The health benefits attributed to the growing number of vitamin enhanced waters currently on the market is considerable. These claims include increased mental awareness and improved physical stamina, as well as improved concentration and prolonged endurance. In addition to providing the vitamins and minerals that might be lacking in one’s diet, manufacturers such as Coca Cola, makers of Vitaminwater, and Reebok, which produce Fitness Water, tout health benefits that go beyond hydration, many of which are not backed by scientific data. Although the ingredients that manufacturers provide for consumers is straight forward enough, the health benefits claimed, or implied, by these manufacturers, can be misleading and have recently generated a certain amount of controversy.
Tricked out in a variety of eye-catching colors, with names like Defense and Revive, vitamin enhanced waters are typically made with artificial colors, artificial flavorings, in addition to a variety of sweeteners, which frequently translates into a considerable caloric intake. Coca Cola’s Vitaminwater contains 33 grams of sugar per 20 ounce serving; while the government’s daily recommended sugar dosage is approximately 44 grams. If the premise behind enhanced water’s purported health benefits is to replenish the body’s depleted vitamins and minerals, it is contrary to scientific data that suggests the actual benefits are minimal at best. According to the government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published in June, a supplement “does not offer health benefits to healthy Americans,” except in cases where osteoporosis or an iron deficiency is present. And further, in some instances, “mineral/vitamin supplements have been associated with harmful effects and should be pursued cautiously.”
In fact, according to an article published by the Mayo Clinic, health benefits derived from vitamin enhanced water are largely negligible, provided one is eating a balanced diet and taking an over the counter multivitamin. As for individuals who are trying to lose weight, the increased calories that attend consumption of these beverages will only be a liability. Additionally, sometimes vitamin enhanced water is produced with what is essentially caffeine, although this might not be immediately clear from the label. According to an article in the Washington Post by Jennifer Larue Huget, Vitaminwater’s Dragonfruit “boasts that its taurine content is an energy booster”. Taurine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in breast milk. There is speculation that it can improve athletic performance, and that if mixed with caffeine it can aid mental performance as well, but this claim is controversial and as yet unfounded.
written by David Gilbert
© 2011 H.I.C. Digestive Health
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