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.
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…
I am definelty surprised to hear about the possible medical conditions associated with crystalline fructose. I still think Vitamin Water is better than soda just because it has less sugar, less calories and no sodium. When the FDA bands crystalline fructose I will definetly take note, but I will probrably keep drinking the vitamin water until I get to my desire weight. I love my sodas and I need a good substitue to keep the cravings away and tea is not my cup of tea.
it is made by glaceau or whatever keep reading…
I am very dissapointed I actually believed that this drink was good for you – how foolish of me.
Thanks for the info.
Wow, I am drinking the focus Kiwi strawberry right now. Paid $1.65 to find out that I should have went to this website before purchasing the water. Because I am thirsty and paid for it already, I guess today I will take the risk and finish my last bottle of vitamin water.
Thanks for the heads up!
The next ingredient after reverse osmosis water is the crystalline fructose. I just read my bottle too.
wow unbelievable! No more for me!
I wake up get ready for work stop at Valero and grab 2 Vitamin waters for $2.50, mann they can kiss my tail now
I’m reading this in 2014 and as I sit here and stare at my ingredients of the “XXX” flavor, everything that you say about it is incorrect. Mind you, it’s very possible they’ve changed their ingredients after some form of scrutiny but I thought I would keep it current.
1. Instead of Crystalline Fructose i’m seeing Cane Sugar.
2. The serving size has been appropriately set at “1 Bottle” boasting a hefty 120 calories.
This could have been in response to a Class Action Suit against Coca-Cola for marketing this as a healthy alternative, and once again Coca-Cola successfully ruins a growing healthy beverage company.
In short, this may be slightly healthier than drinking Soda pop on paper, but not enough for you to switch from one to the other and expect to feel healthier.
Hey Ketaon, yes this original article was written 4 years ago and they have changed so it’s time to do an update of the article, thanks for being a second eye on it. Agreed with you that might be a little healthier than other sodas good old water with some lemon or cucumber is definitely still the way to go!
Is Vitamin Water healthier than Gatorade? Because Gatorade has about the same amount of sugar.
I wouldn’t say that, Gatorade is probably actually a little more healthier for you if you are exercising long term as it is enriched with electrolytes to help with dehydration, but you would only need that after 75+ minutes of continuous exercise.
Good article to read. Useful information.