Is Vitamin Water Really Good For You?
Thought it was time to do a little investigative reporting as one of you had asked me if Vitamin Water was a good alternative to sodas. I remember taking a quick look at the ingredient list last year and I was a bit shocked. So in this article we take a close look at Vitamin Water and see whether it is as it claims – a
healthful alternative” to sodas.
Vitamin Water actually has an interesting story, let’s take a quick look at it’s history…
History of Vitamin Water
I had heard that Vitamin Water was new venture of Coca Cola company a few years back but I did a little digging around and found out that it wasn’t started by Coca Cola in the first place. It was actually an idea developed by a guy named J. Darius Birkoff who one day in the mid 90′s was feeling run down so he created a mixed drink of mineral water and Vitamin C. Thinking he was onto something he then created a company named Glaceau Smartwater to sell this product.
Several years later his Smartwater was being sold throughout New York and was gaining major market share as more and more people wanted a healthy alternative to soda pops. Coca Cola being years behind made an aggressive bid and took over the company for a reported $4.1 billion all the while keeping Bikoff as the chief operator of this subsidiary.
Re-branded as Vitamin Water, it is now taking over major market share in Europe, Canada, Australia and Mexico. Now I wasn’t able to find out whether the ingredient listing changed or not after this take-over although I have a strong feeling it after taking a look at the ingredient list…
Nutrition Facts of Vitamin Water
There are several flavors of Vitamin Water and each one claims to have some specific health benefit such as Strenth, Defense, Focus, Balance, Endurance and so on. Highlighted on the packages of these drinks are the vitamins, minerals and other health supplements such as Glucosamine and Guarna, but what if we look at the ingredient list?
First and most importantly the second ingredient after distilled water is Crystalline Fructose. Fructose is just sugar from fruit right? Wrong! Crystalline Fructose is actually processed sweetner that is derived from cornstarch. It is a substitute to high fructose corn syrup (the lethal ingredient in sodas) because it is 5% sweeter and therefore less can be used.
But are there any health concerns of Crystalline Fructose? Doctors are alarmed at the relationship between Crystalline Fructose and fatty liver disease, heart disease and even obesity. Wow! Why can’t corporations like Coca Cola just use plain old table sugar if all these major health concerns surround these sugar substitutes? Well the truth of the matter is that sugar derived from corn products is dirt cheap and can increase their profits when sold in a mass scale.
My honest advice? Stay away from Crystalline Fructose with a 10 foot pole. Why risk your health? But not only that there is another kicker to the ingredient list of Vitamin Water.
The serving size is completely out of whack! They list that there is only 50 calories per serving yet one container is actually closer to 2.5 servings. So if you drink the whole bottle you will be getting 125 calories and more than 32 grams of sugars (carbohydrates). Combine this with a processed sweetner and we’re talking major damage to your health.
Conclusion: Is Vitamin Water Really Good For You?
After taking a close look at the ingredient listing and mallacy in health claims I can see why the Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a class action lawsuit against Coca Cola noting that the marketing of Vitamin Water as a “healthful alternative” is a falsehood and in direct violation of guidelines set out by the FDA.
This goes back to my recommendation that sure water can be boring but we can definitely try replacing it with natural tea which you can get in so many different flavors. One of my favorite brands is Stash tea which has all natural ingredients and the Black Licorice Spice is ridiculously tasty (it even has a sweet aftertaste even though it has no sugar in it!).
Where you as surprised as I was about Vitamin Water being good for you? Think you will switch to tea now, or will you look for another alternative to water? Please leave a comment below…