Earlier this year, Glacéau, a subsidiary of Coca Cola, introduced yet another vitamin water, dubbed Vitamin Water 10, due to its low caloric content of [fill in the blank] calories per serving.
The “center for responsible hydration”, as Glacéau like to call itself on their flash website, informs the consumer that it’s naturally sweetened, has only 10 calories and tastes great.
Sounds like a big deal. So we went ahead and checked what all the fuss was about. Turns out there are 3 different sweeteners added to the water, not one.
What you need to know:
There are 4 flavors. We took a close look at XXX. Triple X is so named, because it has a triple dose of antioxidants from açai, blueberry, and pomegranate.
here is the ingredient list:
Reverse Osmosis Water, Crystalline Fructose, Erythritol, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Vegetable Juice (Color), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Berry and Fruit Extracts (Acai, Blueberry, Pomegranate and Apple), Magnesium Lactate (Electrolyte), Rebiana (Stevia Extract), Calcium Lactate (Electrolyte), Garcinia Cambogia Rind Extract, Monosodium Phosphate (Electrolyte), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6), Cyanocobalamin (B12).
A brief glossary:
Reverse Osmosis Water – basically filtered tap water. Nope, you’re not getting some natural mineral water from a secret spring in an exotic sounding island/mountain. But reverse osmosis does sound kinda cool, right?
Crystalline Fructose – [sweetener #1] a processed sweetener. It is derived from corn, just like HFCS, but is enriched with fructose. The fructose is crystallized, dried, and milled, then used as a sweetener in beverages.
Erythritol – [sweetener #2] a natural sugar alcohol occurring naturally in fruits. However, it is much cheaper to produce it industrially from glucose by fermentation with a yeast with a scary name of Moniliella pollinis. Erythritol is only 60% as sweet as regular sugar. It is however almost non-caloric, with only 0.2 calories per gram vs. 4 calories for sugar (20 times less calories). An advantage Erythritol has over other sugar alcohols is that it is absorbed by the body and therefore does not cause cramps or bloating.
Berry and Fruit Extracts (Acai, Blueberry, Pomegranate and Apple) – To say that this is where the antioxidants come from is a bit of a stretch. The full benefits of antioxidants can be best enjoyed if eating the whole fruit. But since antioxidant claims and measurements are not regulated by the FDA, any company can say what it wants.
Rebiana (Stevia Extract) – [sweetener #3] Rebiana is the trade name for a stevia-derived sweetener developed jointly by the Coca Cola Company and Cargill. According to Cargill, Rebiana is “the best tasting part of the stevia leaf”.
Garcinia Cambogia Rind Extract – the rind of a small fruit that look like a mini pumpkin. Supposedly helps suppress appetite.
Electrolytes – needed by the body to balance intra and extra cellular activities. Most people never reach a shortage of electrolytes. You have to be a professional athlete or run a marathon before a regular drink of water becomes insufficient.
Claiming there is no sugar here would be a bit misleading. The nutrition label states that a serving contains 3 grams of sugar. A serving is just one cup, and most people drink double that amount. That would amount to 6 grams of sugar, or one and a half teaspoons. Not a tragedy, but definitely not zero.
From a nutritional perspective, this drink seems to be better than competing vitamin waters that are laden with sugar, and are therefore doing more harm than good. As for the vitamins in here, we always prefer people get their vitamins from real foods, not laboratory concoctions.
What to do at the supermarket:
Wasting money on bottled water seems like a sin these days. Or any day, if you want to spare the earth billions of empty plastic bottles. But if just must get your fix of flavored waters, Vitamin Water 10 is probably the better choice.
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