Is Kool-Aid Gluten Free? (You’d Be Surprised!)

Is Kool Aid Gluten Free

Kool-Aid is perhaps one of the most well-known flavor powders on the market. Thanks to its portable nature, Kool-Aid has been the go-to drink for many sporting events, school functions, and many large gatherings. The individual packets are also great to throw in a backpack or pack into your lunch for the day. But how do they fit into a gluten-free diet?

Kool-Aid is gluten-free. Kool-Aid is made by Kraft, which pledges to clearly list all forms of gluten, so you can be rest assured. If you are looking for a healthier gluten-free alternative, choose Thrive Market Non-GMO Matcha Lemonade Drink Mix, Essential Living Foods Immune Support Strawberry Lemonade Instant Drink Mix, Halo Hydration Lemonade, Laird Superfood Drink Mix Original Hydrate mix.

In this article, we take deeper look into Kool-Aid nutrition, whether Kool-Aid is a good drink mix option, and the best healthy gluten-free alternatives. Let’s dig in!

Is Kool-Aid Healthy?

Kool-Aid comes in powder mixes, juice pouches, large multi-serving bottles, and liquid mixes. While the forms may differ, the general nutrition is very similar—and it is not good. A canister of Kool-Aid powder contains over half of the American Heart Association’s recommended daily intake for women and just below half the daily recommended intake for men.

While Kool-Aid claims to be high in Vitamin C, one serving generally only contains 10% or less of your recommended daily intake.

When you look at the ingredients, the top ingredients are sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Consuming high amounts of added sugar is bad for your teeth, bad for your health, and can lead to long term negative consequences.

Kool-Aid is essentially just adding flavored sugar to water, and because of this is not considered to be healthy.

Added sugar has been linked to:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased fat in the bloodstream
  • Tooth decay
  • Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and strokes

Is Kool-Aid Better than Soda?

While Kool Aid is widely considered slightly better than soda, it is not healthier by a wide margin. Kool-Aid are soda are both notoriously high in added sugar and low in other vitamins and minerals.

Kool-Aid has the slight edge over soda because it is caffeine-free, which means it may have a slightly more hydrating effect than soda.

Both are okay to drink occasionally, but neither should be a consistent part of your daily diet.

Why is Sugar Added to So Many Foods?

Sugar is added to foods for a variety of reasons, such as to improve flavor, help to preserve it, improve texture or color, fuel fermentation in breads, and act as a bulking agent.

When it comes to Kool-Aid, flavor is the primary reason for adding sugar into the mixes. The problem with added sugars are that they add calories with very little nutritional value, in addition to contributing to the likelihood of poor health outcomes.

How Much Added Sugar Can You Have in a Day?

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories from added sugar per day for women and 150 calories per day for men. That is 24 grams of sugar for women and 36 grams of sugar for men.

To put this in perspective, 1 teaspoon of added sugar has 16 calories and is 4 grams. One single-serving packet of Kool-Aid has 7 grams of added sugar, while a canister serving has 16 grams.

To check foods for added sugar, looking at the ingredient list is key. Added sugars often go by an alternate name ending in “ose.” This includes fructose, glucose, maltose, and dextrose.

Some sugars are thought to be “better” than others, but there is no real truth to this. For example, honey has no nutritional value over white sugar.

Kool-Aid Flavors

There are many flavors of Kool-Aid to choose from, including specialty flavors that are not available year-round. These flavors include, but are not limited to:

  • Lemonade
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Green Apple
  • Strawberry Kiwi
  • Blue Raspberry
  • Sharkleberry Fin

Those who have been drinking Kool-Aid for years may even remember canceled flavors such as Rock-a-Dile Red, Purplesaurus Rex, Great Bluedini, Incrediberry, Pink Swimmingo, and Berry Blue.

Kool-Aid Nutritional Information

Kool-Aid Tropical Punch Packets

Kool-Aid comes in many package sizes, but individual packets are the most convenient for mixing into a drink for one. The nutrition information for 1 single serve tropical punch packet is as follows:

Nutrition Facts (Per 15.8g, 1 single-serve packet):

  • Calories: 30
  • Fat: 0 gram (0% DV)
  • Carbs: 7 grams (2% DV)
  • Fiber: 0 grams (0% DV)
  • Sugar: 7 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 0 mg (0% DV)


  • Sugar
  • Fructose
  • Citric acid
  • Contains less than 2% of: natural and artificial flavor, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin E acetate, calcium phosphate, acesulfame potassium and sucralose (sweeteners), artificial color, red 40, blue 1, BHA (preserves freshness)

Kool-Aid Cherry Mix

If you are looking for a multi-serving option, canisters are a good way to go. The information for Kool-Aid Cherry Mix is:

Nutrition Facts (Per 17g, 1/8 cap):

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 0 gram (0% DV)
  • Carbs: 16 grams (5% DV)
  • Fiber: 0 grams (0% DV)
  • Sugar: 16 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 0 mg (0% DV)


  • Sugar
  • Fructose
  • Citric acid
  • Contains less than 2% of: artificial flavor, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium phosphate, artificial color, red 40, BHT (preserves freshness)

Kool-Aid Jammers

For a pre-mixed Kool-Aid option, check out Kool-Aid Jammers, which are pre-mixed Kool-Aid pouches. Per one Kool-Aid Jammers Tropical Punch Juice Drink:

Nutrition Facts (Per 1 Pouch):

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 0 gram (0% DV)
  • Carbs: 24 grams (8% DV)
  • Fiber: 0 grams (0% DV)
  • Sugar: 24 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 15 mg (1% DV)


  • Water
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Pear juice from concentrate
  • Contains less than 2% of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), natural and artificial flavor, citric acid, calcium disodium edta (preserve freshness), blue 1

Healthier Gluten-Free Kool-Aid Alternatives

Because of the high added sugar in Kool-Aid, many people seek out lower sugar alternatives.

Thrive Market Non-GMO Matcha Lemonade Drink Mix

Thrive Market is known for having fresh, organic food and drinks and their Match Lemonade Drink Mix is no exception. Not only does it taste great, but Matcha is known for its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

Nutrition Facts (Per 5 grams, 1 tablespoon):

  • Calories: 10
  • Fat: 0 gram (0% DV)
  • Carbs: 4 gram (1% DV)
  • Fiber: 2 grams (7% DV)
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 0 mg (0% DV)


  • Organic Matcha powder
  • Lemon crystals
  • Tapioca fiber
  • Stevia leaf extract
  • Rice hulls
  • Citric acid

Essential Living Foods, Strawberry Lemonade Immunity Booster Instant Drink Mix

Essential Living Foods also provides great drink mixes, and their Strawberry Lemonade Immunity Booster is made with turmeric and chaga powder to increase the health effects and immune system support.

Nutrition Facts (Per 14 Grams, 1 Tablespoon):

  • Calories: 30
  • Fat: 0 gram (0% DV)
  • Carbs: 13 gram (5% DV)
  • Fiber: 10 grams (36% DV)
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 95 mg (4% DV)


  • Organic agave
  • Inulin prebiotic powder
  • Organic citric acid
  • Organic natural flavors
  • Organic lemon juice powder
  • Organic monk fruit extract
  • Sea salt
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Organic beet juice powder
  • Organic strawberry juice powder
  • Organic chaga mushroom extract
  • Organic turmeric extract

Halo Hydration Lemonade

Halo: Hydration Powder Packets - Pink Lemonade - 12 Servings (5g Each) - Organic Hydration Drink with Essential Vitamins + Minerals + Electrolyte Powder - Vegan, Kosher - Immunity Booster Halo Hydration is a great option when you want a simple drink mix with low sugar. There is only 1 gram of sugar per packet, so you can feel confident you are not overloading your body with added sugar.

Nutrition Facts (Per 14 Grams, 1 Tablespoon):

  • Calories: 15
  • Fat: 0 gram (0% DV)
  • Carbs: 4 gram (1% DV)
  • Fiber: 0 grams (0% DV)
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 75 mg (3% DV)


  • Organic cane sugar
  • Citric acid
  • Natural flavors
  • Gum arabic (Acacia senegal)
  • Malic acid
  • Steviol glycosides
  • Silica

Laird Superfood Original Hydrate Coconut Water Drink Mix

Laird Superfood Coconut Water Powder HYDRATE ORIGINAL | All-Natural | No Added Sugars | Gluten Free | Vegan - 8 oz For coconut lovers, Laired Superfood Original Hydrate Coconut Water Drink Mix is a great option. The ingredients are simple and it a great way to give your water a twist.

Nutrition Facts (Per 12 Grams, 1 Tablespoon):

  • Calories: 40
  • Fat: 0 gram (0% DV)
  • Carbs: 10 gram (4% DV)
  • Fiber: 0 grams (0% DV)
  • Sugar: 9 gram
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 5 mg (0% DV)


  • Freeze-dried coconut water
  • AquaminTM (calcium from marine algae)
  • Contains tree nuts

Related Questions

Is Kool-Aid Vegan?

Yep! Kool-Aid is vegan. If you have heard a rumor that it contains gelatin, you are not alone. This rumor is unfounded, and vegans should feel confident when choosing to consume Kool-Aid.

Is Kool-Aid a Pure Substance?

This one goes out to all the science-lovers out there. Kool-Aid is not a pure substance because each ingredient can vary when it is made (generally it is made from Kool-Aid powder, water, and sometimes sugar). However, is it a homogenous mixture because it is uniform throughout once mixed and cannot be separated back into individual parts.

Is Kool-Aid Bad for Your Kidneys?

Kool-Aid, and all drinks with high levels of sugar for that matter, increase the risk of kidney damage. However, if you do not consume them in high volumes, the risk is minimal.

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Josie Burridge

Josie has always had a passion for food and for cooking. From a young age, she was always in the kitchen mixing up new recipes and serving way-too-elaborate meals. She graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering, emphasizing her studies on biology and biochemistry. She currently studies nutritional epidemiology, and loves combining her knowledge of science with her love of food to provide people with high-quality, up-to-date nutritional information and research.

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