I have a little theory that I have carried with me for quite some time, and it is based on the fact that if something tastes really, really good, then it probably isn’t so great for you.
Since Glacéau came out with VitaminWater Zero, it seems too good to be true: a tasty beverage that is not only packed with vitamins and electrolytes to help replenish your body, but tastes halfway decent AND has NO calories? I can’t help but have doubts, but first thing’s first….
The particular VitaminWater Zero (pictured above) that I’ve been sipping on recently contains the following ingredients:
- reverse osmosis water
- less than 1% of: rebiana (stevia extract) & crystalline fructose and erythritol (natural sweeteners)
- magnesium lactate
- calcium lactate
- potassium phosphate (electrolyte sources)
- natural flavors
- citric acid
- vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- vitamin B5 (calcium pantothenate)
- vitamin B3 (niacinamide)
- vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrocholoride)
- vitamin B12
- beta carotene
Click to Enlarge
One of the main problems with people’s diets is that they seldom take the time to really look at the labels on certain products. This is America, so we want the quickest fix to everything; and if there is a product out there that comes in a neat looking package and claims to be healthy, then who are we to question it? So what if it has a couple of things on the label that we can’t pronounce- the vast majority of the other nutritional ingredients are recognizable, right?
As it turns out, there are a couple of ingredients on the label that have brought up recent debates over whether or not VitaminWater Zero is as healthy as it claims to be. The ingredients in question are highlighted above in red and are:
Erythritol- This is a type of sugar alcohol. However, contrary to it’s name, it is comprised of neither sugar nor alcohol. Some of you may already recognize the warning here when you realize that this is a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are usually combined with low-cal or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and crystalline fructose (to name a few) and provide fewer calories than actual sugar because they are not totally absorbed by your body. This usually results in adverse symptoms such as diarrhea, headaches and stomachaches. It is also the reason why companies are supposed to label their products with a warning.
Crystalline Fructose– To the average person who is trying to eat healthier, grabbing a bottle of VitaminWater may seem like a dream come true. If anything, it’s just some flavored water with some extra vitamins and minerals thrown in, right? In actuality though, there is more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in one bottle. Digest that for a minute. Based on recent research, if you see a beverage containing the word “fructose” in it, it’s probably best to avoid it. Especially where crystalline fructose in VitaminWater is concerned, Dr. Mercola reveals:
Whereas regular high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose, crystalline fructose is at minimum 99 percent fructose, which could only mean that all the health problems associated with fructose may be even more pronounced with this product [source]
What’s the Solution?
Labels are produced with one focus in mind: to get a product sold. Each year, companies dump millions of dollars into advertising campaigns, pulling in the best graphic designers and marketing gurus to create an “image” for a product that looks really great, but this doesn’t always mean that it is going to be good for you.
While it would be great if there was a ‘magic beverage’ that promised to make us skinnier or reduce our risk for chronic desease, there is no substitute for a naturally healthy diet. When you shop at the supermarket, shop the perimeter of the store- you know- the areas where you pick up products and automatically know how to pronounce all of the ingredients. Shop fresh; shop local and shy away from unprocessed foods. And if you’re thirsty after an intense workout and you’re thinking that a beverage “packed with vitamins” is going to cut it, think again. Instead, grab a couple of glasses of water and make sure you eat something that is nutritionally packed with the vitamins you need. Your body will thank you.