Coach Arlan Carroll
Is Vitamin Water Good for You?
Staying hydrated throughout your day is important for optimal health. Check out our guide as we look at the pros and cons of vitamin water today.
Vitamin Water is marketed as a healthy drink, packed with beneficial vitamins and a delicious flavor profile. But does this drink live up to the hype?
It can be frustrating to constantly sort through all the data about trendy, healthy drinks. But, can you truly trust marketing strategies and believe everything you see in advertisements?
We're here to report the truth and the mistruths about this trendy, bottled "health" drink, Vitamin Water, and its zero sugar alternative, Vitamin Water Zero. We've compiled lists of pros and cons for both versions, revealed what's beneath the label, and finally answered the question, "is Vitamin Water healthy?" So read on to finally uncover the truth.
What is Vitamin Water?
Vitamin water is a drink brand that the Coca-Cola company owns. The brand gained popularity as a "healthy" drink option, boasting a way to drink your daily vitamins and enjoy a refreshing beverage. In addition, there are claims that the drinks are naturally flavored and colored, but with added fructose sugar, those claims are hard to believe.
What's in Vitamin Water?
This product contains a whopping 120 calories and around 30 grams of sugar. While occasional use won't overwhelm your system, that much sugar could counteract your work in the gym and impact your fitness goals.
Energy - 60 mg of caffeine and other vitamins and minerals
Revive - Choline for liver support as well as other vitamins and minerals
Focus - 300% of your daily value of vitamins B5, B6, and B12 as well as guarana and other vitamins and minerals
Essential - 250% of your daily value of vitamin C and 25% of your zinc, and a blend of other vitamins and minerals
XXX - Three types of antioxidants to fight free radicals, and other vitamins and minerals
The Pros and Cons of Vitamin Water
For many years Vitamin Water has been a popular beverage choice for the health conscious and those just looking for a tasty drink. It's easy to find in almost any grocery or convenience store, and its claims sound like they're the ideal beverage to undo any lifestyle missteps. But is this beverage all hype, or does it live up to its claims?
Pro: Contains Essential Vitamins
The average flavor of vitamin water contains around 50 and up to 100% of your daily value of some vitamins. Because of this, it seems to be a healthy and intelligent choice for consumers.
Pro: A Healthier Choice than Soda or Juice
Sodas and juices can lead to weight gain and impair your fitness goals. While Vitamin Water still contains a significant amount of sugar, it contains approximately half the calories and carbohydrates in a typical soda, and sodas don't have any included vitamins. That said, Vitamin Water can be helpful for people trying to stop drinking soda and juice.
Vitamin Water comes in various delicious flavors and a rainbow of colors, allowing consumers to choose what is most palatable to them. Some of the flavor options are:
Con: High in Calories and sugar
Even though there are fewer calories and less sugar in Vitamin Water, it's still one of the most calorie-laden drinks available. An average bottle contains almost as many calories as a can of soda, which is something fitness-minded individuals need to keep in mind.
Vitamin Water consumption can quickly become a costly habit. For example, a single bottle costs around $4.00, and buying one bottle daily would cost you over $1,400!
What is Vitamin Water Zero?
Vitamin water zero has quickly become the more popular option for consumers wanting a refreshing beverage without as much guilt. In addition, this drink option claims to be a healthier choice for hydration, without all the sugar and fructose found in the original.
While it's stated that there are 0 calories in the Vitamin Water Zero, the nutrition label claims that there are 4 grams of carbohydrates. If you're accustomed to tracking carbohydrates, you know that there are four calories per gram, so their claims seem to conflict with themselves.
What's in Vitamin Water Zero?
While the information provided for these options seems to be a bit confusing, as a calorie-free or at least very low-calorie beverage, it's better than other drink options with a lot of sugar. Unlike Sugar-Free Red Bull, this drink option is easier on your body but still packs an overwhelming punch of vitamins and minerals.
The supplemented vitamins and minerals for the Vitamin Water Zero beverages vary by flavor. Just like the original form of this beverage, the ingredients tend to go hand in hand with their clever names:
Gutsy - 5 grams of prebiotic fiber and other vitamins and minerals
Look - Lutein and vitamin A for eye health as well as other vitamins and minerals
Ice - L-theanine and chamomile plus lavender flavoring and other vitamins and minerals
Shine - Biotin and vitamin A with a blend of vitamins and minerals
Rise - 250% of your daily value of vitamin C and 25% of zinc for immune support as well as other vitamins and minerals
The Pros and Cons of Vitamin Water Zero
As a spinoff of Vitamin Water, which is colored water with added flavors, vitamins, and minerals, Vitamin Water Zero uses artificial sweeteners in the place of regular sugar. So what are the pros and cons of choosing Vitamin Water Zero?
Pro: Zero Calories
Like the name claims, there are technically zero calories in Vitamin Water Zero. The company achieves this by using non-nutrient artificial sweeteners like erythritol, which the body metabolizes differently. While avoiding sugar-filled beverages can reduce the risk of weight gain, consuming artificial sweeteners is not the best solution.
Pro: Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin Water Zero contains concentrated amounts of essential compounds like vitamin C, B vitamins, and more, depending on the selected flavor, if you're deficient in common vitamins and minerals. While this may appeal to those who don't get proper nutrition for their diet, there are better and more natural ways to get your nutrition.
Like the original, Vitamin Water Zero offers a wide variety of flavors, so anyone could likely find an option that appeals to them. Some of the flavor options are:
Açai, blueberry, and pomegranate
Con: Minimal Electrolytes
Vitamin Water Zeroe's most adamant claim is that it replenishes electrolytes. The primary electrolytes and quantities people need post-workout are 5,000 mg of sodium, 47000 mg of potassium, and 300-400 mg of magnesium as well as calcium and bicarbonate. Unfortunately, Vitamin Water Zero contains minimal-to-no traces of these essential electrolytes depending on the flavor.
Con: Overpromises on Health Claims
Vitamin Water Zero claims that drinking this beverage can counteract a poor diet and lifestyle choices like the original. However, even the zero sugar version won't erase unhealthy habits.
Con: Unnecessary Vitamins
The types and quantities of vitamins in a single bottle of Vitamin Water are more than an average person would need in a day. Eating a healthy diet of whole foods will easily get all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin Water and Your Fitness Goals
Many athletes often look for a good drink to have post workout that will help rehydrate their bodies, replenish electrolytes, and nourish their muscles and bones. Vitamin Water's high-calorie count and vitamin claims make it sound like the perfect beverage for athletes.
Drinking Vitamin Water before you workout can give you a brief energy boost, especially if you choose a drink containing caffeine. The added sugars in the drink will also help you power through a workout, but there are certainly other options on the market that will be better for your body without derailing your goals. Your personal trainer would be happy to help suggest healthier alternatives to ensure you don't undo all your hard work.
Is Vitamin Water Healthy?
When you look at the data, it's easy to see that Vitamin Water is not healthy. A single, 20-ounce bottle of Vitamin Water contains around 120 calories and over 30 grams of sugar. This amount is about half the amount of sugar and calories in a regular can of coca-cola.
Because of these levels of carbs and sugar, this drink is highly fattening and can disrupt your metabolism. When you consume high levels of liquid sugar, your body is triggered to consume less of other foods. Drinking a lot of sugar and calories is one of the leading causes of weight gain, obesity, and related diseases.
The body doesn't require high concentrations of the vitamins found in Vitamin Water, and consuming these in excess doesn't provide any health benefits. Your body won't store the overages of these ingredients and will excrete them through your urine. If you are deficient in vitamins and minerals, it's better to adjust your diet and focus on natural, whole food sources instead.
High doses of antioxidants and certain vitamins like A and E can adversely affect your health and wellbeing. So it's easy to determine that even though these beverages taste good, they are not the drink you should choose should you have the option.
Why You Should Avoid Fad Health Drinks
When a drink or snack option makes health claims that sound too good to be true, they often are just that. As a society, we typically know that we can avoid obesity and prolong our lives by adopting a whole foods diet, exercising regularly, and drinking the right beverages. That said, it's always tempting to choose the easier route and find shortcuts to help us achieve our goals.
Vitamin Water isn't the only drink that has come out making over-the-top claims while concealing its actual, sugary, calorie-laden truth. Sugar-free alternatives, in general, should always be a red flag for you because while they may not contain natural sugar, they are flavored with artificial sweeteners, which are not good for you.
Healthier Vitamin Water Substitutes
If you love Vitamin Water, how can you curb the craving? Luckily there are plenty of alternatives you can turn to that will have less sugar and fewer unnecessary vitamins while still giving you a flavor experience.
If you want a flavor punch and a drink full of natural vitamins and minerals, choose to juice fresh, whole fruits and vegetables instead. Many delicious fruit and veggie juice recipes are available that are good for you, inside and out. You likely already purchase fresh produce when you go to the grocery store, so why not get into a habit of juicing them for a flavorful and colorful drink?
If you don't have a juicer but have a blender, you can also make quick and easy smoothies. If you live in an area where you don't have access to fresh produce or if you want to cool down after a hard workout, you can buy frozen produce for your smoothies or freeze produce when it's about to go bad to give yourself lots of easy-to-use options.
If you want a single-serve option you can grab at a gas station or grocery store or make quickly, there are some alternatives. While these may not have all the insane fruity flavors of fresh juice or smoothies, they still pack a nutritious punch:
Bottled coconut water
Unsweetened green or black tea
Green tea with honey and lemon
Sparkling mineral water
Electrolytes added to water (my new favorite is LMNT)
What's the Verdict?
Vitamin Water is not a good beverage choice to help you achieve your goals. If you need more guidance and suggestions, consider contacting a nutrition coach who can help guide you along the way.
If you like this article and want to learn more about the truth behind trendy health products, check out our blog. Your fitness and health deserve expert guidance! If you're ready to start your health and fitness journey, you can schedule a free consultation with Coach Arlan to learn what AC Fitness and Sports Training can do for you!