Vitaminwater's Empty Calories Are at the Heart of What's Wrong with the Beverage Industry
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After the initial revelations, a confusing PR dance took place, essentially so that everyone could cover their butts, and Coke could continue to be the NCAA sponsor, etc.
Nevertheless, the NCAA had to admit that some Vitaminwater varieties can be problematic when drunk by student athletes, with "Energy" and "Rescue" containing "an ingredient or ingredients -- caffeine and guarana seed extract (a caffeine source) -- that are included on the NCAA's drug-testing list of banned substances." The NCAA places a limit on the amount of caffeine that can be found in the urine of a student-athlete.
So Let's Deconstruct the Contents of Vitaminwater
The NCAA confusion really got me thinking. Let's break down the ingredients and see just how "natural" Vitaminwater is. The first three ingredients listed on a bottle of Vitaminwater are: distilled, deionized and/or reverse-osmosis water, crystalline fructose and cane sugar.
So what is distilled, deionized and/or reverse-osmosis water? Turns out it is the same water you'd find in a bottle of Dasani, Coke's bottled water. Coca-Cola was outed in 2004 to admitting that Dasani was simply filtered tap water.
More specifically it is tap water that has been filtered through a distillation process, in which natural minerals have been removed, which can create a highly acidic condition in your body, leading to mineral deficiencies.
According to Dr. Zoltan Rona, MsC, a leading proponent of natural, harmless, health-building alternatives to conventional medical care, the more mineral loss, the greater the risk for osteoporosis, hyperthyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and a long list of degenerative diseases generally associated with premature aging.
Crystalline fructose? This sweetener can be more harmful to our health than that of the sugars and sweeteners, like the high-fructose corn syrup in a can of Coke. Why? Because where high-fructose corn syrup is a blend of 45 percent sucrose and 55 percent fructose, crystalline fructose is 98-100 percent fructose.
The body doesn't handle large amounts of fructose well. You can maintain life with intravenous glucose, but not with intravenous fructose; severe derangement of liver function results. There's also evidence that a high intake of fructose elevates levels of circulating fats (serum triglycerides), increasing the risk of heart disease.
But what about the vitamins in Vitaminwater? Here's the skinny on vitamins: According to Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University, most Americans are not vitamin-deficient.
In fact, vitamin E is the only surveyed vitamin Americans may generally need more of to meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). But vitamin E is only found in one-third of Vitaminwater drinks.
Nestle goes on to say that if you want to drink your additional Vitamin E, your body may not even absorb it given that it is a fat-soluble vitamin; thus it can only enter the bloodstream to carry out its function if it is dissolved in dietary fat, like that in a meal. That goes for all fat-soluble vitamins, which include vitamins A, D and K.
Water-soluble vitamins B and C easily enter the bloodstream with water, yet immediately flush right out of the system if not needed.
Another factor to be aware of is the difference between the total amount of calories and sugar per serving versus what's actually in a bottle of Vitaminwater.
There are 2 1/2 servings in a bottle of Vitaminwater, so instead of 50 calories and 13 grams of sugar (per serving), the bottle, as I mentioned above, provides you with 125 calories and 32.5 grams of sugar -- quite a load.