Does Vitamin Water Live Up to It’s Hype?
Bottled-drink manufacturers are always looking for the next big new thing. And with good reason. There’s clearly a lot of money at stake. In 2012, for example, Americans shelled out a stunning $12 billion for bottled water alone. Water. You know, the stuff that falls from the sky? Twelve. Billion. Dollars.
And that’s not even counting the billions spent on beverages that consist of primarily water, with a few additives, such as artificial dyes, sweeteners, and other “flavorings”. Don’t even get me started on bottled water sales. Say nothing of the plastic waste being generated by Americans’ obsession with paying too much for water. And never mind hormone-disrupting chemicals leeching out of those plastic bottles and into the very “pristine” water people are paying for. I’m most concerned about the waste. Of valuable food/beverage dollars.
According to a recent article in Slate.com, Americans are routinely paying 300 times more for bottled water versus simple tap water. Three hundred times! It’s like the perfect scam. If someone described it like the plot of a movie you’d laugh in their face. Convince people to pay for something that falls from the sky for free? And reap ludicrously high profits doing it? Absurd. You’d never believe anyone would suspend disbelief long enough to buy it. Yet, that’s what millions of Americans are doing every single day.
Stop a shopper in the grocery and he or she is likely to tell you that they’d like to buy organic produce, but it’s simply too expensive. They’re usually lugging around a case or two of bottled water. Imagine the money they could save by drinking tap water—filtered if necessary—and storing it in a reusable, BPA-free steel or glass container.
And then there are soft drinks, sport drinks, vitamin water, energy drinks, and all the rest. Savvy consumers are concerned about excess sugar, and especially fructose, contained in soft drinks. And they’ve been turning away from these products in droves. It hasn’t helped Big Drink’s bottom line, either, that concerned nutrition experts like me are increasingly sounding the alarm about artificial sweeteners. Even so-called “diet” sodas are bad for your health, according to mounting evidence, so smart consumers are curtailing their consumption of these products, too.
But just when you think you’re making headway, helping guide Americans away from empty calories and metabolism-wrecking drinks, the industry comes up a new ploy to part consumers and their hard-earned dollars.
Take vitamin water. Please. Preferably, take it and throw it away.
Vitamin water sounds beneficial, doesn’t it? But is it really? According to research published recently in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, the answer is “no”. “While our findings suggest that consumers stand to reap little or no benefit from the nutrient additions in novel beverages,” said Naomi Drachner, of the University of Toronto, “most products were being marketed as if they provided a unique benefit to the consumer through the nutrient additions.”
Naomi Drachner, Rena Mendelson, Jocelyn Sacco, Valerie Tarasuk. An examination of the nutrient content and on-package marketing of novel beverages. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2015; 1 DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2014-0252