Back in September I wrote about enhanced water (It’s More Watery Than Water). Looks like the Coca-Cola is now going to have a little trouble with their VitaminWater product. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has decided that Coca-Cola’s line of VitaminWater drinks is not really vitaminy enough nor is it watery enough. Coke is being sued for deceptive and unsubstantiated claims via a class action lawsuit.
The drinks are positioned as a healthy alternative to soda and make claims including that its drinks variously reduce the risk of chronic disease, reduce the risk of eye disease, promote healthy joints, and support optimal immune function. Buzzwords like the “power of triple antioxidants to help keep you healthy and fight free radicals” and “it is definitely au naturel” are included.
Statements like that might make a buyer assume that the product is, I don’t know, filled with powerful antioxidents. And, I don’t know, healthy?
In reality, VitaminWater has a lot of added sugar (about the same as a can of soda) and contains between zero and less than 1 percent juice (depending on the flavor) thus doing more to promote obesity and diabetes than fix health problems.
Saying that a food is “natural” is meaningless when it comes to health. Both Salmonella bacteria and arsenic are natural but you wouldn’t want to drink them.
It gets sillier. The VitaminWater flavor “XXX Blueberry Pomegranate Acai,” for example, contains no blueberry, no pomegranate, and no acai juice. The other flavors lack their claimed namesake’s cranberry, grapefruit, dragon fruit, peach, mango, kiwi, or strawberry juice .
Okay, even if the nutrients listed are in the product that means nothing about the impact it may have on your health. “Vitamins + Water = all you need.” O rly? Recent studies show that the effects a nutrient may have in isolation do not match the effects when the same nutrient is combined synergistically with the other nutrients present in its original, raw, whole food form.
Bottom line it for me Doc, would ya? Sure, faithful blog reader! Thirsty and looking to avoid soda in favor of a healthier beverage? Great. VitaminWater isn’t it. How about just plain water? Want some antioxidants with it? Have a piece of fruit.
Dr. Brett L. Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY and is available most days for a drink but not VitaminWater because it’s silly.