Vitamin-Enhanced Waters: Help or Hype?

Posted in Health Drinks

There used to be three things you could count on: death, taxes, and chemical-free water in a bottle. Now there are two. Yes, the Grim Reaper still looms, and most politicians are not calling for an end to their beloved taxes. But do take note – someone is screwing with our screw-topped waters!

By now you’ve probably noticed the new kids on the bottled water block of your local grocery store. Next to your spring and glacier waters there’s an oasis of “vitamin-enhanced” waters.

Vitamin-enhanced water…hmmm, on the surface it sure sounds like a super idea, right? Well, no. These products are all wet. They take this week’s prize for the most blatent Healthy Food Imposters.

Case in point:

Dasani Plus, Vitamin-Enhanced Flavored Water Beverage

dasani_plus_dp

Take a look at the front label. It seems to imply the product is extremely healthy. You can’t help but imagine this water is enhanced with super vitamins that will defend and protect your health!

But read the fine print and it becomes clear that the only thing this water will defend and protect against is being healthy. See for yourself.

Nutrition Facts: (8 fl. oz., 0 calories, 0g fat, 25mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g protein, 10% Vit E, 10% zinc)

Ingredients: (chemical additives are in bold) Filtered water; Natural Flavors; Citric Acid; Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Benzoate and EDTA (to protect taste); Phosphoric Acid, Acesulfame Potassium, Ginseng Extract, Zinc Gluconate; Sucralose; Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E); Yellow 5; Red 40


Decoding the Fine Print

We dislike being manipulated by sneaky marketing types. But it’s obvious to our food sleuths that this manufacturer designed the front label with the average unsuspecting shopper in mind. It’s chock-full of trickery.

For starters, each serving only provides 10% of the RDA for Vitamin E and Zinc. We hate to douse good intentions but that’s just not a very substantial amount. Sadly, what is substantial are the chemical additives pumped into this once-healthy beverage. We found:

  • Three chemical preservatives – potassium sorbate, potassium benzoate, and EDTA.
  • Two artificial chemical sweeteners – acesulfame potassium and sucralose.
  • Phosphoric acid, a chemical additive found in most soft drinks.
  • Two artificial color additives – yellow #5 and red #40.

Just to be clear, they took an unadulterated bottle of water and mixed in a bunch of chemical additives, insignificant amounts of vitamins, artificial coloring and a splash of fizz for good measure. Oh, then they upped the price and slapped a colorful yet misleading label on the bottle.

It’s a brilliant idea…in a marketing and sales kind of way. But for the uninformed consumer, it’s just plain wrong.


Reality Check

The bottled water aisle is one place where it a pays to be a super-savvy shopper who’s soaked up a little BrandAid know-how.

Don’t be fooled by the health hype on ANY brand of vitamin-enhanced water. Bypass the front labels, and go directly to ingredients list. Regardless of the brand, you’ll find all the clues you need to drink in the facts not the fluff.

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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