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Don’t Get Fooled Again


Don’t Get Fooled Again


Vitamin Water.  It's difficult to imagine two words jammed together that sound healthier.  Water.  Hey, that's healthy!  Vitamins.  Even better.  But lets not forget who writes this stuff.  Madison Avenue – the juggernaut that invented the meaningless concept of  "drinkability" – puts a deep understanding of human psychology to work in their effort to separate you from your money, and vitamin water is a great example.

But don't fool yourself.  Vitamin Water is simply a slick attempt to sell you sugar, in this case the impressive sounding "crystalline fructose," which is nothing more than crystallized corn syrup (yep, the stuff they use to make soda-pop).

Here are two useful rules to help you avoid drinking cleverly disguised sugar solutions:

1.) Avoid products that make health claims.  Meat and vegetables require no endorsements or snappy names.  They also do an excellent job providing vitamins and minerals.  Get your nutrition from real food, the stuff without labels.

2.) Don't drink your calories.  It is simply too easy to consume excess calories when you drink them.  Drink water when you are thirsty.  Coffee and Tea have clear health benefits and almost no calories.  Have some wine or beer in moderation, but make water your go-to drink.

13 Responses

  1. dan thacker

    Orie, Thanks for the post. Coca Cola bought Vitamin water for $400 Million. Alot of these drinks are claiming to have "anti-oxidants". Could you explain what these are? By the way, I just say an ad for "Pepsi Max." Pepsi designed for men. Haha…what does that mean. It comes with a boat and a remote control?

  2. Oxidation refers to a process in which molecules called oxidants remove electrons from other molecules. This results in molecules, called "free-radicals," that have unpaired electrons. Free-radicals are highly reactive and wreak havoc in our cells, causing all sorts of damage, mucking-up the molecular order.

    Oxidation is a suspected cause of disease and aging.

    Anti-oxidants are molecules – many of them naturally occurring in our cells – that scavenge free-radicals or inhibit the formation of oxidants.

    Everyone agrees that anti-oxidants are important for preventing oxidative damage. But PURIFIED anti-oxidants (the kinds used in supplements and Vitamin Water) have a poor track-record in clinical trials. They just don't work very well when delivered this way.

    Vegetables and fruits are rich in anti-oxidants, that's one of the reasons that they are so good for us. So there is no need to seek out the (pretty useless) supplements with anti-oxidants if you are eating your veggies and fruits. So as it turns out, the makers of Vitamin Water are not really adding anything of value to their "water," since the anti-oxidants they add will be much less effective than fruits and veggies.

    Once again, the "trick" is to get all these nutrients from REAL FOOD. Vegetables and fruits are protective, supplements and Vitamin Water are not.

  3. Jon

    Orie, Dan, what do you both think about "real food" that comes packaged? For example, over the counter deli meat, egg beaters, brand name guacamole (Wholly Guacamole and Wholly Salsa are SO good), etc.? I'm assuming they're not as good as homemade or homegrown, but are they still "good?" Would you go as far as to say they're "bad?"

  4. There are healthy packaged foods out there. But rarely are they healthier than food you make yourself from meat, veggies, spices, etc, and they are OFTEN significantly less healthy.

    I understand the need to rely on prepared foods, but buyer beware. Read those labels. A long list of ingredients is a bad sign, as are ingredients that your grandmother would not recognize as food.

    But if your favorite packaged foods are actually real food, you are good-to-go.

    (Deli Meat is clearly nutritionally inferior to meat prepared yourself, but it's better than skipping your protein.)

  5. I think it's "Value Added" water. I'm deeply suspicious of any attempt to improve upon water. You really don't need more than water and food. And I can't think of a good reason to shell-out a buck-fifty for 21 grams of sucralose. Fruit tastes better anyway and tap water is free.

    Buy a reusable water bottle and you've solve all your hydration needs.



  6. crimedog


    What do you think aobut energy drinks like Monster, Red bull? They are full of sugar and do they really give you energy. Coke has this stuff called Enviga and I drink the stuff because it has no sugar. It is just flavored green tea with some caffeine in it. The other day I was looking at the can and it read it is a calorie burner. I do not think it burns calories for me but I am sure people drink thinking it will help them burn calories.

  7. I'm suspicious of all these products. They are all highly processed and all tend to make dubious claims (calorie burner?).

    Tea and Coffee are better choices as "energy drinks."

    Water should be what you drink the most of.



  8. dan thacker

    Yes, that claim as a "calorie burner" should be punishable by law. They can actually say that the pysical process your body has to go through to consume liquid burns calories. Yes, all of our functions burn calories. You also burn them while you sit on the couch. Clever clever people.

  9. Nick Hogue

    Ok I have a serious obsession with crystal light. It says its sugar free and has only 5 calories per serving. I know the sugar taste comes from something like sweet and low. So is it ok to have in moderation? or not at all?

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