PRO TIP: The Truth About Vitamin Waters

vitamin-waterWalking down the beverage aisle of a supermarket, one is dumbstruck by the sheer number of options available. A growing category, with dazzling colors that scream “buy me”, is vitamin waters.

Vitamin Water XXX is a classic example of unsubstantiated health marketing. Named for its “triple antioxidants” formula of acai, blueberry, and pomegranate flavors, the triple X logo has additional, naughty, connotations: the kind of xxx you can consume in front of your mother, according to the brand’s manufacturer.

With the help of this marketing drivel, the manufacturer, a Coca Cola subsidiary, is making billions of dollars a year. Unfortunately, the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient list is full of deceit.

This is what an honest ingredient list would read:

water, sugar, colors, needless vitamins & minerals.

Here is the ingredient list on the package:

reverse osmosis water, cane sugar, less than 0.5% of: citric acid, magnesium lactate and calcium lactate and potassium phosphate (electrolyte sources), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), fruit and vegetable juice (color), natural flavors, stevia leaf extract, vitamin B5 (calcium pantothenate), beta-carotene, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), manganese citrate, gum acacia.

The ingredients listed are named to get you excited about how chic this product is.

For example, it’s not just any water being provided – you are getting reverse osmosis water, whatever that means. Probably better than regular water, right?

Next up – the sugar. Not just any sugar – it’s cane sugar. Sugar comes from beets or sugar cane. Someone must have decided that cane sugar sounds more sophisticated or healthy. Baloney.

A single serve bottle of this beverage has 8 teaspoons of needless, harmful sugar. Actually, the sugar actually does have a role to play in this beverage – to mask the very bitter taste of the vitamins added. However, 120 calories is a high price to pay when you can get non-bitter water out of the tap for zero calories and zero dollars.

Onwards, down the ingredient list, electrolyte sources also sounds cool. Admit it. However, did you know that a banana is also an electrolyte source?

The vitamins added will likely be mal-absorbed (read: you will urinate them). Their bio-availability is much lower than if consumed as part of whole foods.

Lastly, rest assured that a laboratory has perfected the right combination of natural chemicals to excite your olfactory and taste receptacles. It’s probably not the fruit and vegetable juice, which makes a guest appearance here, with less than 0.5% of the content.

Bottom Line
Marketing hype will not make vitamin waters a healthy hydration choice. Ever.

Supermarket Tip
Get your antioxidants from real fruit, not sugar water. Skip the supermarket beverage aisle and stick with tap water. With the money saved you’ll be able to afford all the tasty, healthy fruits you desire.
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