Is Aloe Water Worth the Hype?
The clear gel of the aloe vera plant has been used topically for thousands of years to help treat wounds, skin infections and burns. Although the cactus-like plant is native to sub-Saharan Africa, it’s grown around the world. The clear liquid extracted from the plant is known as aloe vera water or juice. It has a slightly bitter, citrusy flavor.
The nutrition info for aloe water varies depending on which ingredients, specifically sweeteners, are added. Many brands use added sugar to help balance the bitterness of the aloe. One cup of Jayone Aloe Drink in Original flavor contains 110 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrate, 26 grams of sugar and 25 milligrams of sodium. It’s also fat- and cholesterol-free, and contains nice amounts of vitamins B, C and E. Because of its high antioxidant load, aloe water has been recommended to help protect against free radical damage from environmental causes like the sun and smog.
There are superstitions about the use of aloe water: Some use it for upset stomach, while others drink it to help gain energy if they’re feeling sluggish.
There’s also plenty of hype about the use of aloe vera water for weight loss. Although several animal studies have been conducted, there’s been very little research on humans thus far. Until more studies are conducted, there’s no need to go overboard by drinking gallons.
Aloe vera supplements have also been used as a diuretic; however, when taken in too high amounts aloe vera can pull potassium out of your system, which is potentially dangerous. Aloe vera water is often seen in detox programs. Although you may lose water weight from its diuretic effects, you are very likely to gain it back very quickly. Additionally, the job of your liver is to clean or detox your body, and it doesn’t need the help of aloe or anything else.
Since the flavor is on the bitter side, aloe water is typically combined with different sweeteners or juice to make it more enjoyable to sip. That’s why it’s important to read the nutrition facts and ingredient list for added sugar and other additional ingredients. Here are a few brands of aloe vera water to try:
- Jayone Aloe Drink: Organic cane juice and honey help balance the flavor in this variety.
- Organic Aloe Very Original: Honey and stevia are used for sweetness, and it’s also fortified with multiple vitamins and minerals.
- ALO Original: This line offers 10 flavor combinations with aloe, including honey, green and olive tea, and mangosteen and mango juice.
Bottom Line: Although aloe vera is found in various forms and has been used for thousands of years, there still isn’t enough evidence to determine its efficacy. But if you enjoy the taste, there’s no harm in kicking back with a bottle of aloe water now and then.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.