By: Natasha Longo,
Although health experts have publicly questioned the bogus claims of Vitamin Water for years, people mysteriously continue to pay good money for what is essentially sugary, flavored and colored water. The vitamins added are also the most synthetic and poorly absorbed. So why buy this poison instead of making your own natural and healthy version with real nutrients from living foods?
One can only imagine the creators of the original vitamin water product meeting to hatch the idea for the next trendy “health” drink. “What if we take some plain water, add random vitamins to it, and blend in sugar and artificial flavors to make it taste good,” suggests the company’s top marketing guru.
Why would someone pay money for water with vitamins, color, flavor and sugar in it when they could just take a vitamin pill and drink regular water without any calories?
Vitamins and water might sound like the ultimate nutritional tag team, but what the label doesn’t say is that a bottle of this stuff carries nearly as much sugar and calories as a can of Coke. Makes sense, though, since this so-called functional beverage is produced by our often-sugar-crazy friends at The Coca-Cola Company.
On the Mayo Clinic website, nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, warned readers to be skeptical about the hype surrounding vitamin water products. “If you’re trying to lose weight, the calories in vitamin water will only work against you,” she wrote. “Fruits, vegetables and other whole foods are the best sources of vitamins and minerals. And it’s tough to beat plain water as a healthy, no-calorie drink.”
The Center for Science in the Public Interest sued Coca-Cola, the makers of Vitaminwater, for misleading advertisement. Advertisements including Vitaminwater being a healthy line of drinks with flavor names like “energy” and “essential.” According to the class action suit, “Vitaminwater is not a healthy beverage. Rather it is sugar water — just like soft drinks — with a few added vitamins.”
As usual there are differences in ingredients which vary according to country. In the U.S., Vitamins Water contains added fructose and sucrose, yet in other countries only contains added sucrose. The vitamins infused are all sourced from China from the lowest grades with poor absorbability. The Citric Acid used in Vitamin Water also comes from GMO corn.
Makers of Vitamin Water drinks play on the public’s concern for being healthy and take advantage of the fact that many people just don’t bother to read nutrition labels or delve beneath a label to determine whether the ingredients are healthy or unhealthy.
VitaminWater contains between zero and one percent juice, despite the full names of the drinks, which include ‘endurance peach mango’ and ‘focus kiwi strawberry.'” — Center for Science in the Public Interest a.k.a. CSPI
Does vitamin water harm teeth? New York University dental study of five sports drinks, including two vitamin water produts, showed all five contain “levels of acid that can cause tooth erosion (and) hypersensitivity.” (To be fair, beverage industry spokespeople disputed the methodology of the study, which involved cutting cows’ teeth in half and immersing them in either water or one of the sports drinks.) — WebMD News
So Why Not Make Your Own? It’s so simple, affordable and you’ll get real nutrients and antioxidants out of it. The flavor is incredible, the options are unlimited and bonus — NO SUGAR, COLOR OR FLAVOR ADDED!
One of the easiest ways to make your own vitamin water is with an infusion pitcher which can be bought almost anywhere for under $25. Simply add herbs, fruit, and/or veggies to your filtered water in a pitcher, store in the fridge, let rest, and serve. The longer the water sits, the more nutrients are extracted from the ingredients. 24 hours is usually sufficient.
If you don’t want to invest in an infusion pitcher, you can any jar large enough to hold the fruits/veggies and at least 1/2 liter of water.
Some things to note:
- Use filtered water. Regular tap water contains chemicals such as chlorine and flouride which is linked to the leading cause of death.
- Cut the fruit and veggies into small chunks or thin slices so there is more surface area which allows more nutrients into the water.
- If the water will be sitting for more than 4 hours, remove rinds from citrus, as they can make your water bitter.
- If you’re leaving the peel in the water, make your purchase organic fruits and vegetables free of and pesticides.
- Feel free to refill. Once you have used all of the water, if the ingredients are still good, simply refill with more water. More nutrients will be extracted and the flavor will last.
- Play around with your ingredients. Use what you have available in the house. If you don’t like the flavor of something simply dump and try again.
- Amounts can vary. Add as little or much of the ingredients as your taste prefers. There is no right recipe.
- Don’t worry about what nutrients you are getting, just know that you are getting nutrients. By regularly changing your ingredients, you will provide your body with a wide array of much needed nutrients.
Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.