Is vitaminwater good for you?

- Asks Valerie from California

December 3, 2007
A rainbow of flavors. [Credit: Glaceau Vitamin Water]
A rainbow of flavors. [Credit: Glaceau Vitamin Water]

Let’s face it – water is so dull. But vitaminwater, with its kaleidoscopic pinks, peaches and violets, is like Vegas in a bottle! Vitaminwater’s shimmering hues even seduced rapper 50 Cent, the inspiration for amethyst-tinged Formula 50. But aside from using star power and flashy colors, vitaminwater’s parent company, Glaceau (owned by Coca-Cola), markets the drink by emphasizing its nutritional value. Is there any science behind the marketing though?

A vitamin-fortified drink may sound like a swell idea, but there are two caveats to keep in mind. First, most Americans aren’t vitamin-deficient, according to Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University. A government survey in 1999 showed that the median American adult man or woman already consumes more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12, and three-quarters of the RDA of vitamins C, B9 and A (including carotenes). In fact, vitamin E is the only surveyed vitamin Americans consume at less than half of the RDA – but it’s found in only a third of vitaminwater drinks.

If you want to drink your additional vitamin E, there’s a second caveat: your body may not absorb it. To understand why, it’s important to know that vitamins can be divided into two groups: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Vitamin C and the B complex group are water-soluble and can easily enter the bloodstream with water. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. That means they can only enter the bloodstream to carry out their functions if they are dissolved in dietary fat, like that found in a meal. An Italian study published by the American Heart Association in 2001 showed that subjects who took vitamin E for two weeks on an empty stomach increased their vitamin E concentration in blood little or not at all, compared to an 84 percent increase in subjects who took the vitamin E supplement during dinner. So unless you prefer vitaminwater to wine with your meal, vitamins A and E will pass largely unused into your city’s septic system.

Even if you were to absorb all the vitamins, vitaminwater might have trouble living up to its image as a salubrious alternative to sugary soft drinks: Each bottle of vitaminwater contains 32.5 grams, or two heaping tablespoons, of crystalline fructose. Fructose is a simple sugar that sweetens many fruits, although the crystalline fructose in vitaminwater is produced from cornstarch, not fruit, by crystallizing the fructose in fructose-enriched corn syrups. As one would expect, nobody needs these extra sugars, according to Nestle, the NYU nutritionist. One research team has even indicated that the intense sweetness of sugary drinks may be addictive.

“The way that vitaminwater is marketed and positioned it’s made to look more healthful than other sugary beverages, but it’s not – it’s still just a soft drink,” said Margo G. Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “It has this aura of healthfulness that is not deserved. Adding vitamins and minerals to junk food doesn’t make it healthy.”

About the Author



Steve H says:

Is Vitamin water healthier than soda?
Let’s consider a fave flavor of mine – energy – which is loaded with B-vitamins as well as beta carotene (for color)!

B vitamins are water soluble and beneficial for (at least)the following reasons:
Support and increase the rate of metabolism
Maintain healthy skin and muscle tone
Enhance immune and nervous system function
Promote cell growth and division, including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anemia
Reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer

Being water soluble, they need water to be absorbed by the body, not fat as mentioned in this “article”….does vitamin water contain enough water to make this happen? Pretty sure it does!

On to the cancer issue…

Beta carotene is a naturally occurring compound found in veggies like carrots & sweet potatoes that is used to color energy flavor Vitamin water. Sure sounds healthier than “yellow #5” to me :) Studies show the intake of beta carotene in cigarette smokers will increase the risk of lung cancer…but the beta carotene does not cause the cancer, it allows the cigarettes to cause cancer quicker due to its ability to promote cell growth in the body (see above)… so, no smoke, no worries, mates!

On to the sugar debate:
20 oz. classic coke: 65g sugars (from corn syrup), 233 calories
20 oz. vitamin water (energy): 33g sugars (from fructose), 125 cal, 100 RDA vitamins B3, B5, B6 & B12, & 250% RDA Vitamin C

Half the sugar & at least 100% RDA of 6 water soluble vitamins means yes, kids, it’s better for you than coke…so drink up & enjoy yourself!

Azysalyn says:

I think that vitamin water is very good tasting but i dont think that this is to healthy for you. WEll i guess it depends on the person and their body type. i say this because me i drink vitamin water thinking that it is very good for you, But no its not that healthy for me because i had gained some extra pounds for drinking this drink. i drink the XXX flavored one.. it’s acai,blueberry,and pomegranate. the nutriton facts about this one is it contains 2.5 servings in one container the calories is 50 and the sugers are 13. this drink seems pretty healthy to me.. i anit going to lie i love vitamin water i drink the XXX flavored one all the time. im drinking one right just saying people shouldnt judge the drink untill they know everything about their body and whats good for them. then they shouldnt blame the drink if its not healthy for them because they knew what was healthy for them and they drank it.

gaylord says:


You know what,this is exactly the problem with people,because their minds are not as creative,all of sudden now they are scientist in bio – medical.Some one came up with creative idea of VW, and he did not promise any miracles,all he said the main ingredients he is really promoting is water content and vitamins,so if it has sugar this and sugar that F**** what? How many of us drinks freaken beer and wine that has god knows what in there that’s harmful? what about all these energy drinks that will kill straight with caffeine and people buys them like crazy.Just stop wara wara critics and buy what suits finish and klaar.

Jacqueline Menton says:

1. No, there isn’t any actual science behind their marketing themes. Vitamin Water is marketed to seem like it is good for you. This isn’t true, as the drink is filled with corn syrup and the vitamin’s it contains we don’t need and probably won’t ingest.

2. The scientific evidence behind the Italian study is strong because it tested the how people ingested vitamin E on an empty stomach vs. with a meal.

3. No, I don’t believe someone could really become addicted to Vitamin Water unless they had a record of becoming easily addicted to things.

Marc says:

Vitamin water doesn’t have the vitamins you need until you eat food with it, which is what most people do anyway, so I don’t see why they would include that in their argument.

Also, people don’t necessarily get addicted to the drink the way that they would to a drug addiction because it’s more of a “Oh, I want a vitamin water” rather than “I need a vitamin water.”

Other sports drinks are worse in my opinion than vitamin water, but either way it doesn’t matter what you drink, as long as it’s satisfying to you and keeps you hydrated.

susan says:

I was told by my “cooking on a budget” teacher, to not spend $2.00 on a bottle of vitamin water, but to add a little juice from a real fruit (if anyone remembers what that is), to water, in a washable bottle. I take it that meant that the vitamins in that home-made beverage were sufficient. I tend to be low on iron only, as I am a menstrual age woman. I don’t worry about ALL vitamins and minerals if I don’t have to, just as I am not going to worry that Larry King is going to chop my head off in the middle of the night!

jeoyboll says:

i heard you can die from it

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Chris says:

The main problem I have with Vitamin water is how it is advertised. As a society we generally realise the health issues that can arise from drinking soda, energy drinks, etc. However, vitamin water is being portrayed as a healthy alternative. The fact that they use the term “water” in the title is misleading. As is the term “vitamin”. Considering most of the vitamins are artificial and will not be absorbed by the body there is no benefit in that. Also a high sugar content is troubling. Is it better then soda. Probably. Is it better then water. No. Vitamin water is essentially water with a lot of sugar dumped in. So save your money and pour about 2 tablespoons of sugar in a glass of water for the same effect.

Aaron says:

great publish, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector do not understand this.

You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

taruhan bola says:

When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now
each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
Thanks a lot!

I don’t leave a comment, however I browsed a ton of remarks
here Is vitaminwater good for you?

Susan says:

I’ve never had the ZERO CALORIES vitamin water without getting sick. That aspartame upsets my stomach every time.

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Mary Lockheed-Panasonic says:

Brawndo kicks Vitaminwater in the balls and mutilates thirst on sight. I like Brawndo because it has electrolytes.

steve says:

How about vitamin water zero? look at bariatric surgery patients who needs as many vitamins and minerals as possible and take vitamins and supplements to go well over the 200% of ALL vitamins and minerals at least, vitamin water zero with zero calories and fat and zero sugar is a wonder adjunct to the liquid diets we get stuck on for long periods of time.

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Sharell says:

It’s not ASPERTAME its sweetened with natural Stevia leaf a far cry from ASPERTAME . Do they even still use that ?? I mentioned the Zero because all I have heard is everyone talk about the sugar
In VITAMIN WATER, they are acting like their aren’t any options . HELLO!!! If you don’t want all the sugars and calories drink the ZERO.
That’s the advice for all those people whom are
Sugar crazed, and furthermore if you drink anything in excess of course it will bother your stomach.
The Lemonade flavor is my favorite.
A bottle, for those that are paying 2.00 buy it at Target you will save a fortune.

travel says:

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Marcy says:

I would like to know if XXX Zero has Red dye #3 in it ???

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Brian S says:

I can’t stop laughing at how unbelievably stupid people in this response system are.

The ABSOLUTELY INSANE lengths you’ll go to white knight for the brand that owns you &. your fragile egos. BWAAHAHAHAHA!

Every single response in here is literally saying that VW is better because it has less toxic crap in it than Coke.



I’ll make you a horse sh*t sandwich with 1/3 less horse sh*t on it than Coke does. That means the sandwich is better for you.


How about not eating horse sh*t at all, and not taking in all those synthesized molecules that Coca Cola put into what USED to be a good product before Coca Cola bought it…

Or does that make too much sense for imbeciles like you?


Sad to see how many of you opted for Home Ec or Shop Class rather than Chemistry as your elective in High School…

NOT ALL CARBS ARE THE SAME. Carbs from processed & synthesized chemical compounds are VASTLY different from carbs from healthy natural foods.

Had you even the cognitive function of a first grader, YOU’D KNOW THAT FACT.

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