Beware of Vitamin Water Health Claims

by Bob Curley on August 30, 2010

No consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater is a healthy beverage: That’s the Coca-Cola company’s stated position in defending a lawsuit over alleged health claims about their vitamin-fortified products, the Huffington Post reported Aug. 5.

Author John Robbins said that so-called vitamin water “is basically sugar-water, to which about a penny’s worth of synthetic vitamins have been added. And the amount of sugar is not trivial. A bottle of vitaminwater contains 33 grams of sugar, making it more akin to a soft drink than to a healthy beverage.”

Robbins agrees with the premise of the lawsuit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which contends that Coca-Cola has marketed vitaminwater as a healthy product. “How many people with weight problems have consumed products like vitaminwater in the mistaken belief that the product was nutritionally positive and carried no caloric consequences?” he wrote. “How many have thought that consuming vitaminwater was a smart choice from a weight-loss perspective? The very name ‘vitaminwater’ suggests that the product is simply water with added nutrients, disguising the fact that it’s actually full of added sugar.”

Robbins suggested that people who need to hydrate just drink plain water. “If you want to flavor the water you drink, try adding the juice of a lemon and a small amount of honey or maple syrup to a quart of water. Another alternative is to mix one part lemonade or fruit juice to three or four parts water. Or drink green tea, hot or chilled, adding lemon and a small amount of sweetener if you like. If you want to jazz it up, try one-half fruit juice, one-half carbonated water.”