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Coke: Wait, People Thought Vitaminwater Was Good for You? (Video)

Health & Wellness  (tags: americans, children, COKE, diet, disease, drugs, exercise, food, government, health, humans, investigation, medicine, prevention, research, risks, safety, society, study, Vitamin Water, warning )

- 1975 days ago -
In light of Coca-Cola's much-discussed attempt to place itself at the vanguard in the fight against obesity--it's worth taking look at its line of "enhanced waters," known as Glacéau vitaminwater.

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 7:39 am
(Photo Credit:

***See 2 Videos at VISIT SITE - one from Stephen Colbert ***

In light of Coca-Cola's much-discussed attempt to place itself at the vanguard in the fight against obesity—see video above—it's worth taking look at its line of "enhanced waters," known as Glacéau vitaminwater. You could be forgiven for thinking the product is a life-giving nectar. The made-up word Glacéau evokes the purity of glaciers. Vitamins are essential nutrients. And water is an unimpeachable ingredient.

Coca-Cola's marketing encourages the healthy image. According vitaminwater's website, the Power -C flavor of vitaminwater delivers "zinc and vitamin C to power your immune system"; while the XXX offers "antioxidant vitamins to help fight free radicals and help support your body." And so on.

But not everyone's convinced that vitaminwater does a body good. Back in 2009, the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued Coca-Cola for making "deceptive and unsubstantiated" health claims about the products. In 2010, a US federal district court judge rejected Coca-Cola's motion to dismiss the suit (document here), noting that Coke's lawyers had made a remarkable argument: "At oral argument defendants suggested that no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage."

In other words, no one actually believes our flashy marketing—it's obviously nonsense. The vitaminwater suit still hasn't been resolved, a CSPI spokesperson informed me. And hilarity over Coca-Cola's cynical defense strategy is ongoing, too. Stephen Colbert spoofed it just this week:
(Stephen Colbert Video at VISIT SITE)

And I think Coke's obesity campaign should be read in the same light: No consumer should be misled into thinking that the sugary-beverage giant (its heavily marketed array of "diet" products nothwithstanding) has been transformed into an obesity-fighting machine. Or, as New York University dietician Marion Nestle put it on her Food Politcs blog, "Coca-Cola fights obesity? Oh, please."

Just for fun, I checked out the ingredients of "orange-orange"-flavored vitaminwater, which are remarkably similar to the other 11 flavors (also listed in that link). Here they are :

Reverse osmosis water, crystalline fructose, cane sugar, less than 0.5% of: citric acid, magnesiumlactate and calcium lactate and potassium phosphate (electrolyte sources), natural flavors, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), gum acacia, vitamin B3 (niacinamide), vitamin E (alpha-tocopheryl acetate), vitamin B5 (calcium pantothenate), glycerol ester of rosin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B12, beta-carotene, modified food starch, sorbitol.

So, it contains less than 0.5 percent of a whole list of stuff (none of which has anything to do with this particular flavor's namesake fruit, the orange), and thus at least 99.5 percent water, crystalline fructose, and sugar. Crystalline fructose, it turns out, is an even more processed version of high-fructose corn syrup—it provides a pure jolt of fructose. "Cane sugar" is about half fructose and half glucose. There's a growing body of literature, described ably by Gary Taubes in his 2011 New York Times Magazine piece "Is Sugar Toxic," suggesting that refined sweeteners, and in particular their fructose component, are driving a range of health problems including diabetes. Recently, UCLA researchers have found evidence that "a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning." And then there's the emerging suspicion that diets high in refined sweeteners can trigger Alzheimer's disease. In a 2012 Mother Jones piece, Taubes and Cristin Kearns Couzens showed how the sugar industry has worked hard over the decades to suppress and downplay such research.

So what Coke is passing off as "enhanced water" is mostly just sugar water; or as CSPI has put it, "vitamins + water + sugar + hype = soda - bubbles." Granted, there's less sugar in vitaminwater (19 grams per 12 oz.) than in, say, Coca-Cola classic (39 grams per 12 oz.). But it's still pretty sugary.

What about the other 0.5 percent of vitaminwater—the vitamin part? It includes electrolytes—the stuff found in sports drinks. It turns out that electrolyte-laden drinks are mostly hype. As for all those vitamins, there's little or no evidence that vitamin supplements do much to improve health. "We have an enormous body of data telling us that plant-rich diets are very healthy," Josephine Briggs, head of the National Institute of of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine told The Wall Street Journal in 2011. "As soon as we take these various antioxidants [and other nutrients] out and put them in a pill, we're not consistently getting a benefit."

In other words, you're much better off getting your vitamins from whole foods than from sugary drinks.

What, then, is vitaminwater good for? Well, it does seem to provide good profit margins for its maker. At Staples, you can pick up an assorted 12-pack of assorted 20-oz. vitaminwaters for $19.99. That's about 8 cents per ounce. Another form of Coca-Cola-produced sugar water, Coca-Cola Classic, fetches $11.99 for a 24-pack of 12-oz. cans at Staples. That's about 4 cents per oz. So Coke gets about twice as much for its vitaminwater as it does for its flagship product.

Say what you want about Coke's marketing of vitaminwater and its anti-obesity rhetoric, but its business sense is impeccable.
****See VIDEOS and links at VISIT SITE ****

By: Tom Philpott | Mother Jones |


Sue H (7)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 11:06 am
Consumers need to Revolt, not just blindly accept false advertising!

Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 11:50 am

Stop buying junk foods - which as it turns out is not just chips or candy, but food-like items we once thought something that might be good for us.

Nancy M (169)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 2:34 pm
Every should become an ingredient reader. I had already known this about these waters because I read the label.

Whatever happened to plain old water water. Tap water is at least as good if not better than plain bottled water.

Ness F (211)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 3:01 pm
I remember when this first hit the shelves here in Australia and was of course heavily advertised...I just laughed, just another sugar bomb! as we call it! Common sense prevails..
Sue H, I agree!!!!

Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 3:02 pm

Just one more of many sugary treats that lead far too many on a path to that once rare disease of diabetes.

Ness F (211)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 3:17 pm
So true Kit and many other health related diseases, and as Nancy said you have to read labels!!!!! Companies pray you don't as you quickly go through the aisles, or whip into the petrol station and grab a the marketing behind these products is a business unto itself..HUGE..eye level for kids due to pretty colours etc etc.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 4:26 pm
Nancy- if you live in an area where that is still true, consider yourself lucky! I do and I'm lucky, and water is-apart from coffee and tea-the only beverage I ever drink. Our water quality is excellent, so fortunate to say!
Thx Kit. And yes, what are your eyes for ?!!

Gysele van Santen (213)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 5:31 pm
Vitamin Water lol YUCK. just no.

Vicky P (476)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 5:49 pm
I like the stuff so it's sad that they lied but I didn't really drink it for that in the first place, it has some vitamins and it's a bit better than drinking something carbonated

Sherry Coleman (71)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 6:34 pm
a superfluous drink

Lynn Squance (235)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 1:20 am
Just looking at those coloured bottles lined up reminds me of a brand new box of Laurentian coloured pencils.

As a diabetic, I am so accustomed to reading labels that when I first read the label I burst out laughing. I had more than a few pairs of eyes looking in my direction to see what the commotion was!

Coke is trading on the fitness meme. It is using the word 'vitamin' to convince the uneducated and unknowing public into buying something it does not and should not need. Even some nutritionists will say you don't need to supplement your diet with vitamin supplements. Although the nutritionist/dieticians I see at my diabetes education centre say supplements do help, especially when diets are somewhat limitd.

Daniel Partlow (179)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 5:43 am
How ridiculous. I don't drink sodas or other bottled beverages anymore. I can't stand the diet varieties either. Good old water and pure fruit juice for me. If I want vitamins I eat veggies, and fruits and perhaps some vitamin D as I can't have milk. Too much artificial crap out there and too much plastic packing to present it. Small wonder our planet is being polluted to death and our bodies as well!!

paul m (93)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 6:02 am


pam w (139)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 6:58 am
A study of So. California oceans revealed vitamin traces in fish which live in our waters.



If you eat a balanced diet....VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS AREN'T NEEDED!

Those drinks are just an excuse for sucking sugar-water!

Bruno Moreira (61)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 7:32 am

Nancy M (169)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 8:11 am
The legal requirments for tap water in the US are higher than for bottled water. In fact, mush bottled water is actually from the tap. Thus tap water is at least as good (in the US) as bottled water.

Of course,municipal tap water quality does very from municiplaity to municipality so I won't claim that it is all excellent.

Kit B (276)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 8:26 am

Not everyone can or does eat a balanced diet, many do not even know what that means. That some supplements are used does not cause harm, most that are not needed by the body are tossed off as waste.

Every city has requirements for their water and each citizen should be aware of the amount of chemicals in their water. I haven't heard of any municipality that adds sugar or any form of sugar to treat fresh water.

Drink water, it's clean and healthy - your body needs water.

Nancy M (169)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 8:53 am
True about the sugar.

Every municipality is supposed to send out water quality information every year as well. Check your own water. It may be great.

Kit B (276)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 8:57 am

Very true Nancy and as far as I know that chart (as mine is) will give a list of everything in the local water as parts per billion - look it up, use it as a guide.

Drink water.

Craig Pittman (52)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 9:03 am
Exactly right Pam and we sure as hell don't need Coke in any of its forms either. The ad is amazing in its audacity.
Thanks very much for passing along this video Kit. It's a reminder that, "Nothing Goes Better With Coke".

marie C (163)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 4:18 pm
Noted thanks Kit

Heidi Aubrey (16)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 9:03 pm
Amazing. I saw the commercials on the Robert Colbert Show video clip,and they actually claim it makes a healthy body.

They will lose their pants.

paul m (93)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:45 am


Past Member (0)
Friday January 25, 2013, 1:39 pm
How dishonest. =(

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:30 pm
Noted. Can't you just see these guys sitting around smoking their expensive cigars....dreaming up junk to sell us, the general public, and make a huge profit? I've passed down what my mom used to say to my own kids: "A Fool and Their Money Is Soon Parted."

Dee C (229)
Friday January 25, 2013, 3:34 pm
Just good ole plain water is the best for you..
I keep trying to tell my cousin that..but she loves that Vitamin water..
Thanks Kit..
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