Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Health Food Impostors - Vitamin Water

Vitamin. The word just makes you feel healthy doesn't it? It makes you want to tie those shoe laces extra tight and go bounding out of your front door at 6am in the morning to break in those never worn Reeboks and sweat out that McValue meal you ate last night. It makes you think that any item in the grocery store that displays the word must be good for you and sees you throwing them in your shopping cart faster than Bravo can release another Real Housewife series. But did you know that one of these so called "healthy" products can contain nearly as much sugar as a can of soda, and even more than a slice of chocolate cake?

Yes I'm talking about Vitamin Water. The product that has been heavily marketed as a health drink over the past few years, and marketed so effectively that you see people guzzling them after they hop off the treadmill, consuming them after an hour long spin class, and buying them in bulk at the supermarket to stock in their refrigerators to have on hand as a substitute for those unhealthy sodas. But I'm here to shed some light and advise you that these "healthy drinks" are nothing more than sugary water, and if you do guzzle one after exercise, you have basically derailed all the hard work and effort you have just put into burning those calories.

Vitamin Water is part of the Glaceau Company (owned by Coca-Cola), and in my efforts to find nutritional information on the product from their website, I was directed to their Facebook fan page where there was nothing more than fluffy marketing posts. After some searching I eventually found the information on a beverage distribution webpage. You see Glaceau has a good reason for not having nutritional information on their site, because they know that consumers rarely turn the bottle over and look at what's in the product, and they would hate the public to know their healthy water is about as healthy as sucking on a lollipop.

Lets take a look at the nutrition (or lack of nutrition) facts:

Serving size: 8 fl oz
Servings per container: 2.5
Amount per serving: Calories: 50
Total fat: 0g
Sodium: 0 mg
Total carbohydrates: 13g
Sugar: 13g
Protein: 0g

The above is what you see when you turn the bottle around, and as a consumer you might be forgiven for thinking that 13 grams of sugar isn't that bad... and it's not that bad, but take a look at the amount of servings per container; 2.5. Yep that's right, so you need to almost triple the calories and sugar to get the exact amount of what you are getting in the whole bottle, because who only drinks two fifths of the bottle? That takes the total amount of calories up to 125, and the amount of sugar to a whopping 32.5 grams giving you a big insulin spike and causing your body to hold onto your fat tighter than Aretha holds onto her Cheetos.

How much is 32.5 grams of sugar exactly? It's roughly around 8 teaspoons of sugar. If it sounds like a lot, that's because it is.  Lets put it in even more perspective...

Product                                      Sugar
Fruit Loops                                   16 grams
Twizzlers (4 pieces)                      19 grams
Krispy Kreme Chocolate                21 grams
Kit Kat                                         22 grams
Hershey's Kisses (9 pieces)          24 grams
Chocolate Cake (1 slice)               30 grams
Mountain Dew                              31 grams
Starbucks Tall Frappucino             32 grams
Vitamin Water                             32.5 grams
Coca Cola                                    39 grams
Cinnabon Roll                               55 grams

So not only is Vitamin Water bad for you, its fat for you as well. Consuming one bottle of per day equates to roughly 10 chocolate glazed Krispy Kremes in one week. If that's not enough to make you spit it out, then I don't know what will... oh hang on, yes I do; how about if you drink just one bottle a day, you could be putting on 13 pounds of fat per year? It's true and It will send you down to the tailor to get all those short shorts let out and see you donating that tight Abercrombie t-shirt you bought in winter in preparation of summer to the Good Will donation box.

So what should you drink after exercise? Well, in my opinion you can't beat good old-fashioned mother nature's answer to hydration - water. But I understand that not everyone can stomach the plain and boring taste and some people prefer to throw back something with electrolytes, so go for a low sugar protein shake and add your own fruit, or consume some coconut water. There are a ton of new ready-to-drink coconut waters on the market these days, and they can contain more potassium than a banana and over 10 times the amount of electrolytes than traditional sports energy drinks, but without the nasty chemicals and large amounts of sugar. Now, If you don't want to take my word for it, news is Madonna has invested a reported 1.5 million dollars into new coconut water company Vita-Coco. She has previously brought cowboys hats and the geisha look back into fashion, maybe coconut water is going to be the next big thing?

So if your quest is for healthy living, or simply to lose a few pounds, it's important to know what you are really eating and drinking, and it's a simple as turning the product over and taking a look at the nutrition label. Don't be fooled by health food impostors and don't believe everything you read as being "healthy" or all those hours you spend exercising will be as about pointless as the next season of a Kardashian family reality show.

Healthy Boy x


  1. Excellent post!

    I've been an athlete all my life and I used to despise water. So much so that I in fact did walk around perpetually dehydrated. When I did drink it was something equally as bad a the hidden facts behind Vitamin Water.

    In recent years, though I'm still active the aging process has taken effect. Those lovely 40's... and I started to build a little tire around me. Yikes. I found out more activity wasn't the answer.

    It turned out to be really simple. Water. Learn to like water. Now it is my choice and it makes a difference in how I look AND how I feel!

    Wag more!

  2. I worked for a very large sports beverage company based in Chicago and they definitely believe in the value and healthfulness of their products, and I think perhaps those drinks do have a time and a place but not for weekend warriors. Sometimes we give ourselves too much credit for thinking healthy, but not really being so.

  3. There is Vitamin Water now with stevia instead of sugar. Did you check into that?

  4. Those sugar values for Coke and Mt Dew are very misleading. 8 oz of Vitamin Water has 13 grams of sugar, 8 oz of Mt Dew has 31. Over twice as much sugar in the same amount of drink, yet your chart claims Mt Dew has less sugar.

  5. Dear Anonymous, thats because you are not looking at the serving size. As you can see from my article, and if you look at the servings size on the bottle, you wills see that 13 grams of sugar is for 1 serving size. There are 2.5 servings in a bottle, taking the sugar count to 32.5 grams.

    Healthy Boy x

  6. Thank you so much Healthy Boy - even though I like Vitamin Water (sold for the colours) but I actually don't drink it. But thank you for pointing this out to us.


You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...