The Mindful Merchant

Shop – Eat – Live – Mindfully

Who’s thirsty? May 9, 2010

Filed under: children,greenwashing,health,shopping — MindfulMerchant @ 7:02 pm


XUP is a blog I read religiously…the Ex-Urban Pedestrian. No topic is off limits and the discussions that follow are lively.  It is smart, thoughtful, unpredictable, hilarious and always informative. If you have not read it – I encourage you to check it outXUP brought to my attention a product called VitaminWater and her concerns…thought the topic was right up my alley.


So today we made a trip down the beverage isle in the grocery store and I picked up a bottle of VitaminWater. My daughters jumped up and down clapping “Oooh, can we get it?  Can we?  Can we?” I asked them how they recognized this drink. “We’ve had it LOTS of times,” they informed me. Oh really? Hmmm. I read the ingredients and realized XUP was right…this is right up my alley.


It seems the kids have sampled VitaminWater a few times at birthday parties and after hockey games/practices. They also told me it was o.k. because they were “good for you” drinks. As I put the bottle back, I suggested that we do some investigating and look into the ingredients. “Awww,” my youngest said with a stomp for extra drama, “That’s never a good thing!”


images The drinks look appealing with vibrant colours and catchy flavour names. There are many days I sure could use some Endurance Peach Mango and Focus Kiwi Strawberry.  According to The Center for Science in the Public Interest, they contain 0-1% actual juice despite their inspiring names.


My kids say the drinks taste like Kool-Aid and Jello.  <Yes, they have sampled those products too.  Ugh.> 


There are 32.5 grams of sugar in each bottle of VitaminWater (FYI a can of Coke has 39 grams). American researchers feel that artificially sweetened beverages and those sweetened with sugar and high fructose corn syrups are the top cause of childhood obesity in America.


Vitamin fortified drinks sound promising but many of the vitamins we cannot process. For example, vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. They enter the blood stream through dietary fat. For optimum absorption, it is best to take them with a meal or they pass through your body with minimal effects. The bottom line is that vitamins in water are not as nutritious as vitamins found in food.


There are other brands of vitamin water on the market. If you are reaching for them as a healthy form of nutrition carefully read the ingredients.   I am going to think of them as a soft drink with a twist.   My daughter is right…most of the time I look into the ingredients of a product…it is disappointing. 


Oh, and a  little footnote -  Coca-Cola the manufacturer of VitaminWater is being sued by The Center for Science in the Public Interest for alleged deceptive marketing practices.




p.s. I removed the fructose & artifical colouring portion until I dig deeper on this nutritional information. Stay tuned! 🙂


19 Responses to “Who’s thirsty?”

  1. robin Says:

    Hmmph. More brighty-coloured sugar water. Good work Laura.

  2. meanie Says:

    it’s so crazy what what we put in our bodies. it’s kinda evil that it is even manufactured and pushed upon us.

  3. XUP Says:

    I’m soooo glad you tackled this topic. I didn’t do all the research you did, but I was so pissed off with the little I did track down. I find this sort of marketing dispicable. My daughter had been drinking this stuff, too thinking she was opting for a healthier drink — something good for her. And the labelling is definitely not clear. Bastards. I hope Coke gets their clocks cleaned in court.

  4. I have no issues with kids eating jello, drinking sugary drinks ON OCCASSION, but I hate that companies can package things that are bad for us in a way that suggests they are not. THere should definitely be standards for packaging so that we can all make informed choices. Way to go Laura for highlighting this. I’ve never heard of these drinks, but will be on the lookout.

  5. finolablog Says:

    This is very deceiving marketing. I would love it if Health Canada would classify these as drugs rather than foods (or beverages). The regulatory burden would then likely put them out of business.
    I knew these drinks were bad, but I didn’t realize just how bad until your post. Thanks for the great information!

  6. Pauline Says:

    It is so frustrating how many “healthy” beverages are not. I read that V8 has an extremely high sodium content, but they are trying to reduce that amount.

    • I haven’t tried V8, but I indulge in the occasional tomato-ee drinks (w/ vodka, cellery & tobasco sauce!) and you’re right…the sodium content in them is brutal. 😦

  7. XUP Says:

    They do make low sodium V8 now which is very reasonable. And if the potassium content is higher than the sodium, then apparantly it doesn’t matter how high the sodium is.

  8. kari carvey Says:

    As a mom and nutritionist, I have done some research on vitaminwater and have actually found the opposite to some of your findings:

    •vitaminwater is free of artificial colours and flavours, they come from natural fruit and vegetable juices – this is clearly stated on the label
    •In Canada vitaminwater is sweetened with cane sugar (also know as raw sugar), not crystalline fructose
    •The amount of sugar in a pop vs. a bottle of vitaminwater is actually not the same. A can of pop (355mL) has 39g of sugar and a bottle of vitaminwater (591mL) has 32 g of sugar

    I like vitaminwater as an option, especially because like many people, I get bored of tap water. I believe everything in moderation is key and if a product like vitaminwater helps people stay hydrated, then it’s a fine choice.

    • I will re-research the colouring and sugar issue…and amend if incorrect. All my research supported those ingredients…I have found nothing to dispute it – but I will absolutely dig deeper. As for the serving information, that is misleading. A bottle of vitamin water is actually considered 2 servings…but I do not believe there are many kids/teens or adults that look at a bottle and know they are supposed to only be drinking half.

      I agree, everything in moderation and if vitamin water is what you like – absolutely enjoy.

      Thanks for your note Kari and your professional opinion.

  9. XUP Says:

    One of the reasons I got suspicious of the vitamin water was because it tasted so much like Kool-Aid and was so sweet. 32 grams of sugar is still a hell of a lot of sugar — that’s the equivalent of two heaping tablespoons of sugar. Just because it’s less than regular soft drinks, and even though it might be cane sugar doesn’t make it good for you. I think that’s the crux of the problem with this product — that it advertises itself as something healthy & vitamin-rich. And it’s not. Just being less horrible than Coke isn’t much of a recommendation.

  10. Oh, man. I like to think of myself as an “educated consumer” but I’m embarrassed to admit that I was completely taken in by these Vitamin water drinks too. I would have thought that they would be much lower in sugar than a cola! I never even thought to check.

  11. […] because it just seemed too good to be true. And of course it was too good to be true. And then Mindful Merchant did some more research and did a blog post about this […]

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