Water is water. It’s as boring and plain as it can get. But entrepreneurs saw the opportunity to turn H2O into a beverage with enhanced flavors, powered by electrolytes, vitamins and minerals and call it ‘vitamin water’. This new formula has been marketed as something much healthier than plain water itself – but is it really? Surprisingly, the answer is no.
Vitamin Water Gaining Popularity
Bonnie Liebman works at the Center for Science as a nutrition expert and consumer advocate. He believes that the false claims attached to vitamin and electrolyte enhanced water are simply used as a marketing gimmick by the companies to boost sales, but none of the claims have any solid backing from science.
It’s interesting to know that the vitamin water business is quite profitable because people actually buy it with the assumption that it’s good for their health. Just last year, the sale of vitamin water bottles in the U.S. increased by 6%, with the water companies pocketing $15 billion in revenue.
It’s evident that people are buying into the idea that vitamin water is actually better for them than regular water – and it is costing them more than they think.
Electrolytes are Great for You but…
Some of the most popular ‘healthy’ waters out there such as Vitaminwater and Lifewtr are actually created by the beverage giants who pioneered unhealthy sugary drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi – and now they’re claiming a stake in the water industry.
On the surface, it seems like these vitamin water bottles are packed with all the good stuff like vitamins, minerals and electrolytes which are important for your body to function properly. But on a closer look, you’ll see that none of the additives in vitamin water have any health benefits.
For example, most companies try to sell their consumers the idea that electrolytes are really good for them – which they are. But, there aren’t nearly enough electrolytes in a bottle of water to actually make a difference in your body. Instead, they are simply used as flavor enhancers to make the water taste good.
Do You Really Need That Many Nutrients?
Nutritionists say that people get most of the nutrients they require from their diet but too much of a good thing can actually be bad for you. Vitamins are often associated with good health, which is why you would see health conscious folks carrying a bottle of overpriced vitamin water, thinking that they’re getting the value for their money – which they’re not.
Even health centers promote the consumption of vitamin water during or after exercise which is why you would often find refrigerators at your local gym filled with this seemingly healthy beverage. In reality, there is no scientific evidence that exceeding you daily recommendation of vitamins enhances health or performance.
Alice Lichtenstein, a nutrition professor and director of cardiovascular nutrition lab says that she is yet to find any compelling evidence which proves that drinking vitamin water is actually beneficial for you – apart from the hydrating aspect of it, which you can get from regular water anyway for a much lower cost.
Banned from Using Misleading Advertisements
Courts around the country are also becoming aware of the unethical practices of these vitamin water companies which cannot really live up to any of the promises or health claims they make though advertisements. Even beverage giants like Coca Cola, the maker of Vitaminwater, have faced lawsuits over false claims.
In 2015, courts in New York and California banned the company from making claims that the antioxidants in their vitamin water can actually lower the risk of chronic diseases and support metabolic function. The company has made numerous other false claims such as improved functioning of joints as well as better immune system – none of which have an ounce of truth in them.
Now the companies are putting more focus in selling claims related to improved focus and energy on the label in a very vague language which is considered acceptable by the FDA. When Coca Cola was asked to make a statement on how their mineral water is beneficial for improving energy and focus, as claimed by their marketing campaign, they vaguely responded that the water has a unique combination of nutrients – especially vitamin B and C – which can improve performance and energy. No research has been done to test this claim so far.