Food & Nutrition

Drinking no added sugar squash instead of water – is it ok?


Published by Finn Hayden

We're all constantly told that we need to be drinking more water to stay healthy, and although the '2 litres per day' advice has been debunked somewhat, it is still really important to keep yourself hydrated, even on cold days.

But as strange as it sounds, there are lots of people out there who really can't stand the taste of water. For these people, the idea of drinking even a few glasses of water per day sounds like hard work, so many of these people opt for an alternative like sugar-free squash. But is drinking sugar-free squash really as good as drinking water? Well, the short answer is no, but it's certainly better than not drinking anything. Let's explore why this is:

Official NHS advice

We should probably start with what the health authority here in the UK says about this, and according to the NHS website, sugar-free squash does count. However, they've also said that things like tea and coffee count too, which makes sense in a way (because they're made with water) but also doesn't tell the full story. Coffee and tea both contain caffeine, which has been shown to be a diuretic (it makes you pee more), which can contribute to dehydration. Now, although sugar-free squash usually doesn't contain caffeine, our point here is to illustrate that not everything on this NHS page should be taken at face value.

So then it's fine to drink sugar-free squash instead of water?

If all you're concerned with is getting hydrated, drinking sugar-free squash in place of water is mostly fine. However, it is worth considering the health effects of the additives included in the squash, such as citric acid which can erode tooth enamel.


As you can see from the image we've included here of the back of a sugar-free squash from Lidl, citric acid is one of the main ingredients, as is Malic acid which can have similar effects on the teeth.

back of sugar-free squash bottle

So hopefully this guide has helped to put your mind at ease. It's absolutely fine to swap water for sugar-free squash if your primary concern is staying hydrated, just be aware that you may be affecting your health in other ways.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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