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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Danielle Nierenberg
Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.
Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.
- Protecting Mangroves Can Prevent Billions of Dollars in Global ... ›
- Could the 'Mangrove Effect' Save Coasts From Sea Level Rise ... ›
Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?
- 5 Things to Know About Earth's Warming Oceans - EcoWatch ›
- Bioluminescent Waves Mesmerize California Beachgoers, Surfers ... ›
- NOAA: 2020 Could Be Warmest Year on Record - EcoWatch ›
- On June 8, We Celebrate Our Oceans, Our Future - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Things to Know About the State of Our Oceans for World Oceans Day ›
By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas
From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.
When Looking Through a Microscope Isn’t Close Enough.<p>For the last few years, <a href="http://www.rokaslab.org/" target="_blank">our team at Vanderbilt University</a>, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/lab/Gustavo-Goldman-Lab" target="_blank">Gustavo Goldman's team at São Paulo University in Brazil</a> and many other collaborators around the world have been collecting samples of fungi from patients infected with different species of <em>Aspergillus</em> molds. One of the species we are particularly interested in is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1006/rwgn.2001.0082" target="_blank"><em>Aspergillus nidulans</em>, a relatively common and generally harmless fungus</a>. Clinical laboratories typically identify the species of <em>Aspergillus</em> causing the infection by examining cultures of the fungi under the microscope. The problem with this approach is that very closely related species of <em>Aspergillus</em> tend to look very similar in their broad morphology or physical appearance when viewing them through a microscope.</p><p>Interested in examining the varying abilities of different <em>A. nidulans</em> strains to cause disease, we decided to analyze their total genetic content, or genomes. What we saw came as a total surprise. We had not collected <em>A. nidulans</em> but <em>Aspergillus latus</em>, a close relative of <em>A. nidulans</em> and, as we were to soon find out, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.071" target="_blank">a hybrid species that evolved through the fusion of the genomes</a> of two other <em>Aspergillus</em> species: <em>Aspergillus spinulosporus</em> and an unknown close relative of <em>Aspergillus quadrilineatus</em>. Thus, we realized not only that these patients harbored infections from an entirely different species than we thought they were, but also that this species was the first ever <em>Aspergillus</em> hybrid known to cause human infections.</p>
Several Different Fungal Hybrids Cause Human Disease.<p>Hybrid fungi that can cause infections in humans are well known to occur in several different lineages of single-celled fungi known as yeasts. Notable examples include multiple different species of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/yea.3242" target="_blank">yeast hybrids</a> that cause the human diseases <a href="https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6218/cryptococcosis" target="_blank">cryptococcosis</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html" target="_blank">candidiasis</a>. Although pathogenic yeast hybrids are well known, our discovery that the <em>A. latus</em> pathogen is a hybrid is a first for molds that cause disease in humans.</p>
(Left) Candida yeasts live on parts of the human body. Imbalance of microbes on the body can allow these yeasts, some of which are hybrids, to grow and cause infection. (Right) Cryptococcus yeasts, including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008315" target="_blank">Why certain <em>Aspergillus</em> species are so deadly</a> while others are harmless remains unknown. This may in part be because <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbr.2007.02.007" target="_blank">combinations of traits, rather than individual traits</a>, underlie organisms' ability to cause disease. So why then are hybrids frequently associated with human disease? Hybrids inherit genetic material from both parents, which may result in new combinations of traits. This may make them more similar to one parent in some of their characteristics, reflect both parents in others or may differ from both in the rest. It is precisely this mix and match of traits that hybrids have inherited from their parental species that <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/science/14creatures.html" target="_blank">facilitates their evolutionary success</a>, including their ability to cause disease.</p>
The Evolutionary Origin of an Aspergillus Hybrid.<p>Multiple evolutionary paths can lead to the emergence of hybrids. One path is through mating, just as the horse and donkey mate to create a mule. Another path is through the merging or fusion of genetic material from cells of different species.</p><p>It is this second path that appears to have been taken by our fungus. <em>A. latus</em> appears to have two of almost everything compared to its parental species: twice the genome size, twice the total number of genes and so on. But unlike other hybrids, which are often sterile like the mule, we found that <em>A. latus</em> is capable of reproducing both asexually and sexually.</p><p>But how distinct were the parents of <em>A. latus</em>? By comparing the parts contributed by each parent in the <em>A. latus</em> genome, we estimate that its parents are approximately 93% genetically similar, which is about as related as we humans are with lemurs. In other words, <em>A. latus</em>, an agent of infectious disease, is the fungal equivalent of a human-lemur hybrid.</p>
How A. Latus Differs From its Parents.<p>Elucidating the identity of closely related fungal pathogens and how they differ from each other in infection-relevant characteristics is a key step toward reducing the burden of fungal disease. For example, we found that <em>A. latus</em> was three times more resistant than <em>A. nidulans</em>, the species it was originally identified as using microscopy-based methods, to one of the most common antifungal drugs, <a href="https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00520" target="_blank">caspofungin</a>. This result provides a clear example of the potential importance of accurate identification of the <em>Aspergillus</em> pathogen causing an infection.</p><p>We also examined how <em>A. latus</em> and <em>A. nidulans</em> interact with cells from our immune system. We found that immune cells were less efficient at combating <em>A. latus</em> compared to <em>A. nidulans</em>, suggesting the hybrid fungus may be trickier for our immune systems to identify and destroy.</p><p>In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our quest to understand <em>Aspergillus</em> pathogens is becoming more urgent. Growing evidence suggests that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/myc.13096" target="_blank">a fraction of COVID-19 patients are also infected with <em>Aspergillus</em>.</a> More worrying is that these <a href="https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2607.201603" target="_blank">secondary <em>Aspergillus</em> infections</a> can worsen the clinical outcomes for those infected with the novel coronavirus. That being said, we stress that little is known about <em>Aspergillus</em> infections in COVID-19 patients due to a lack of systematic testing, and none of the infections identified so far appear to have been caused by hybrids.</p><p>So, when it comes to hybrids, some are fantastic (the minotaur), some are helpful (the mule) and some are dangerous (<em>Aspergillus latus</em>). Understanding more about the biology of <em>Aspergillus latus</em> may help in our understanding of how microbial pathogens arise and how to best prevent and combat their infections.</p>
This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.
- As Protests Rage, Climate Activists Embrace Racial Justice ... ›
- First-Ever Black Birders Week Tackles Racism Outdoors - EcoWatch ›
- 15 EcoWatch Stories on Environmental and Racial Injustice ... ›
- Take a Hike Day Is Around the Bend. What's Your Dream Hike ... ›
By John Letzing
This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."
The Navajo Nation covers the corners of three different states. Google Maps
Growing Contribution<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM3NDY5Ny9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjM4MTgyM30.IuQTKQs1stvYYKD6vaVTrqAyoBsUG0BhDvlhxsyKwPA/img.png?width=980" id="02a05" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2841f82b1785df5d5ed7bf64d3bb882b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
World Economic Forum
- Black and Hispanic Americans Suffer Disproportionate Coronavirus ... ›
- Native American Tribes' Pandemic Response Is Hindered by ... ›
- Navajo Nation Has Highest Covid-19 Infection Rate in the U.S. ... ›
World Environment Day: A Time to Consider the Planet We’ll Return To, and Decide How to Care for It Going Forward
It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.