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"Vitamin Water" — When water is no longer water


Vitamin water – sounds healthy, no?

The drink is sweeping the nation, touting claims of being a healthy beverage. However, how much do we really know about these vitamin drinks?

Coca-Cola is being sued by a non-profit public interest group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who alleges that vitamin water labels and advertising are filled with ‘deceptive and unsubstantiated claims.’ Coca-Cola is defending itself by agreeing that vitamin water isn’t a healthy product. They are also arguing that people shouldn’t believe their advertising message that vitamin water is a healthy product because no one could possibly believe such a ridiculous claim.  Glaceau is the company who created and marketed the vitamin water and Coca-Cola bought it in 2007 for about $4.1 billion. Coca-Cola reportedly sells over $350 million a year.

So what are the facts about vitamin water? First, the ingredients are listed by Coca-Cola on a “per serving basis” and a serving amounts to less than half a bottle. Since few are going to drink just half the bottle – multiply everything times two plus.

A bottle of Vitaminwater contains 33 grams of sugar, making it more like a soft drink than water. It also means that, in one consumable you are getting the maximum amount of daily sugar recommended in dietary guidelines. With 35 percent of Americans now morbidly obese and 23.6 million with diabetes, health experts will agree that sugars play a key role in health.

Vitamin waters also contain about 122 calories per bottle compared to 140 calories in a regular soda. So if you are watching your calories, you might want to skip the vitamin water and just drink regular water. Plus you don’t get all the sugar.

The name “vitamin water” is simply misleading for consumers looking for weight-loss remedies or for health benefits from vitamins. Whether Coca-Cola likes it or not, the drink is essentially sugar water and a few water soluble vitamins. Do not expect it to replace your multi-vitamin.

Coca-Cola has spent billions of dollars investing in its vitamin water line and has numerous celebrities endorsing the drink such as basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. Rap star 50 Cent endorses the water and also owns 10 percent of the product. He even has a product named after him “formula 50.”  These endorsements only serve to confuse and mislead the public about the health benefits of the drink. The products are also strategically placed on grocery store shelves right by regular bottled waters. So with super stars endorsing the product and billions being spent to convince you that it is a healthy drink, it is important that the truth be told about these expensive, enhanced waters.

So, what is the answer? Drink water – just plain ol’ water. 

Why? Because we ARE water and we need to be regularly replenished with it. Look at the facts:

  • Our bodies: 60 – 70% water
  • Our brains: 80% water
  • Our blood: 90% water
  • Our livers: 97% water

John Robbins, author of “The New Good Life, Diet for A New America,” writes, “Why do we allow companies like Coca-Cola to tell us that drinking a bottle of sugar water with a few added water-soluble vitamins is a legitimate way to meet our nutritional needs?”

If you need some extra flavor in your water, try adding fruit, or honey to a quart of water.  Green tea is also a great alternative with lots of health benefits. “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,” advises Robbins.

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