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La Croix has a mysterious ingredient that has made it a huge hit — here's what it really is

Business Insider logo Business Insider 9/13/2017 Kate Taylor

La Croix © Provided by Business Insider La Croix Facebook/La Croix

La Croix lovers know that the sparkling water's "natural essences" make the beverage special. 

But, few people know what these "essences" are or what the phrase "naturally essenced" — which appears on most cans of La Croix — really means. 

The Wall Street Journal dug into the phenomenon of these flavors, which La Croix refuses to demystify.

"Essence is actually a clear, concentrated natural chemical that's been used for decades in products as varied as gravy, ice pops, coffee, shampoo and even insecticide, according to industry executives and scientists," the Journal reported. 

Video: Seltzer vs. Club Soda vs. Tonic Water vs. Sparkling Water (Provided by My Recipes)

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Essence is created by heating items such as fruit and vegetable skins, rinds, and remnants at high temperatures, producing vapors. These vapors are condensed and then sold by the barrel. 

La Croix did not confirm or deny the Journal's interpretation.

"The flavors are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit used in each of our LaCroix flavors," the La Croix website reads. "There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, these extracted flavors." 

Gallery: We Tried 40 Seltzers and These Are the Best (Provided by Real Simple) Best Sparkling Mineral Water: Gerolsteiner Sparkling Natural Mineral Water: <p>Its tiny bubbles cascade just like champagne. Thanks to naturally occur- ring magnesium and calcium, it has a subtle mineral flavor that cleanses the palate and pairs well with food.</p> <p> <strong>To buy:</strong> $34; <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Gerolsteiner-Sparkling-Mineral-Water-Ounce/dp/B001SB3XXG">amazon.com</a>.</p> We Tried 40 Seltzers and These Are the Best

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