Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Are True Citrus Products Bad For You?

Also Known As: True Lemon, True Lime, True Orange



Short answer

True Citrus products are not inherently bad for you. They offer a convenient, low-calorie way to add citrus flavor to water and dishes. Crystallized citrus is their main ingredient, with some containing added sweeteners like stevia or cane sugar. They're non-GMO, gluten-free, and provide a vitamin boost. However, some individuals may be sensitive to added sweeteners, and 'natural flavors' can be vague. Products like drink mixes may contain added nutrients. In moderation, True Citrus can be part of a healthy diet, but one should be mindful of ingredient sensitivities and individual health goals.



Long answer

Analyzing True Citrus Ingredients and Nutritional Value

When diving into the world of True Citrus products, it's like peering into a vibrant orchard of flavor options designed to add a citrusy zing to your water and recipes. These products, ranging from crystallized citrus packets to seasoning blends, claim to offer a convenient and natural citrus taste without the mess of fresh citrus. Let's peel back the layers and examine the ingredients and nutritional value of these sunny offerings.

Ingredients Breakdown:

  • Crystallized Citrus: The core of True Citrus products is the crystallized citrus juice and oils. This is created by a proprietary process that crystallizes the juices and oils of the citrus, promising to retain the authentic fresh-squeezed taste of the fruit.
  • Sweeteners: Some True Citrus products, especially the flavored drink mixes, contain sweeteners. Options include cane sugar for their naturally sweetened lines, and stevia or erythritol in their zero-calorie products. It's important to know your own body’s response to these sweeteners, as some individuals may experience digestive discomfort or prefer to avoid them due to personal dietary goals.
  • Natural Flavors: This term can often be ambiguous, but in the context of True Citrus, it indicates additional flavors derived from non-synthetic sources to enhance the fruitiness of their products without artificial tastes.
  • Preservatives: Citric acid is often listed among the ingredients, which, aside from providing a tart flavor characteristic of citrus, also acts as a natural preservative. Some products may contain other preservatives to maintain shelf stability.
  • Non-GMO: For those who are conscientious about genetically modified organisms, True Citrus products are non-GMO, which is reassuring for consumers seeking more natural dietary options.
  • Gluten-Free: Those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease can feel comfortable incorporating True Citrus products into their diets, as the brand maintains gluten-free standards.

Nutritional Value:

For the most part, True Citrus products are very low in calories, making them a light addition to a health-conscious eating plan. The absence of significant macronutrients like fat, protein, and carbohydrates in their unsweetened products reflects the brand's commitment to providing simple and clean flavor enhancers.

Product Type Calories per Serving Sweeteners Additional Nutrients
Crystallized Citrus Packets 0 - 10 None to Stevia/Erythritol Vitamin C (varies by product)
Flavored Drink Mixes 0 - 10 Cane Sugar/Stevia/Erythritol Vitamin C, B Vitamins (varies by product)

The nutritional boost provided by certain True Citrus products comes from the addition of vitamin C and an assortment of B vitamins. Some offerings are fortified to support immune health or energy metabolism, syncing well with a proactive approach to wellness.

In conclusion, while the ingredient profile of True Citrus products aligns with a natural and healthy lifestyle, it's always wise to approach any packaged food product with a mindful gaze. Examining the label to understand the source and quantity of sweeteners, and being aware of any added preservatives or natural flavors, is key to making an informed decision suited to your individual health goals and dietary needs.

Additives and Preservatives in True Citrus Products

True Citrus products, such as True Lemon and True Lime, are known for their convenient, shelf-stable packets of crystallized citrus substitute. These products are touted for providing a fresh-squeezed citrus taste without the hassle of dealing with actual fruit. However, with this convenience comes consumer concern regarding the additives and preservatives that may be used to maintain freshness, flavor, and usability.

First, let's break down the most common additives and preservatives you may find in True Citrus products:

  • Citric Acid: Naturally found in citrus fruits, it serves as a preservative and also adds a sour, tangy flavor. Citric acid is generally safe, but in some individuals, it may cause an allergic reaction or stomach upset.
  • Malic Acid: This additive enhances tartness and flavor, similarly to citric acid. It's considered safe by the FDA, though consumption in large amounts may lead to skin and respiratory irritation.
  • Stevia Leaf Extract: A natural sweetener that comes from the stevia plant, known to be calorie-free. Stevia is generally considered safe, though some studies suggest that overconsumption might have potential health risks.
  • Sodium Citrate: Used to control acidity levels, sodium citrate is generally regarded as safe. However, excessive intake may lead to imbalances in electrolytes.
  • Silicon Dioxide: Added as an anti-caking agent to prevent clumping. Considered non-toxic and safe for consumption at levels approved by food safety authorities.

Most True Citrus products also proudly advertise that they contain no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, preservatives, gluten, or sodium. This is an important consideration for those looking to minimize their intake of artificial substances. However, we must be vigilant, especially with mentions of 'natural flavors'—a term that can cover a broad range of ingredients, not all of which may align with one's definition of 'natural.'

It's important to note that the presence of these additives and preservatives in True Citrus products is generally for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of flavor and preventing spoilage. Most of them have received Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status by the FDA, but this does not mean that they are free from all possible side effects, especially when consumed in large quantities.

Indeed, when it comes to any food additive or preservative, the dosage makes the poison. Even water can be harmful in extreme amounts! Therefore, while the presence of these substances in True Citrus products may not necessarily be 'bad' for you, understanding their role and potential effects on your body is crucial for making informed dietary choices.

For those with specific health conditions or dietary restrictions, it's always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or a dietician before incorporating products containing these additives and preservatives into your diet. Remember, the more natural and less processed your foods are, the more control you have over what you're putting into your body, allowing you to more easily avoid unwanted additives and preservatives.

Finally, it’s worth keeping in mind that research on the long-term effects of these additives and preservatives is ongoing. Keep an eye on new studies and consult reliable sources to stay informed about any developments regarding their safety and health implications.

Artificial Sweeteners and Natural Flavors: Health Implications

When sifting through the ingredients of True Citrus products, one might notice the inclusion of artificial sweeteners and natural flavors. These components often raise health concerns for consumers, so let's peel back the layers and squeeze out the facts.

Artificial Sweeteners

True Citrus products may contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame potassium. These sweeteners are calorie-free alternatives to sugar, which can be beneficial for those monitoring their sugar intake or managing diabetes. However, the impact of artificial sweeteners on health is a subject of ongoing debate.

  • Aspartame – Some studies suggest that aspartame can be safe in moderation, but there have been concerns about its potential links to headaches and mood disorders. A comprehensive review by Magnuson et al. (2017) concluded that aspartame is safe at current levels of consumption as a non-nutritive sweetener.
  • Sucralose – Generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, sucralose is another widely used sweetener. Yet, research by Schiffman and Rother (2013) indicated that some individuals may experience migraines or allergic reactions after consuming sucralose.
  • Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K) – Although approved by the FDA, Ace-K has raised concerns due to limited research on long-term health effects. A study by Toews et al. (2018) suggested that more data is needed to fully understand how this sweetener may influence health.

Natural Flavors

True Citrus products tout the use of "natural flavors," which can appeal to those seeking more organic and unprocessed food options. Despite the wholesome sound, natural flavors are not as straightforward as one might think.

The term "natural flavors" can encompass a wide variety of ingredients extracted from natural sources such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. While they can provide a desirable taste without artificial substances, it's important to recognize the lack of transparency that often accompanies the term. Consumers may be unaware of the exact components making up these flavors, raising questions about potential allergic reactions or sensitivities.

Furthermore, the compound's origin (whether plant or animal-based) may not always align with certain dietary preferences or restrictions, such as veganism or vegetarianism.

In conclusion, while the use of artificial sweeteners and natural flavors in True Citrus products permits the enjoyment of sweet flavors without the added calories, potential health implications and individual sensitivities should be taken into account. Balancing the occasional consumption of these ingredients with an overall diet rich in whole foods is an approach to consider for those concerned with these additives.

For the health-conscious gourmand or the mindful consumer, it is always advisable to consult product labels and, if necessary, reach out to manufacturers for a detailed breakdown of their "natural flavors." Staying informed allows for tailored dietary choices that support both taste and well-being.

The Benefits of True Citrus as a Hydration Enhancer

Staying well-hydrated is a cornerstone of good health, and True Citrus products offer a compelling addition to enhance hydration in a delightful way. There are several advantages of incorporating True Citrus into your hydration routine that are supported both by nutritional science and the preferences of health-conscious consumers.

Provides a Flavor Boost Without Added Sugars

True Citrus products are known for their crisp, clean taste, derived from real citrus fruits. They offer an appealing alternative to plain water by infusing it with a zesty kick without loading it with sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners that are commonly found in traditional flavored beverages. This helps eliminate unnecessary calorie intake while making water consumption more enjoyable, which can encourage increased fluid intake.

Enriches Water with Natural Flavors and Aromas

Natural flavors and aromas can act as sensory stimulants that may promote more frequent sipping. The aromatic experience that comes from the essential oils in True Citrus products can make the process of hydration a more indulgent experience, potentially leading to better drinking habits.

Offers a Variety of Citrus-Based Choices

Variety is the spice of life and can be the key to consistent hydration. With an array of citrus flavors, including lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange, True Citrus products provide ample opportunity to switch up your water flavor, which can keep you from growing tired of the same taste every day and support continuous hydration.

Convenient and Portable

True Citrus products come in convenient, portable packets that are easy to carry in a purse, backpack, or even a pocket, thereby supporting hydration on-the-go. Whether you're at work, at the gym, or traveling, these handy packets make it simple to enhance your water wherever you are.

Suitable for Various Dietary Needs

These products are a boon for those following specific dietary guidelines. True Citrus packets are generally free from allergens, non-GMO, and do not contain gluten, making them an inclusive choice for most diets. Additionally, they do not impact blood sugar levels significantly, which is important for individuals monitoring their glycemic response.

Can Help You Drink More Water

For many people, increasing water intake is a real challenge, often because they find water boring or unappealing. The addition of True Citrus can change this, making it more likely that individuals will reach for water over less healthy beverage options, thus improving overall hydration status.

From a health perspective, the True Citrus line aligns with the recommendations of many nutritionists who emphasize the importance of reducing added sugars and increasing water intake for optimal health. Their products are cleverly designed to make meeting hydration goals not just palatable, but enjoyable and refreshing.

As a finale note, while the benefits are many, it is also imperative to consider individual health conditions and dietary restrictions when incorporating any new product into your routine. Consulting with a healthcare professional can ensure that True Citrus products are a suitable choice for your hydration needs.

Potential Risks Associated with Citric Acid and Dental Health

While True Citrus products offer a convenient and flavorful way to enhance water intake and can contribute to increased hydration, they do contain citric acid, a common food additive used for flavoring and as a preservative. It's vital to be aware of how citric acid might affect dental health.

Citric acid is naturally found in citrus fruits and is widely used in the food and beverage industry. However, despite its natural origins, it can have some drawbacks when it comes to oral health. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Erosion of Tooth Enamel: Citric acid is known for its erosive potential on tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard, protective outer coating of your teeth, which once damaged, cannot regenerate. Studies, such as one published in the journal "Operative Dentistry," have shown that frequent exposure to acidic beverages can lead to significant enamel erosion. The acidity from citric acid in True Citrus products could contribute to this if consumed in excess.
  • Sensitivity Increase: As enamel wears away, teeth can become more sensitive to temperature and sweetness, since the protective barrier is compromised. This heightened sensitivity is not only uncomfortable but can deter individuals from consuming healthy, nutrient-rich foods if they cause pain upon consumption.
  • Potential for Cavities: Enamel erosion can also make teeth more susceptible to cavities. The erosion provides a rougher surface for bacteria to cling to, and without the protective enamel layer, bacteria can more easily cause dental decay.
  • Moderation is Key: As with many food additives and flavors, moderation is essential. Enjoying True Citrus products occasionally rather than continuously would mitigate the associated risks to dental health.
  • Mitigation Strategies: To minimize the potential negative impacts of citric acid on dental health, it is recommended to drink water after consuming acidic products, using a straw to bypass the teeth, and wait to brush teeth for at least 30 minutes after exposure to reduce the chances of enamel abrasion.

It's important for consumers to remember that the concentration of citric acid matters. Occasional usage of True Citrus products in recommended quantities is unlikely to cause significant harm. However, if you’re reaching for a packet with every glass of water, it might be time to assess the frequency and consider if it aligns with your dental health goals.

While True Citrus products may offer benefits like flavor variety and encouraging hydration, it's essential to balance these with practices that protect dental health. Consulting with a dentist about individual susceptibility to enamel erosion can provide personalized guidance, ensuring that your use of such products doesn't compromise your oral wellbeing.

True Citrus in a Balanced Diet: Moderation and Alternatives

True Citrus products offer a range of flavored citrus blends and seasoning options that have gained popularity as a convenient and low-calorie way to add flavor to water and dishes. Understanding their place in a balanced diet, the notion of moderation, and the exploration of natural alternatives is key to ensuring these products contribute positively to one’s overall health and wellness.

Understanding Moderation

The cornerstone of any balanced diet is moderation, and this applies to True Citrus products as well. While these products generally contain no calories, sugars, or artificial sweeteners, they do often contain natural flavors and certain additives, like citric acid and maltodextrin, that may raise questions for some health-conscious consumers. Considering the following points can help determine the appropriate level of consumption:

  • Daily Intake: Evaluate how often you use True Citrus products. Using them occasionally to enhance the taste of water or meals is not likely to cause harm. However, habitual, heavy use may lead to overexposure to certain additives which could be problematic for some individuals, especially those with sensitivities.
  • Individual Health Goals: Tailor your use of True Citrus products to your specific health goals. For example, individuals aiming for a whole foods diet might prefer fresh citrus fruits over powdered alternatives.
  • Listening to Your Body: Be alert to any adverse reactions, such as digestive discomfort, which may indicate a sensitivity to certain ingredients within the product.

Natural Alternatives

For those seeking more natural ways to flavor their food and drink without the addition of powdered products, consider these alternatives:

  • Fresh Citrus Fruits: Using fresh lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruits not only provide a burst of natural flavor but also offer the added benefit of vitamins and minerals.
  • Herbs and Spices: Expanding your kitchen's herb and spice rack can naturally enhance the taste of your meals without the need for additional products.
  • Infused Waters: Create your own infused waters by immersing fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs in water, allowing their flavors to mingle and create a refreshing and hydrating drink.
  • DIY Seasoning Blends: Combining dried herbs, spices, and zest from citrus fruits can make homemade seasoning blends that are free from additives and tailor-made to your taste preferences.

By considering how True Citrus products fit into your diet and exploring natural alternatives, you can enjoy a variety of flavors while maintaining a balanced and health-conscious eating plan. Always remember that the best dietary choices are those that align with your individual health needs and culinary enjoyment.

Frequently asked questions

True Citrus products are non-GMO and offer a shelf-stable alternative to fresh fruits which can reduce food waste. However, the environmental impact of their production, packaging, and transportation should also be considered. For environmentally-conscious consumers, sourcing fresh, locally-grown citrus fruits may be a more sustainable option.

True Citrus products that contain zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia or erythritol can be a suitable choice for those managing diabetes, as they do not significantly affect blood sugar levels. However, it is important for individuals with diabetes to read product labels carefully if the product line also contains versions sweetened with cane sugar. Consulting a healthcare provider for personalized advice is recommended.

While True Citrus products are fortified with vitamin C and may contain some B vitamins, fresh citrus fruits offer a broader nutritional profile, including natural fibers, additional vitamins, and minerals. For a more nutrient-dense choice, fresh citrus fruits are preferable, but True Citrus can be a convenient alternative when fresh produce is not available.

True Citrus products can be safe for children in moderation, particularly the unsweetened or naturally sweetened varieties. However, it's important to monitor the quantity and frequency of consumption due to the presence of citric acid which can affect dental health. It's also wise to check for natural flavors or additives that may cause sensitivities or allergies in children.

Ask a question about True Citrus Products and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • allergic reactions
  • stomach upset
  • skin and respiratory irritation
  • migraines
  • allergic reactions
  • tooth enamel erosion
  • increased tooth sensitivity

Possible long-term side effects

  • cavities
  • potential health risks from sweeteners (requires more research)

Commonly found in

  • flavored drink mixes
  • crystallized citrus packets

Ingredients to be aware of


  • no significant calorie intake
  • suitable for various dietary needs
  • convenient and portable
  • variety of flavors
  • may enhance hydration

Healthier alternatives

  • fresh citrus fruits
  • herbs and spices
  • infused waters
  • homemade seasoning blends

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Rachel Adams
Published on: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Rachel Adams
Published on: 12-15-2023

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