by Dr. Mercola
If you look at the ingredients of VitaminWater 10 (owned by Coca Cola), you might be pleased to see that it contains the natural sweetener stevia. However, you will also notice that it is loaded with crystalline fructose, sucrose, and a mysterious product called Erythritol.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, a sweetener that does not provide as many calories as sugar. But the reason that sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar is because they are not completely absorbed into your body. For this reason, high intakes of foods containing sugar alcohols can lead to abdominal gas and diarrhea.
Also, bear in mind that while sugar alcohols are lower in calories, gram for gram, than sugar, they are not calorie-free, and if eaten in large enough quantities, the calories can be comparable to sugar-containing foods.
Some sugar alcohols are reasonable to consume in moderate quantities — for example, xylitol doesn’t spike blood sugar levels in the way that high-fructose corn syrup might, and it is anti-bacterial and actually helps prevent dental cavities.
As you may remember, Coca-Cola was actually sued just a few months ago in a class-action lawsuit that contends the VitaminWater line is being illegally promoted as a healthy product.
And rightfully so.
The more you start investigating the list of ingredients in these beverages, the more you’ll realize you’re doing your body a great disservice falling for the illusion they’ve created. Because what you’re really drinking is something that resembles soda, rather than “water with vitamins.”
But VitaminWater has a couple of potentially hazardous ingredients that many soda’s don’t even have.
Nearly as ridiculous are the new diet waters. This concept was so crazy I actually did a video on this two and a half years ago. Since I shot that video there are many more products on the market that are actually “diet water.”
But let’s get back to Coke’s version of a ridiculous beverage, VitaminWater.
Danger # 1: Crystalline Fructose
The average person picking up a bottle of VitaminWater would easily think this is simply flavored water with added vitamins and minerals, which sounds like a good thing in theory.
But what you really get is 33 grams — more than six teaspoons — of sugar, including crystalline fructose.
I recently began warning about this new variety of fructose, which may be even worse for your health than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
While many people mistakenly believe that fructose is an acceptable form of sweetener, it is far from healthy. Refined man-made fructose metabolizes to triglycerides and adipose tissue, not blood glucose. One major downside of this is that fructose does not stimulate your insulin secretion, nor enhance leptin production.
Together, insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat, and several studies have linked dietary fructose to increased food intake and weight gain.
Additionally, fructose is also known to significantly raise your triglycerides, which puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.
Based on the latest research, crystalline fructose is definitely something you’ll want to avoid as much as possible.Whereas regular 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.
And if that’s not bad enough, crystalline fructose may also contain arsenic, lead, chloride and heavy metals.
So in no way, shape or form is VitaminWater something I’d consider healthy. As litigation director Steve Gardner of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) previously stated:
“Coke fears, probably correctly, that they’ll sell less soda as Americans become increasingly concerned with obesity, diabetes, and other conditions linked to diets too high in sugar.
VitaminWater is Coke’s attempt to dress up soda in a physician’s white coat. Underneath, it’s still sugar water, albeit sugar water that costs about ten bucks a gallon.”
The deceptive maneuvering of VitaminWater is a good reminder of the importance of reading labels and not swallowing snazzy slogans hook line and sinker. Anytime you opt to buy any kind of processed food or beverage, make sure to flip it over and read the ingredients for yourself, regardless of how healthy it appears at first glance.
Concern # 1: Erythritol
Sugar alcohols (also known as polyols) like erythritol are regulated as either GRAS or food additives. Despite the name, sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol.
They vary in sweetness from about half as sweet as sugar to equally as sweet. They’re frequently combined with other low-calorie or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, or as in the case of VitaminWater, crystalline fructose.
The reason sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar is because they are not completely absorbed in your body. However, this fact has certain drawbacks, none of which are good.
High intakes of foods containing sugar alcohols can lead to adverse physical symptoms like abdominal gas and diarrhea. Some polyols are clearly worse than others. Sorbitol or mannitol-containing foods, for example, are so potent they must display a warning on their label stating “excess consumption may have a laxative effect.”
But erythritol may offer an explanation to the many reports of ill after-effects from drinking VitaminWater, such as:
What are Your Best Sources for Vitamins and Fluids?
One of your best bet for your primary fluid replacement is just pure water, without the fancy trappings. Your body does not need anything added to the water to make it any “healthier” than it already is. Even better would be water juiced from vegetables, as that water is highly structured and full of biophotons and other important phytonutrients.
Remember, the food industry spends about $40 billion a year on advertising, with the intention of brainwashing you to believe that junk food is in some way good for you and your kids. And the beverage industry is part of that pack.
And as far as vitamins are concerned, please remember that no vitamin supplement can ever compensate for a poor diet.
So if you want to get all of the great health benefits that VitaminWater promises — reduced risk of chronic disease, more energy, a healthier immune system and so on – you simply have to start paying attention to what you’re eating.
Proper nutrition is actually rather simple. Focusing on eating unprocessed, organic and locally grown foods that are best suited to your nutritional type will put you squarely on the path of optimal health and longevity.
Now, as a complement to your diet, a multivitamin can be beneficial, but not in the synthetic forms used in most energy drinks, flavored beverages and vitamin pills on the market.
Your body will only absorb and process the nutrients properly if the vitamins come in a natural whole food form, which is the only type I recommend taking.