VitaminWater Sued Over Lack of Health Benefits


photo by Mica Photographs

Coca-Cola, the maker of VitaminWater, is being sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest over alleged deceptive marketing practices. Those practices include using buzzwords like "definitely au naturel" and "triple antioxidants" on the product's packaging. VitaminWater's incredibly obnoxious and hard-to-navigate website even claims that these miracle beverages can boost immunity or help your joints stay flexible. The marketing ploy has allegedly tricked consumers into purchasing VitaminWater for its "healthful benefits." Coke responded by calling the lawsuit "ridiculous."The Lawsuit Against VitaminWater
The CSPI argues that even the names of the beverages are deceptive. Endurance Peach Mango, Focus Kiwi Strawberry and others contain less than one percent juice. The drink that touts triple antioxidants ( xxx blueberry pomegranate acai ) contains around one percent juice made from three different types of "super-antioxidant" fruits.

From CPSI Newsroom


"When I bought VitaminWater, frankly I thought I was doing myself a favor health-wise," said the plaintiff, San Francisco, California, resident James Koh, who used to purchase and drink VitaminWater after working out at the gym. "I was attracted by the prospect of getting extra vitamins. But I had no idea that I was actually getting almost a Coke's worth of sugar and calories. There's no way I would have spent money on that, had I known."

VitaminWater Has Vitamins!
At least the name is apt. However, there is a catch. Americans consume more than the recommended amount of vitamins. The only vitamin they don't have enough of is E. Can VitaminWater help Americans imbibe more vitamin E?

From Scienceline

If you want to drink your additional vitamin E, there's a second caveat: your body may not absorb it. To understand why, it's important to know that vitamins can be divided into two groups: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Vitamin C and the B complex group are water-soluble and can easily enter the bloodstream with water. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. That means they can only enter the bloodstream to carry out their functions if they are dissolved in dietary fat, like that found in a meal. An Italian study published by the American Heart Association in 2001 showed that subjects who took vitamin E for two weeks on an empty stomach increased their vitamin E concentration in blood little or not at all, compared to an 84 percent increase in subjects who took the vitamin E supplement during dinner. So unless you prefer VitaminWater to wine with your meal, vitamins A and E will pass largely unused into your city's septic system.

What Does VitaminWater Have in it?
Sugar. Two heaping tablespoons full. There are 125 Calories in every twenty-ounce bottle. Still, that's fewer calories than regular soft drinks. By comparison, VitaminWater is healthy. A regular cheeseburger is healthier than a double cheeseburger. One punch in the face is better than two punches in the face.

Is VitaminWater GreenWashing?
From Aviva

Another problem is the artificial ingredients added to many of these vitamin waters. Most of them contained some form of sweetener which may be a synthetic one such as aspartame or sucralose. For some people, artificial sweeteners can cause digestive problems and other health related issues which may offset any potential vitamin water health benefits. Plus, most vitamin waters have some form of artificial coloring which may not be safe if consumed in high quantities. Some of these waters are also sweetened with high fructose corn syrup which has been shown to contribute to obesity and other potential health problems.


From Flavored Waters

Take Glacéau Vitaminwater Essential Orange Carrot. The label claims that it packs a "megadose of vitamins and minerals from A all the way through zinc." A closer look reveals that the $1.49 bottle delivers 100 calories but only between 2 percent and 50 percent of the daily value of 12 vitamins and minerals. Essentials, including folic acid and vitamin D and Bi, are missing, too.

From On Fitness with Katherine Hobson
Saying that a food is "natural" is meaningless when it comes to health. The salmonella bacteria currently poisoning people across the country is technically "natural," since it is alive and does indeed come from nature, but you wouldn't want to ingest it.

American Consumers Should Read Labels
In Coca-Cola's defense, they did put all the nutrition information on the bottle as demanded by the law. However, VitaminWater is a misleading name to give a beverage with over 32 grams of sugar. The lawsuit may not pan out.Whatever the legal outcome, it's probably a good thing that the CPSI has raised public awareness. Perhaps people will finally stop deluding themselves when they buy obviously fake health foods. If you want a healthy drink, may I suggest, I don't know, regular water?

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Tags: Bottled Water | Drinks | Greenwashing | United States