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5 Reasons Why Vitaminwater Might Be Just as Bad for You as Coke

Health + Wellness
5 Reasons Why Vitaminwater Might Be Just as Bad for You as Coke

A beverage called Vitaminwater has been very popular in recent years. It contains added vitamins and minerals, and is marketed as healthy.

However, what is left out of the marketing claims, is that Vitaminwater is loaded with added sugar.

In countries where it is sweetened with Crystalline fructose (like the U.S.), it contains just as much fructose as a sugary drink like Coke.
M. Unal Ozmen / Shutterstock.com / Wikipedia

As you may know, sugar can cause severe harm when consumed in excess.

Additionally, almost no one actually needs more of the nutrients added to Vitaminwater.

This article lists 5 reasons why Vitaminwater is actually bad for your health.

What is Vitaminwater?

Vitaminwater is a beverage brand owned by the Coca-Cola company.

There are many varieties, each with an attractive name like “focus,” “endurance,” “refresh,” “defense” and “essential.”

As is reflected in the name, it is water that is enriched with vitamins and minerals. It is also claimed to contain natural colors and flavors.

However, Vitaminwater is also loaded with added sugar, particularly fructose, which is linked to all sorts of health problems when consumed in excess.

Vitaminwater also has a “Zero” product line, with no added sugar. Instead, it is sweetened with erythritol and a refined sweet compound extracted from the stevia plant. The first three reasons do not apply to Vitaminwater Zero.

Bottom line: Vitaminwater is a brand of beverages owned by the Coca-Cola company. It contains added vitamins and minerals, and is generally sweetened with sugar. There is also a “Zero” line without added sugar.

1. Vitaminwater is High in Liquid Sugar, and May Contain Just as Much Fructose as Coca-Cola

One 20-oz (591 ml) bottle of Vitaminwater contains about 120 calories and 32 grams of sugar, just about 50 percent less than a regular Coke.

However, it differs between countries which “type” of sugar is used.

In the U.S., they sweeten Vitaminwater with crystalline fructose and cane sugar, but in other countries they use mainly cane sugar (fancy word for sugar).

Crystalline fructose is the worst, being almost pure fructose (over 98 percent), while cane sugar is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose.

If we look more closely, we can see that a bottle of Vitaminwater (in the U.S.) may contain about the same amount of fructose as a bottle of regular Coke.

That is because the majority of the sugar in U.S. Vitaminwater is in the form of pure fructose, while fructose comprises only half of the sugar content of Coke.

Many studies show that fructose is the main harmful component of added sugar, not glucose (1, 2).

Bottom line: One bottle of Vitaminwater contains 120 calories and 32 grams of sugar. In countries where it is sweetened with Crystalline fructose (like the U.S.), it contains just as much fructose as a sugary drink like Coke.

2. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Are Highly Fattening

When it comes to weight gain/loss, what you drink is just as important as what you eat.

When you drink liquid sugar calories, your body does not compensate by making you eat less of other foods instead.

The calories coming from these sugar-sweetened drinks are then added on top of everything you eat.

Over time, this can lead to weight gain and increased risk of obesity and other related diseases (3, 4, 5).

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is among the world’s strongest risk factors for obesity, some studies showing up to a 60 percent increased risk of obesity in children, for each daily serving (6, 7).

There is no reason why Vitaminwater should be any different. It is just another sugary beverage.

Bottom line: Your body does not compensate for liquid sugar calories, making you eat more calories overall. Sugar-sweetened beverages like Vitaminwater are strongly linked to weight gain and obesity.

3. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Raise Your Risk of All Sorts of Diseases

Almost all health experts agree that added sugar plays a key role in the epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases (5, 8).

It is recommended to keep the intake of added sugars below 10 percent of total calories, preferably below 5 percent.

For a 2,500 calorie diet, 10 percent of calories amounts to 62 grams of sugar, and 5 percent amounts to 31 grams of sugar.

As mentioned above, one bottle of Vitaminwater contains 32 grams of added sugar. That is 50-100 percent of the recommended upper limit.

Added sugar is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, the metabolic syndrome and even cancer (9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

This applies mainly to fructose, which can only be metabolized by the liver in significant amounts.

Excess fructose consumption may cause high blood cholesterol and triglycerides, increased blood pressure, increased insulin resistance, fat build-up around the organs and increased risk of fatty liver disease (14, 15, 16, 17).

These are major risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and obesity (1, 18, 19).

It should be noted that this does not apply to the fructose we get from fruit. Fruit contains water and fiber, and has a low energy density, so it is very hard to eat too much of it.

Bottom line: One bottle of Vitaminwater provides 50-100 percent of the recommended upper limit for added sugar. Added sugar, especially fructose, is associated with a variety of diseases and health problems.

4. Vitaminwater Contains Micronutrients That Most People are Already Getting Enough of

All types of Vitaminwater contain B vitamins (50-120 percent of the RDI) and vitamin C (50-150 percent of the RDI).

Some types also contain smaller amounts of vitamins A and E, and the minerals potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and chromium.

Vitamins B and C are water soluble vitamins that are almost never lacking in the average person’s diet (20, 21).

Consuming excess amounts of these vitamins does not provide any sort of health benefit. They are not stored, but are simply washed out of the body via urine.

That being said, there are subgroups of people who may be lacking in some of these vitamins and minerals (especially B12 and folate).

However, it makes absolutely no sense to drink a harmful sugary beverage to get these nutrients.

Eat whole foods instead, or take a supplement if you are truly lacking in something.

Bottom line: Most of the micronutrients in Vitaminwater are not needed, as most people are already getting more than enough. Any excess amount is simply expelled from the body via urine.

5. In Some Cases, Excess Micronutrients in Supplement Form Can Cause Harm

When it comes to nutrition, more is not always better.

Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are absolutely crucial as part of a healthy, real food-based diet.

They may improve health and help prevent a range of diseases, including heart disease and cancer (22, 23).

However, supplementing with vitamins or antioxidants has not been linked with the same health benefits (24).

Supplementation with some antioxidants and vitamins, such as vitamins A and E, has actually been associated with increased risk of premature death in some studies (25,26, 27).

Although Vitaminwater does not provide excessive amounts of these vitamins on its own, it does contain considerable amounts (25-50 percent of the recommended daily intake).

When you add 25-50 percent of the recommended daily intake on top of what you’re already getting from food, then it is possible that all of this will add up to reach excessive amounts.

So not only are the micronutrients in Vitaminwater not beneficial, they may even be downright harmful if they are increasing your intake to harmful levels.

Bottom line: Some Vitaminwater varieties contain vitamins A and E, which may have harmful effects when consumed in unnaturally large amounts.

Vitaminwater is Not Healthy—It is Just Another Harmful Sugary Beverage

The owners (The Coca-Cola Company) have actually been sued for deceptive and unsubstantiated health claims about Vitaminwater.

Their response was interesting: “no reasonable person would be misled into thinking that Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”

They are actually trying to defend themselves by saying that the health promoting claims are so far fetched that people couldn’t possibly believe them.

The problem is that many people do actually fall for marketing claims.

Most people don’t read ingredient labels, and don’t realize how unethical and ruthless the junk food companies can be.

Despite the fancy marketing, Vitaminwater is a harmful, disease-promoting beverage that most people should be avoiding as much as possible.

At best, it is just a slightly “less bad” version of Coke.

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A net-casting ogre-faced spider. CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics / CC BY-SA 3.0

Just in time for Halloween, scientists at Cornell University have published some frightening research, especially if you're an insect!

The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.

"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."

The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.

They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.

They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.

But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.

"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.

What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.

It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.

To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.

First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.

Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.

University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.

"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."

Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.

Hoy agreed.

"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.

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