA know by contacting your state consumer complaint office. Here’s the link: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm

    It’s also probably worthwhile letting the food/beverage company know, as well. By the way, a consumer organization called the National Consumer League, is filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about Coca-Cola’s Vitamin Water. The company is making health claims about this drink that are deceptive.

  • Vic

    Man, I fell in love with many of the Sobe Zero flavors and thought that all this flavor was too good to be true and turns out that it is. I drink it at night, no more than 1 to 1 12 bottles and I get very bad heartburn during the rest of the night after that. I suffer from gerd, so prior to finding the sobe waters,I had modified my eating habits as to lessen the symptoms to almost nil, so when the heartburn came back, I knew the cause! So sorry to have to give up those awesome flavors!

  • Lynda Robinson-Stepnowski

    Yesterday I drank 2 bottles of the Sobe Lifewater, the flavor was Black and Blueberry. It tasted great, amazing for 0 calories. After drinking the 1st bottle I didn’t notice a problem, but several hours later, when I drank the second one, within minutes I had severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea. I am still having abdominal cramps as I am writiing this, the following morning.

    I didn’t connect my symptoms to the Sobe Lifewater until, in the middle of last night, my husband woke up choking, gagging, and coughing his head off from severe heartburn/acid reflux and nausea. He had had several bottles of the Sobe Lifewater throughout the day yesterday. My husband’s GERD is usually very well controlled with the omeprazole Rx he takes daily. While he was coughing and gagging, with my gut still cramping and churning, I thought, “What did we eat or drink that was new yesterday?” The Sobe Lifewater, that was new. So I looked online for Sobe Lifewater Side Effects, and found this site. After reading all the previous comments here, I went and poured the last 4 bottles of that stuff down the drain.

    Good, clean, cold, PURE water, the way nature made it…. that’s good enough for me!

  • Maureen

    I am so greatful to have found this website. I have been so sick for the last 5 days, with violent diarrhea. I will not be buying anymore SoBe Lifewater(yumberry Pomegranate). I will go back to plain old tap water. Thanks for all this great info.

  • Joy

    I was so excited to find a 0 calorie drink with NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. After 1 sip I could tell there was some type of artificial sweetener in there, but the aftertaste was mild so I drank 3/4 of a bottle. I got the previously mentioned stomach upset, PLUS a migrain headache, achiness in my shoulders and neck and horrible cottonmouth with a metallic aftertaste. At first I thought I had the flu, but then I remembered tasting the sweetener. I checked the bottle and spotted the Purevia and did some research on it. Many reported the same symptoms. My symptoms lasted 36 hours! I’m going back to plain old water.

  • acampbell

    Hi Joy,

    Sorry to hear about your experience. It looks like there’s a trend here! Water seems to be the best option!

  • dbeauty

    I decided to drink Sobe 0 recently. I just want to stay away from fizzy drinks that contain synthetic sweetners. I think the Sobe has more vitamins too.
    Anyway, I noticed that I started have a bubbly tummy and then diarrhea! I couldn’t figure out what it was that was causing this.
    Anwy I decided to do a web search because the Sobe is the only new change in my diet.
    Sure enough! Many people are suffering from the same problem.
    I usually can drink up to 4 a day! I was only drinking purified bottled water but decided I wanted flavor and switched last week.
    Okay, so I will keep drinking Sobe 0, but only one a day or every other day.
    I’m glad others posted on here!
    Take Care and God Bless!

  • Curtis Adams

    I can make a good guess on what’s causing this.

    As acampbell points out, the main sweetener in Sobe 0 is erythritol, a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols generally can’t be used or absorbed by the body, so they get fermented by bacteria in your colon, causing gas and/or diarrhea. Erythritol is unusual in that although humans can’t use it for energy, they *can* absorb it from the intestine – it happens to have a shape that is recognized by the sugar transporters. So it doesn’t get to the colon, and it doesn’t produce the bloating and diarrhea that other sugar alcohols like sorbitol and maltilol.

    But, the sugar transporters aren’t evolved to transport erythritol (it’s a rare sugar in nature) – they just happen to. So if somebody had a variant transporter that transported sugar normally but didn’t happen to transport erythritol they’d be perfectly fine – until they got a big dose of erythritol and then, bam, digestive problems. So my guess is that the people on this thread have variant transporters.

    The people who can drink one a day but not several might have normal transporters, but they’re overwhelming them with too much erythritol – the sugar transporters have enormous capacity but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were less efficient with erythritol and a couple bottles would provide too much.

    It would be possible to get some longer-term problems from drinking Sobe 0 if you had a variant transporter. Having lots of erythritol in your colon would change your bacterial flora because you’d get a lot more bacteria that could metabolize erythritol and a lot less of everything else. Even after the erythritol was gone it might take a while for your gut bacteria to re-adjust back, and in the meantime you might still get intestinal problem.

    I have the “normal” transporter and I don’t get digestive problems from Sobe 0 up to two bottles a day. But, I do get nasty headaches, often migraines, the day after. Normal people absorb erythritol, but they don’t metabolize it, and it comes out in the urine over the next two days. It taks water with it on the way out, so Sobe 0 will be dehydrating you for about 48 hours after you drink it. Dehydration tends to give me migraines, so I think that’s what happens to me. If I drink a lot of water for the next two days, I do better, but since I can’t drink while I’m sleeping I still often wake up with headaches.

    I wish I didn’t have this problem because Sobe 0 tastes really, really good to me and comes in a lot of interesting flavors.

  • PC

    I drank a SoBe Lifewater fuji apple pear and my heart started racing. I thought I was having a heart attack. Not knowing the SoBe was connected the heart racing, today I sipped on a SoBe Yumberry pomegranate and had the same problem with my heart racing. I don’t know what’s causing it, but I’m never going to drink this product again.

  • DJ

    It must be the sweetener. A couple months ago I drank the yummy berry, two bottles of it everyday for about a month. First started with almost constant bathroom trips and stomach upset. The one evening I had an episode of violent vomiting and ended up in the hospital because I ripped a part if my stomach. Two weeks of severe pain and recovery. I actually thought it was food poisoning until recently started drinking them again. I figure any water is good water. To make a long story short the whole thing happened again but not as severe because I recognized it sooner.

  • RK

    I’ve had several violent migraine headaches and upset stomaches in the past few weeks and couldn’t figure out what was going on. In thinking about what I’ve been doing differently recently, the only thing I could think of was drinking Sobe 0 Lifewaters. I read the label but didn’t see anything in the ingredients that looked suspicious (not that I knew what I was looking for!). I’m gluten intolerant so I’m very careful about my diet and hadn’t eaten anything new. Yesterday I consumed two bottles of Sobe 0, and today I woke up with an awful migraine and diarrhea. Could it be the Sobe? I’m going to assume so and never drink it again!! Water, water, water for me!

  • Debi

    I began drinking SoBe Lifewater when I realized I was having major problems — diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, inability to concentrate, and severe headaches — with anything that had Splenda(or sucralose) in it. My husband and I have been drinking SoBe for about 2 years now. We freeze a few bottles and take them to Phillies games, where, as they thaw out, if you shake them, they become more like slushy drinks or snow cones. Neither of us has had any problem whatsoever with any of the SoBe flavors. Every other water beverage, including Fruit 2-O, Vitamin Water, and the dozens of others on our supermarket shelves, contain the dreaded Splenda/sucralose and/or high fructose corn syrup, as do about 75% of the products on other aisles, so we totally avoid them. I’m surprised and a bit shocked to read about others having such problems with SoBe. We love it, especially the Apple-Cherry and Kiwi Strawberry. I should mention that we don’t drink a lot of this stuff; each of us has one or two at a ball game and occasionally one at home, where plain water is our cold beverage of choice.

  • Barbara

    I have been drinking SoBe water everyday for several months with no issues at all. Perhaps some of the reason people are having issues is because when your body is used to eating poorly and you start putting good stuff into it, your body is not sure how to react. If you eat friend foods and snacks all the time then you switch to yogurt, fish, chicken, veggies, etc – you will have a lot of digestive issues. It works the same the other way… if you eat well all the time and then eat a burger a fries, you will have digestive issues. I am not saying everything in SoBe is wonderful, but I have not had any issues at all. if I had a coke right now, I would have tummy troubles all day.

  • acampbell

    Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for your comment. It’s certainly possible that making major dietary changes can disrupt digestion. However, I suspect that many of the folks who have posted about SoBe may be reacting to the erythritol, a sugar alcohol that isn’t completely digested.

  • No more for me thank u

    Was drinking about 4 bottles a day with disasterous results. Gas, diarrhea and eventually terrible acid reflux. I have never had issues with acid reflux until using this product. It totally screwed up my gut. Even after I stopped using it I had acid reflux issues. I saw a doctor and was prescribed prilocex. I finally started taking probiotics and digestive enzymes to get back on track and off of prilocex.
    I didn’t realize that Sobe was responsible for this until I tried again recently (just two bottles). Symptoms started up again. Thanks for sharing your experiences; I’m personally finished with this product. Water is fine for me. 🙂

  • Diane Heslington

    I drink about 3 bottles of the Yumberry a day with no negative results. I drink it because it’s non-carbonated with 0 calories, no caffine (which does effect my nervous system) and 0 to low carbs. I love the stuff. I find if I drink more, I eat less and water gets a little boring after a while.

    I am, however, surprised at how expensive it is in gas stations ($2.00), where I can get it at the grocery store (most of the time) for .88 cents.

  • Seth

    I have been drinking several varieties of the 0 calorie version of SOBE Life including the Yummy Pomegranate and have never had an issue. Maybe your stomachs can’t take the Stevia sweetener or maybe you are Coca Cola plants…either way I drink several of the flavors daily and have zero issues. Just my two cents.

  • Jenn

    I bought a few bottles of the Sobe Life Water 0 a few months ago and didn’t feel well after having a bottle. It wasn’t until I had the second bottle and didn’t feel well again that I made the connection that it could be the Life Water. I have a sensitive stomach so I don’t often introduce new foods or beverages and if I do, I make sure I note any differences to how I feel. Well, I went into the gas station today to get a water and saw the Life Water 0 on sale again 2/2.22. So I bought two bottle. I drank one a few hours ago and now I can hear my intestines churning and know that diarrhea is coming. This is exactly what happened the last time. I feel fine otherwise just gassy and gurgly.

  • tyler

    i love them, but i drank one in the morning and was fine, then i had one later in the afternoon and i was still alright but then at night i started to have another one and i all of a sudden got really bloated and put it away and was fine… i have atleast one every day and still no real problems yet!

  • Paul

    I have the same problem when I drink vitamin water. I am OK if I sip the drink while eating lunch, but if I drink half a bottle or so quickly, I can be sure of getting diarrhea within a half hour or so. I will be going back to plain bottled water from now on. Works great if you want to get your system all cleared out. Not really convenient to have it happen at work though. Glad I’m not the only one who has noticed this result from the flavored waters.

  • chris

    drink sobe 0’s all the time for the last few years. no issues. the new coconut water versions are the really, really good. i do tend to eat healthy. no candy, fried foods, sodas, etc. sobe 0 is really about the only thing i drink. all of them are great.

  • Larry K

    I am type 2 diabetic for almost 3 years now and been drinking 1 – 2 bottles per day with zero side effects. Recently, I started mixing 1/2 bottle of fuji apple pear with water and it still tastes great reducing the over all costs as well.

  • Michelle T

    I drink several of the Sobe 0 calorie drinks everyday. I cut out soda and found these were a great substitute. I do get gas but can’t honestly say that it’s caused by the drinks. I eat a lot of vegetables also and can easily blame them for the gas. My 16 year old daughter, on the other hand, (who recently had her gall bladder removed)has had the diarrhea and severe stomach pains. I have tried to blame other foods but I truly believe it’s the Sobe drinks. Such a shame because she loves them and I would rather her drink the Sobe than a soda. I guess the side effects just vary from person to person.

  • Skylar

    Good to know I’m not the only one who got nausea and diarrhea from SoBe.

  • abdi

    i did by this water because what made me interested is that the label shows that there is no calories. but after i did consume i find out that there is a lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners and that there is no doubt that these water contains some what a mount of coffee n

  • Allison

    Now im scared im gonna get sick i had a yumberry today:( Comments are scaring me

  • acampbell

    Hi Allison,

    Keep in mind that you may not get any symptoms at all. Some people are just more sensitive to sugar alcohols. And it also depends on how much you drink.

  • Donna

    I’m diabetic and work outside. A recent heatwave sent me home with heat exhaustion, so I decided to hydrate over the next few weeks and I found SobeLifewater and Sobe Asian Pear Fusion. Yummy! I loved it, I felt better right away after drinking it (and Vitamin water, too), energized, peppy, but began to bloat and have diarrhea, then in a few days a very erratic heartbeat, then terrible ripping pain mid-chest. I was convinced I was still dehydrated and drank more of the Sobe. I’ve had irregular heart beats before and avoid all caffeine because of it, but the Sobe set me off into the worse episode ever. Later I looked SobeLifewater up, some of it has ginseng which acts on the heart as caffeine and also guarana, which according to the doctor who saw me in the ER this morning, IS caffeine. He sent me home with a beta blocker and nitro-glycerin tablets and tomorrow I’m on my way to some nasty tests with a cardiologist. NO MORE Sobe for me! I literally thought I was going to die. WHY isn’t caffeine a listed ingredient, not to mention all the other random herbs thrown into the ehhanced water mix? Beware of the Pear!

  • Donna

    Correction: make that Sobe Lifewater, 0 calories, FUJI APPLE PEAR, and other flavors. I bought the variety pack.

    Don’t end up in the ER, READ the labels, EACH of them, every tiny word. Each flavor has it’s own particular additives.

    I thought I read the labels, but evidently I didn’t get past “0 calories, no artificial sweeteners, with other natural flavors, vitamins B, C, E”. But I kept the bottles. Now I’ve read the labels. Now I know what I was drinking, and it is frightening.

  • Helen

    Last night I drank half a bottle of Sobe yumberry pomegranate for the first time and after 2 hours developed a stomach ache and some heartburn. Had mild diarrhea that night as well as the next morning and still have a bit of a stomach
    ache. Looked online to read about how healthy
    these waters are, and found that others had the same symptoms. I still have the other half of the bottle left, but will stick to unsweetened iced tea from now on.

  • george

    as a type 2 diabetic i monitor my blood sugar about 3 times a day, i watch (try) my carb intake.

    for a few years now i have been using the costco kirkland version of enhanced water to satisfy my craving for sweet drinks but recently switched to sobe lifewater 0 calories. took a bit to adjust to the taste change but now really enjoy the drink.

    after reading the labels just seemed that sobe was a better product. i have zero side effects but never drink a whole bottle at a time and usually average about 1 bottle every 2 days.

    however, when i wake, i squeeze a half lemon into about one liter of warm water (well water) and drink it over about 5 minutes. at night i try to get in one more liter of warm tea into my system. as a practical matter, i use a jar so my sleep is not disturbed substantially.

    bottom line is that i try to get most of liquids from just water and supplement with sobe.


  • Jamie

    When I do buy Sobe Life Water (2 plus weeks out of a month) I drink about 2 to 3 a day. Today, I had 2 and had diarrhea from it. I noticed I have these attacks 2 to 3 hours after drinking Sobe Life Water. I think there is something in it causing me to get sick. I like the drinks because there is no artificial sweeteners in it and they taste good. I have diabetes so I can’t be drinking soda. So, instead of just plain water all the time which gets boring I will drink Sobe Life Water.

  • acampbell

    Hi Jamie,

    SoBe Life water contains 40 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrate per 8 ounces; a 20-ounce bottle contains 100 calories and 43 grams of carbohydrate. The SoBe 0-calorie beverage has 4 grams of carbohydrate per 8-ounce serving, or 10 grams of carbohydrate per 20-ounce bottle. Both versions contain erythritol, which is a sweetener called a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are not completely digested, which can lead to cramps, bloating, and diarrhea in some people.

  • cindy

    Are they not a better alternative to soda pop? My guess is yes. I have diabetes, and I can only consume diet beverages, unless I want to only drink water. Read the label. It says nutrient “enhanced” not nutrient “based”. It is what it is, and beverage companies, just like all companies pay to have savvy marketing teams, duh! If they didn’t they wouldn’t sell hardly anything.

  • cindy

    Yes try the drinks with no sugar alcohols, that should prevent the stomach whoas.

  • Jamie

    I drink Sobe Life Water everyday. I have about 3 to 4 a day. I really enjoy them. I have diabetes so it is important that I drink stuff without a lot of sugar. Plain water gets boring. I don’t eat or drink anything artificial so this is the perfect drink. I have noticed that I will have diarrhea and I believe it is from Sobe Life Water. But it is not often, though. I think it would be a better drink if they did not add sodium. I hate salt but it really is up to the individual.

    • barb6984

      Stevia can induce diarrhea if too much of it is consumed. You might want to try cutting back to no more that one a day and see if the bouts of diarrhea disappear.

  • lisa

    After drinking the blueberry flavor Sobe Life water I also started to get an upset stomach then later in the night I had diarrhea and was throwing up all night.

    I blew it off as a 24 hour bug so I bought it again and the same thing happened.

    I will not be drinking Sobe ever again.

  • Karen smith

    In reference to sobe life water, I’m aware that the presentation of the product is what sells… The product looks good and what they print on the bottle sounds good, but is it true? Are the ingredients that claim to be in the product really in there, And how much of the ingredients is in the product if any at all? I’m aware that making a sale is the company’s top priority. Buying an honest product is my top priority Since im the one consuming this product…

  • Janet H

    I bought the Sobe Life Water Pomegranate flavor for my Dad. He is a Diabetic. It lowered his blood sugar to much. For the next 24 hours we had a hard time keeping his sugar up. Thank you for doing the research. Janet H.

  • Jayde R.

    I’ve been drinking Sobe for well over a year, having one a day, sometimes two. I’ve never had any issue, and neither has my mother, who also has the same Sobe drinking habits as I do. My boyfriend also has adopted the same habit recently, and hasn’t shown any of the symptoms either. Is it possible that these complaints are simply sensitive people making the wrong kind of combinations in their food lifestyle, and also being sensitive or allergic to the erythitol? My boyfriend used to get slightly sick when he first drank Sobe, before he was eating a Paleolithic diet like I am. After he started eating the Paleo diet, he wasn’t getting sick anymore. Perhaps, it could very well be that our bodies aren’t programmed to handle so many things in our system at one time, and once we clean up our bodies they’re more capable of handling such a thing?

  • acampbell

    Hi Jayde,

    You raise an interesting question for which I don’t really have the answer. I think it’s more likely that people have different tolerances to certain ingredients, like erythritol, for example. Some people are more sensitive to this sugar alcohol (meaning, they experience symptoms), while others aren’t.

  • Jimbo

    Have recently started drinking sobe water. I have had GERD for years but it has been under control. I recently had a bubbly stomach and pretty heavy pain in the area just under where the ribs meet under your heart. Guess it is my stomach. I was figuring out what was new and it is the sobe so I googled this. I will never drink another one. This stuff really has messed my stomach up.

  • Cherice

    I have just started drinking Lifewater, and I’m doing okay so far… its a better alternative to the soda I drank on a regular basis. I’m not sure of any side effects just but. I have had heartburn problems from drinking brown soda, and so avoiding it was a must. But I hope I don’t get heartburn from the Lifewater… if so, it will be back to regular water…

  • Anna

    Love it! I got the zero calories in all flavors. Going back to stock up on more. Wish it had a longer shelf life. These expire in January 2015.

  • Anna


    • barb6984

      Some people are sensitive to certain non-sugar sweeteners. Not all of the commenters had issues with it. I never had issues either, but I don’t drink it as often as I’d like because of the price. Flavored seltzer water is much cheaper.

  • Candis

    I buy smart water for the electrolytes,
    I never buy flavored water or vitamin water.
    I’ am having quite a bit of Digestive problems.
    This is causing vomiting and Diarrhea
    Almost every day, sometimes all day.
    I have a growing list of Foods I cannot
    Digest and no longer eat. I asked my
    Husband for some Smart Water when he
    Went into the store. He said the shelves
    We’re empty ( they were last week also)
    Blaming the snowbirds

  • dale r

    I started drinking the sobe life water. I have been getting up every few hours to urinate. It definitely has a diuretic effect. I dont think I will be drinking it as that is tough on the kidneys .

  • Kathy Haslam

    I have tried this 3 times. Sobe Lifewater has a very diuretic effect on me and causes nausea, stomach pains and gurgling. Running to the bathroom every 5 minutes- staying up at night kind of thing. I had to take Dramamine so I wouldn’t feel like barfing the whole time. This starts within a few hours of drinking this stuff. The first time I had 40oz. I was messed up for 3 days (and I thought maybe I had just come down with something). The second time 20oz. (normal small bottle size), messed up for a couple days, This last time I had about 13oz of it (2/3 of a normal size bottle) and it was really bad for about 1 day and some diminishing effects.So between that and the crushed bugs- I won’t be drinking this again.

  • Amanda Roach

    I have been drinking SOBE lifesaver for 3 years pretty regularly and I have never had a problem with it! My sister who is kind of sensitive when it comes to food and stuff hasn’t had any problems either!

  • Brice

    I’m reading the back of my SOBE Lifewater as I’m reading this… The Nutrition Facts says 0 calories, 0 sugars, 8g of carbohydrates, and 60mg of sodium…

  • Michael1959

    Every Sobe lifewater that I’ve ever had says Zero-calories. I’m a little confused. I’ve also never had any problems even while drinking four or five in a day.

    • acampbell

      Hi Michael1959,
      You must be drinking the sugar-free version of LIfewater, which contains erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol. Some people are more sensitive to sugar alcohols than others; symptoms include gassiness, cramps, and diarrhea.

  • Roy Thomas Glasgow

    HELLO….I have been reading the comments and I just dont understand.I am diabetic and I feel Sobe Life water has saved my life. 2 years ago my blood sugar was over 250 and ALC was at 12.7. I had been drinking the sobes for about 2 months but not all the time. My doctor told me I needed to step up my diet and get my numbers down and soon or it would be insulin. Well I started eating salad and drinking the Sobes daily(3-5) daily. In one month my numbers changed my blood sugar went down to 145 and my ALC was at 7. As for side effects ..I guess I am Superman because all the side effects I have read here never happened to me. No running fits unless I ate lots of salad…which is what lettuce does….gas…well I am 50 so old men fart…LOTS. no cramps or midnight runs to the bathroom…face it old men pee a lot its called old prostate.

    • acampbell

      Hi Rob,
      So good to hear that your blood sugar and A1C came down! As I’ve mentioned in a previous response, the sugar-free version contains erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are only partially digested, and as a result, in some people, can cause bloating, cramps, gas and diarrhea. The extent and severity of these symptoms tends to vary; some people are more sensitive to sugar alcohols than others.

      • Michael Holland

        Erythritol generally does not cause any of side effects associated with other sugar alcohols unless consumed in copious quantities because it is made up of smaller molecules and almost all of it is absorbed.

  • Cindy Barry

    I personally love the Yumberry Pomegranate drink only because of the ginger. I suffer from chronic nausea due to a “botched” gall bladder removal. Up until now, my only relief came from medication. I discovered this drink by accident but very glad I did. I wish they had ginger in others flavors though.

  • Healingfrq

    Thinking he works for SoBe

  • Tewari Nerai

    l-theanine is also found in tea, and people have been drinking metric tons of it forever without issues, so I wouldn’t be worried about much danger coming from drinking it. As far as its health benefits, you can find quite a few studies linked to in this article about it here — https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201708/what-you-need-know-about-l-theanine . — they’re not sketchy or new age, as far as I know, they’re kind of _established_ from what I can tell. Like I’m really not sure why this characterization of it as something super iffy. Its true though that l-theanine may block some of the stimulating effect of caffeine, but it does not have a sedative effect. Its why coffee gives you jitters while strongly brewed tea mostly _doesn’t_ but can still wake you up adequately – l-theanine relaxes but is non-sedative. Largely l-theanine is considered to be synergistic with caffeine and helps promote focus.