VitaminWater: What are you really drinking?

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Nutrition

As you walk into the supermarket looking for a nice cold beverage to quench that undying thirst from the sweltering Singapore weather, you notice a mini fridge strategically positioned to capture the attention of consumers. Attractively coloured fluids in a bottle labeled with aesthetically pleasing wordings with a touch of “I am healthy!” on it.  Being increasingly health-conscious like the rest of the world, you feel this is the perfect guilt-free drink and down the bottle of VitaminWater feeling refreshed, savouring the sweet yet “healthy” beverage.

But really, what did you just drink? Nutritious water or fortified sugar water?

This may be a touchy subject because I know how many avid Vitamin Water drinkers are out there, especially in our increasingly health-conscious (but misinformed) society. However, it’s time to face the facts!

Vitamin Water gives the illusion of a healthy, hydrating, and rejuvenating miracle elixir. The bottles are beautiful, colorful, and the text on them is snappy and clever. They have empowering flavor names like “endurance,” “energy,” “essential,” and “focus.” There is no question that there is some genius marketing at hand.

However, nothing makes me cringe more than the sight of someone downing a bottle of “charge” or “balance” as though they are truly replenishing their body. The cold, hard truth is… Vitamin Water is fortified sugar water. Check the label yourself.

After researching online for their nutritional information, here’s what we’ve got.

It contains 50 Calories per serving, zero fat, and a good range of vitamins in the beverage. Wow, sounds pretty good! But wait! Let’s now identify what’s wrong with this.

  1. Ingredients: Sugar, or its disguised form, is actually second on the list. Anyone who knows how to read nutritional labels would know that ingredients of larger quantities would be nearer to the front of the list. That’s 13 grams of sugar per serving! But, the bottle is cleverly packaged to contain 2.5 servings. That would mean that if you consume the whole bottle, you’re consuming almost 33 grams of sugar or equivalent to 8 teaspoons of sugar. In comparison, a can of Coca-Cola is 39 grams of sugar.
  2. It contains less than 1% juice. So where does the vitamins come from, if not from juice? The ingredients would show that they come from chemically synthesized vitamins which you can never compare to consuming it naturally or even from a multi-vitamin pill. Of course adding vitamins to a drink doesn’t do any actual harm, but it confuses consumers into thinking that the beverage is a healthy choice. Remember, these companies don’t really care about your health and well-being… they’re trying to win you over! Our society now has become somewhat obsessed with healthier choices, and the smart companies know how to appeal to that crowd. They boast that their drink is full of essential vitamins and will somehow make you perform your daily tasks more efficiently. Trust me on this: downing a bottle of sugar water is going to do nothing but give you a sugar crash later.

 

These 2 reasons are sufficient to show you why they should be avoided, especially if you are looking to achieve your fitness goals or even lead a healthy lifestyle.

A lawsuit, brought by Center for Science in the Public Interest alleges that VitaminWater labels and advertising are filled with “deceptive and unsubstantiated claims”.  At oral arguments, defendants (Coca-Cola) suggested that no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitamin water was a healthy beverage.” Hence, are they implying that only unreasonable consumers are misled into perceiving that the beverage is healthy?

Now, Vitamin Water is not pure poison. It is certainly not a health food or something that I would personally drink, but if the choice is between Vitamin Water or soda, I suppose Vitamin Water is a wiser choice. But you know what the smartest choice is? Water. Real water. It is crucial to keep your body properly hydrated at all times, and pure water is the only way to do this. Drinks that are full with sugar only continue to dehydrate the body, regardless of their water content.

In the mean time, don’t buy VitaminWater. Unless, of course, you think you could use 32 grams of liquid sugars and some synthetic vitamin chemicals in your diet. And if you somehow think that VitaminWater is healthy, the Coca-Cola Corporation thinks you are a fool.

And it’s probably not the best idea to rely on a soft drink company for your vitamins and other essential nutrients. A plant-strong diet with lots of vegetables and fruits will provide you with what you need far more reliably, far more consistently — and far more honestly.

 

I would like to share with my readers, a video made by the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center regarding VitaminWater. This is the link to the video. The Vitamin Water Deception

For a list of vitamins and minerals, their sources and the recommended daily allowances of them, click here.

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