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Is Propel Bad For You?

Also Known As: Propel Fitness Water



Short answer

Propel water contains sweeteners and preservatives that make drinking this product as a general source of water not the best. These additives can have negative effects on your body when consumed in large amounts.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Propel water is not just water as the name implies. It is actually a sports drink designed in a lab to replenish electrolytes in athletes that have been vigorously sweating it out in the gym. Propel can certainly replenish the large amounts of water, sodium, and potassium lost in sweat, but you need to be conscious of what else is going into your body along with these substances.

A few of the ingredients in Propel you need to be aware of include sodium hexametaphosphate, potassium sorbate, sucralose, calcium disodium EDTA and acesulfame potassium. Most of these additives are formulated in a lab and are not naturally occurring products. Yuck! Who wants to go through all that effort of loving your body with some exercise only to feed it manufactured ingredients? Look good today, die of cancer later – no, thank you.

Sucralose, more commonly known as Splenda, is an artificial sweetener that’s been talked about a lot recently. While sucralose may have little effect if you regularly consume artificial sweeteners, those who don’t will experience a blood sugar spike of nearly 14% and an insulin spike of about 20%, which is proven by research studies. Compared to table sugar, sucralose is nearly 600 times sweeter. Sucralose can also render some medications less effective and negatively impact your gut bacteria.

Calcium disodium EDTA is one you need to look out for as well - it is basically poison. It is created directly by the combination of formaldehyde, sodium cyanide and ethylene diamine. (Let’s pause here so you can pick your jaw up from the ground.) This ingredient can deplete your body of vitamins and metals, cause headaches and stomach pain and lower your blood sugar just in the short-term. While Propel contains vitamins and metals you need, this one ingredient may be limiting how much you are actually absorbing. With long-term consumption, we are looking at conditions like toxin buildup and kidney damage.

Acesulfame potassium is another artificial sweetener that is significantly sweeter than table sugar, roughly 200 times sweeter. It is readily absorbed by the body, but excreted in exactly the same state as it is consumed, meaning it has no benefits and your body more or less doesn’t even know what to do with it. The major downside of this ingredient is that it contains methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Potassium sorbate is classified as “generally safe” by the food industry and used as an antimicrobial preservative. Consuming up to 25 mg per kilogram of your body weight per day is generally assumed safe, but allergic reactions are possible.

Sodium hexametaphosphate consumed occasionally is also generally safe when balanced with other minerals although allergic reaction to this substance is also possible - along with headaches - in the short-term. Consuming it in large quantities has been linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

So, in conclusion, you should avoid making Propel water a daily routine or the product you reach for just because you are thirsty. Drinking tap water or regular bottled water in these cases would be healthier. If once in a while in an athletic competition this is your water and electrolyte refueling options, you should be ok.

Possible short-term side effects

  • allergic reaction
  • headaches
  • abdominal pain

Possible long-term side effects

  • pancreatic cancer
  • negatively impacts your gut bacteria
  • kidney damage
  • toxin buildup

Ingredients to be aware of


  • replenishes water, sodium and potassium
  • contains b vitamins along with vitamins c and e

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

NOOMA Electrolyte Drink

  • Organic hydration
  • Coconut water infused
  • No added sugar
  • Only 30 calories
  • Variety pack flavors
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 06-29-2016
Last updated: 11-30-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 06-29-2016
Last updated: 11-30-2023

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