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News Flash! Vitamin Water Still Not Healthy

Coca-Cola are in trouble again, they are being called to defend their heavily scrutinised VitaminWater range of drinks.

Back in January 2009, the Coca-Cola Company was sued for making ‘deceptive and unsubstantiated claims’ about its VitaminWater line of beverages, which it touts as a healthy alternative to soft drinks.

It was claimed that Coca-Cola was misleading consumers by using words such as “energy” and “endurance” on VitaminWater bottles and claiming that the drinks reduce the risk of eye disease, promote healthy joints and support “optimal immune function”.

In 2010, Judge John Gleeson in New York ruled that VitaminWater’s use of the word “healthy” violates FDA labelling rules.

In response to this ruling, Coca-Cola’s attorneys replied in court briefings that, “…no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking VitaminWater was a healthy beverage.”

3 years on, the case has now been upgraded to a class action law suit.

This means that Coca-Cola has to now testify under oath about its ingredients and provide evidence to back up the health claims on the bottle labels.

On the home front, Choice has lodged a formal complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the NSW Food Authority about the allegedly misleading labelling and marketing of VitaminWater.


Crystalline Fructose: The Damaging Sugar in VitaminWater

It’s easy to become enticed to drink VitaminWater – after all, it is endorsed by influential celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and 50 Cent.

The packaging look bright, fun and attractive and is available in several different colours and flavours.

If you were to believe the marketing, drinking VitaminWater is a fun way to be heathy!

The reality is that if VitaminWater were accurately named, it would actually be called Sugarwater.

A bottle of VitaminWater contains 125 calories, just 15 calories less than a bottle of Coke.

Its first three ingredients are, not surprisingly, sugar and water (full ingredient list for VitaminWater X in black box).

This sugar is coming in the form of cane sugar and crystalline fructose.

Crystalline fructose, one of the main sugars used in VitaminWater, is said to be worse than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and agave.

This is because crystalline fructose is 99 percent fructose, whereas HFCS is only 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose.

The higher fructose levels in crystalline fructose means that the health problems associated with fructose are more pronounced.

What’s more, crystalline fructose may contain dangerous chemicals like lead, arsenic, heavy metals, and chloride.

In fact, all types of refined, man-made fructose are dangerous, as they metabolise into adipose tissue and triglycerides instead of blood glucose.

Fructose also does not stimulate your insulin secretion and enhance your leptin production, which are key factors in regulating food intake and preventing weight gain. This type of sugar leads to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, belly fat, liver damage and other chronic diseases.

VitaminWater is Coke’s attempt to dress up soft drink in a physician’s white coat.

Underneath, it’s still sugar water.


Emed’s Comment

You’re not alone in wondering who could possibly be gullible enough to think that VitaminWater could be healthy?

Especially considering that it is manufactured and marketed by the Coca-Cola company.

This is why it is so important to read the food labels and not believe whatever is most prominently displayed on the front of the package, which in this case are the two words “vitamin” and “water”.

The whole ‘vitamin’ aspect of VitaminWater is completely irrelevant. It is true, there is vitamins in this beverage, however they are chemically synthesised, and on top of that, they have been added to a sugar water base.

Vitamins can’t undo the sugars and additives in the drink, and you are much better off gaining these nutrients from your diet and a good quality multivitamin.

Downing a bottle of sugar water is going to do nothing more than give you a sugar crash and maybe a few extra kilo’s. If you are thirsty – try a glass of water.


Get Creative

If you don’t like just plain old boring water, why don’t you make your own vitamin water at home?

The recipes below should be mixed and stored in a 2 Litre jug/jar, preferably glass.

1. The Classical : Lemon/Cucumber

Mix 7 cups of water + 1 cucumber and a lemon, thinly sliced + 1/4 cup fresh finely chopped basil leaf + 1/3 of finely chopped fresh mint leaves. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

2. The Granite : Strawberry/Lime

Mix 7 cups of water + 6 strawberries and one thinly sliced lime + 12 finely chopped fresh mint leaves. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

3. The Digestive : Fennel/Citrus

First: infuse 1 to 3 grams of dried and crushed fennel seeds in 150 ml of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Mix 7 cups of water + lemon juice (put the leftover lemon in the mix) + a small thinly sliced orange + 12 fresh chopped mint leaves + the infusion of fennel seeds. Leave in refrigerator overnight before serving.

4. The AntiOX : Blackberry/Sage

Note that apart from the berries, sage leafs is the herb that has the highest antioxidant content.

Mix 7 cups of water + 1 cup of blackberries that have been very slightly crushed + 3-4 sage leaves. Leave in refrigerator overnight before serving.

5. WATERmelon : Watermelon/Rosemary

Mix 7 cups of water + 1 cup of watermelon cut into cubes + 2 rosemary stems. Leave in refrigerator overnight before serving.

6. The Exotic : Pineapple/Mint

Mix 7 cups of water + 1 cup of pineapple cut into cubes + 12 fresh mint leaves finely chopped. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

7. The Traditional : Apple/Cinnamon

Mix 7 cups of water + 1 cup of apple cut into cubes + 2 cinnamon sticks + 2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

8. The Zingibir : Ginger/Tea

In advance: heat 1 teaspoon of ginger in two cups of tea, let it cool down.

Mix 7 cups of water with two cups of the ginger tea + 4-5 pieces of fresh ginger cut into cubes. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.


Further Reading:



Kylie Kavanagh et al. Dietary fructose induces endotoxemia and hepatic injury in calorically controlled primates. Am J Clin Nutr, first published June 19, 2013; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.057331


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