Water from the faucet is just so boring and un-cool. But is Vitamin Water, with its kaleidoscope of colors, trendy names like “endurance,” “power-c” and “vital-t” and celebrity-driven advertising really a better choice? Vitamin water is pitched by Jennifer Aniston, LeBron James, 50 Cent, Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal, among others.
Vitamin Water’s parent company, Glaceau, (owned by Coca-Cola), markets Vitamin water by promoting its supposed nutritional benefits, urging consumers to “hydrate responsibly. “ Is there really any nutritional substance behind all the marketing sizzle?
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) doesn’t think so. CSPI has filed a class-action lawsuit against Coca- Col for making what it says are deceptive and unsubstantiated claims on its Vitamin Water beverages. The suit alleges that Vitamin Water’s website, marketing copy, and labels inaccurately claim that Vitamin Water is healthy, saying, for example, that “balance cran-grapefruit” has “bioactive components” that promote “healthy, pain-free functioning of joints, structural integrity of joints and bones” and that the nutrients in “power-c dragonfruit” “enable the body to exert physical power by contributing to the structural integrity of the musculoskeletal system.”
But let’s look at the nutrition label on a bottle of Vitaminwater. How does Vitaminwater compare to to soft drinks like Coke and thirst-quenchers like orange juice?
At the outset, one 20 oz. bottle of Vitamin water has 2 and ½ servings. That means you would have to gulp down less than half the bottle to get the nutrition benefits (and calories) on the label. At the outset, one 20 oz. bottle of Vitamin water has 2 and ½ servings. That means you would have to gulp down less than half the bottle to get the nutrition benefits (and calories) on the label If you’re thirsty, and down the whole bottle, then you have to multiply each number on the label by 2.5. Here are the nutrition facts and ingredients from a bottle of “charge” Vitaminwater:
Serving Size 8 fl oz; Servings per Container 2.5
Calories 50 Total Fat 0 g. Sodium 0 mg. Total Carbohydrate 13 g. Total Sugar 13 g. Protein 0 g. Vitamin C 60%; Vitamin B3 10%; Vitamin B6 10%; Vitamin B12 10%; Vitamin B5 10%, Zinc 10%, Potassium 60 mgs. Ingredients: vapor distilled/deionized water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, vegetable juice (color), natural flavor, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), natural flavor, vitamin E acetate, magnesium lactate (elecrolyte), calcium lactate (electrolyte), zinc picolinate, monopotassium phosphate (electrolyte), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), cyanocobalamine (B12).
As an electrolyte replacement drink, Vitamin Water compares poorly to brewed coffee, which provides 124 mgs. of Potassium per 6 oz. serving. Orange juice is a better choice than both, providing 450 mgs. of Potassium per 8 oz. serving, 3 times as much Potassium as a whole 20 oz. bottle of Vitamin Water. That same glass of orange juice provides 130% of the RDA of Vitamin C, Vitamin B3 10%; Vitamin B6 10%; Vitamin B12 10%; Vitamin B5 10% and Zinc 10%. If you choose calcium and Vitamin D fortified orange juice, you’ll obtain these additional nutrients as well. And then there’s the cost factor. Amazon sells Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice with Calcium and Vitamin D, No Pulp, 128 oz. for $6.79. That’s about 40 cents per 8 oz. serving. Amazon also offers a 6-pack of “revive” Vitamin Water — 20 oz. for $18.00. That’s $1.20 per 8 oz. serving.
Vitamin Water does have fewer calories and sugar than orange juice (110 calories and 22 grams of sugar per 8 oz. serving) but less vitamin C, potassium and other nutrients. And Vitamin Water is non-carbonated and does have fewer calories and sugars compared to Coke:
27 g. sugar per 8 fl oz.
97 calories per 8 fl oz.
13 g. sugar per 8 fl oz.
50 calories per 8 fl oz.
But if you’re looking to replace electrolytes after a grueling workout, orange juice is the better beverage option. Don’t agree? Leave a comment below.