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Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea Sugar Free Drink Mix Review

Updated Review Date: 06/01/2017
Original Review Date: 01/20/2012


         Although you'll still want to read the full review, I'm going to skip ahead and let all the iced tea lovers know that Crystal Light Natural Lemon Iced Tea is worth a try based on just the taste alone. Since its sugar free, sodium free and has just 5 calories per serving, it's also a reasonable choice for diabetics or dieters alike. There's 10mg of caffeine per 8oz. serving, which isn't excessive but is something to be aware of if you're sensitive to caffeine. At last check a decaf version of Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea is available in addition to the regular version. Sugar free Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea is currently sold in 8 and 12-quart size canisters (contains 8 one-quart packets or 6 two-quart packets) and boxes of 10, 30 and 44 count On The Go packets.
         With the formalities dispensed, let's see how this flavor of Crystal Light fares in the review.

Nutrition Information for Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea Drink Mix

Each serving (8 oz. prepared) of Crystal Light Natural Lemon Iced Tea powdered drink mix contains:

Calories: 5
Sodium: 0mg
Sugars: 0g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Total Fat: 0g
Caffeine: 10mg

Ingredients of Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea Sugar Free Drink Mix

Since this flavor does use instant tea, you would think there's no need for six different food colorings to emulate the color of tea. Both the canister and the On The Go packets have the following ingredients:

Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Instant Tea, Corn Syrup Solids (Adds a Trivial Amount of Sugar), Aspartame (Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine), Contains Less than 2% of Natural Flavor, Magnesium Oxide, Acesulfame Potassium, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, BHA (Preserves Freshness).

The Scorecard for Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea Sugar Free Drink Mix

With the four point rating system in mind, here's the score for this classic iced tea flavor from Crystal Light:

Taste: The taste is excellent and no complaints here, only praise. I didn't notice any sweetener aftertaste and the blend of aspartame and acesulfame-K does the job perfectly. There were 4 additional taste testers for this review, of which none reported any aftertastes. They also were in agreement that this is a very good-tasting iced tea in comparison to other products they have tasted in the past. However, one taste tester did think it was almost a bit too sweet, bordering on a sweet-tea mix rather than a typical iced tea mix. (+1)

Packaging Waste: The exterior packaging for the canisters is #5 plastic and the On The Go packets use cardboard, so both packages are recyclable. Unfortunately both the canister packs and the On The Go packets use a foil-plastic material to hold the actual mix which may or may not be might be recyclable in your area (there's no recycling number). It would be nice to see the canister packs at least use the #5 or #2 condiment tubs with real foil lids for each 2-quart portion of mix rather than a large foil-plastic packet, since the tubs and foil lids are fully recyclable. (+.5)

Value: The value is certainly good and both the canisters (8 and 12-quart sizes) and the On The Go packets are priced in line with other comparable products, sometimes being even a bit less than the competition depending on where you shop. (+1)

Health Factor: While there's nothing inherently bad about Crystal Light Natural Lemon Iced Tea for most of the population, there are a couple of minor issues that when combined deduct a half point from the health factor score. Since the product does use real instant tea, I'm at loss as to why 3 different additional colorings are needed - there are plenty of examples of instant teas on the market with no additional colorings. Even though these colorings are deemed safe to use by the USFDA, who really wants to consume more than is absolutely necessary on a regular basis? The other issue that this drink mix uses aspartame (like all Crystal Light flavors), and this isn't safe to consume for anyone with PKU (Phenylketonuria, an enzyme disorder). There are alternative sweeteners that could be used which are close in cost and don't cut out a segment of the population. On the positive side of things it is a naturally flavored sugar free drink, and an extremely tasty one at that, so it's still a possible alternative for diabetics or anyone looking to eliminate sugar from their beverages without sacrificing flavor. (+.5)

Overall Rating: 3 out of 4 for both the canisters and the boxes of On The Go packets. There is some room for improvement but not too bad overall. Because of the great taste I do drink this flavor of Crystal Light on occasion, and I recommend that people who prefer iced teas give Crystal Light Lemon Iced Tea a try as well.



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