Is Cirkul Water Good for Us and the Planet? Pros and Cons of This Hydration


Dec. 25 2023, Published 8:06 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Cirkul water bottles feature single-use cartridges.
  • The cartridges flavor the water every time someone sips from the bottle.
  • The brand advertises itself as a healthy option because the cartridges contain vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, zero sugars, and zero calories.
  • People are wary of Cirkul because many of the flavors contain sucralose, which has shown the ability to disrupt gut bacteria.
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A company called Cirkul sells two key products: reusable water bottles, and individual cartridges, which flavor each sip of water within the bottle's lid. People sometimes relate the cartridges with those in vapes or single-use waste that harm the environment. That said, is Cirkul bad for you and the planet?

Read this guide to learn everything you need to know about Cirkul. You’ll better understand what the cartridges are, how they work, and if they’re the best option for your hydration or health. It’s always wise to learn about a new product before introducing it to your daily routine.

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A colorful photo of six alternative sweeteners, one of which is Sucralose
Source: iStock Photo

How does Cirkul work?

Cirkul bottles are reusable, customizable, come in four sizes, and come in either plastic or stainless steel. When a customer removes the lid, there’s a large hole where a flavor cartridge goes. The brand recommends replacing the cartridges every 132 ounces of water, which equals roughly four refills of the 32-ounce size.

The cartridge flavors your water "sip by sip" to make the act of drinking water a bit tastier, and the cartridges come in a variety of flavors.

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Is Cirkul bad for you?

People love the idea of flavored water because it makes hydration easier to manage. Plain water may be refreshing, but it’s not as flavorful as the abundant options in sodas or juices.

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Cirkul may not seem unhealthy at first glance. It uses only natural flavors and doesn’t include regular sugar. The zero-calorie cartridges won’t affect a calorie-focused diet, but the ingredients list still concerns certain people, because many of the flavors contain sucralose. (The ones that do not contain sucralose contain stevia, which is Generally Recognized As Safe by the FDA.)

According to researchers with Nutrients, consuming sucralose over a long period of time can cause bacteria imbalances that result in gut dysbiosis. The imbalance results in inflammation that can triggers irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) side effects, as proven by a study in Microbial Biotechnology.

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The small intestine’s bacteria break nutrients down so the body can easily absorb them, per research in Gut. If your gut bacteria is out of balance, it won’t be able to use the nutrients in the Cirkul water cartridges as efficiently. More of them will leave through the urinary tract and never support your bodily functions as desired.

The Cirkul flavors with sucralose may be particularly an issue for people who have existing gut health conditions. The sweetener may worsen your symptoms by altering the bacterial colonies in your small intestine. However, you could limit how much Cirkul you drink each day to stay within sucralose levels that don’t negatively affect your stomach.

According to Healthline, sucralose "is generally considered safe when enjoyed in moderation," so make sure not to overdo it.

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Is Cirkul healthy?

Aside from the sucralose sweetener’s effects on gut health, Cirkul water can be a healthy option for people trying to drink more water. Depending on your chosen cartridge, your flavor could contain essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients or electrolytes.

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If you’d rather avoid the potential effects of Cirkul’s sweetener, you don’t have to worry about feeling stuck with plain water. Flavor your water with natural fruits or sweeteners for optimum hydration without limiting your beverage options, according to Fresh Meal Plan. You can always soak washed fruit in your water bottle to infuse it with nutrients and your preferred flavors.

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Drinking Cirkul-flavored water may also cause you more stress if you live a sustainable lifestyle. The cartridges may last a while, but they aren’t reusable. Since stress affects your mental health, zero-waste and organic water flavoring options like infuser bottles could be a better fit for overall well-being.

Make the best choice for your body.

Everyone’s choice of beverage depends on their health history and current dietary goals. Cirkul may be bad for you if you have gut conditions like IBS because it could disrupt your small intestine’s weakened bacteria colonies, but for others, it can be a helpful way to hydrate more. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about your health conditions or concerns.

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