Now that we know how vitamins and water work separately, let's take a look at what's in Vitaminwater.
It's important to keep in mind that Glacéau has listed one bottle of Vitaminwater as 2.5 servings. That means you would have to drink less than half a bottle to get what the numbers on the back say. If you drink the whole bottle, though -- which will probably be the case, since the bottles are fairly small -- you have to multiply each number by 2.5. Right away the packaging appears to be misleading.
Here are the nutrition facts and ingredients from a bottle of "charge" Vitaminwater:
The big red flag here is the amount of sugar. There are 13 grams of sugar in one serving, so an entire bottle contains about 32.5 grams of sugar. For the sake of comparison, a can of Coca-Cola Classic contains about 39 grams of sugar. Because the sugar found in Vitaminwater or Coke is made from a refining (or purifying) process, it contains no nutrients or vitamins beneficial to our health. It instead acts only as a source of energy -- once anything with sugar is ingested, the sugar skips digestion by passing through the stomach wall and raising blood sugar levels. Since your body is programmed to keep its blood sugar at a certain level, the pancreas secretes insulin to balance everything out.
The increase in insulin finally tips the scales, and your body's metabolism is disrupted. Metabolism is simply the process by which molecules in your body combine to create new material or break down to take in energy and release heat. This disruption of metabolism suppresses your immune system, making it easier to get sick or develop diseases.
On top of this, Vitaminwater also contains between 100 to 125 calories. Again, a can of Coke has 140 calories. If you're an athlete or exercise regularly, you can burn off those calories easily. If you don't get any exercise and continue to drink Vitaminwater, however, you're not being quite as healthy as Glacéau advertises -- you're only adding unnecessary substances to your body and potentially gaining more weight.
There are indeed a variety of vitamins in any flavor of Vitaminwater, but it seems the vitamins' benefits are offset by the effects of sugar. So, how can you get the right kinds of nutrients? The best thing to do is to drink regular water and get vitamins from a good source of fruits and vegetables. If you can't change your diet because of medical reasons, convenience or availability, a wide range of vitamin supplements are available in pill or liquid form.
For lots more information on vitaminwater, nutrition and related topics, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- BEVNET. "Glaceau VitaminWater Nutrition Facts & Ingredients." http://www.bevnet.com/reviews/glaceauvitamin/facts.asp
- NewsTarget.com. "Americans spend $750 million a year on energy drinks, but health care professionals doubt their usefulness." http://www.newstarget.com/006492.html
- PEERtrainer. "Coca-Cola Classic Calories and Nutrition Facts." http://www.peertrainer.com/DFcaloriecounterB.aspx?id=6841
- Somer, Elizabeth. "The truth behind the latest nutrition trends." MSNBC.com. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14027480/page/2/
- The Vitamins & Nutrition Center. http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org/
- Vitamins Information Center. http://www.cyber-north.com/vitamins/index.html
- White Junod, Suzanne. "Sugar: A Cautionary Tale." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/oc/history/makinghistory/sugar.html