The truth is, you could say ‘farm-to-table funnel cake,’ and you’d have people lining up believing it’s a healthy alternative to Cinnabon.
Consumers are always looking for a guilt-free alternative to food and drinks that taste delicious. That’s why corporate food and beverage companies invest billions of dollars annually advertising products that can pass for healthy while satisfying the tastebuds.
We must stress the importance of reading the labels on anything you consume, especially products labeled nutritious, low calorie, or any kind of health product.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has very little guidance and very few standards governing the requirement for food and beverages marketed as ‘healthy’; this leaves it up to consumers to do their own research and know about ingredients to truly know whether the items they buy are good for their health.
The FDA set the existing definition of the nutrient content claim ‘healthy’ in 1994. It has limits for the total amount of fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
Products labeled ‘healthy’ must also provide at least 10% of the Daily Value for one or more of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
In September 2022, the FDA proposed changes to update the existing definition of healthy foods to help consumers make better choices when shopping for nutritious groceries.
The new requirement would be that for a product to be marketed as ‘healthy,’ it must meet two requirements:
- Contain a meaningful amount of food from the four dietary food groups: fruits and vegetables, grain, dairy, and protein.
- Do not exceed limits for certain nutrients like saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
Unfortunately, this would still allow many loopholes for corporate giants in the processed food industry to market their products as nutritious choices. Even with the proposed changes to the FDA’s definition of healthy, consumers must read the nutrition facts and ingredients when shopping for healthy and nutritious groceries.
Is the Vitamin Water Good for You?
“Is vitamin water good for you?” It’s a great debate in the nutrition and supplements industry. On the one hand, you’re consuming a beverage with added vitamins that support vital health. On the flip side, most vitamin waters contain a high sugar content and other counterintuitive ingredients to our health.
So, is vitamin water healthy? Keep reading! We want you to decide!
Vitamin Water Nutrition Facts
Understanding the fundamental nutritional values of soft drinks and vitamin water nutrition facts is essential when choosing healthy beverages.
Your recommended daily calorie intake depends on several factors:
- Physical activity
- Health conditions
On average, the recommended daily calorie intake is 2000 for women and 2500 for men.
The chart below provides an overview of the daily nutrition limits for a healthy adult based on a 2000 and 2500-calorie diet.
|Nutrient||2000 Calorie Diet||3000 Calorie Diet|
|Total Fat||65 g||80 g|
|Saturated Fat||20 g||25 g|
|Cholesterol||300 mg||300 mg|
|Sodium||2400 mg||2400 mg|
|Carbohydrates||300 g||375 g|
|Fiber||25 g||30 g|
Knowing the daily recommended nutrient limits will help you answer the question “is vitamin water good for you?”
Zohna Tip: Keep track of your calories, carbs and sugar intake from your beverages on a fitness tracking app like MyFitnessPal or MyPlate.
People often forget to include ‘liquid calories’ when counting their daily calorie intake.
Calories are the measurement used of how much energy is in food or drinks. When our bodies consume more calories than we use, it stores them as body fat, and over time it causes weight gain.
Vitamin waters are high in calories because of the added sugars. On average, a bottle of vitamin water contains 120-130 calories. While it may not seem like a ton, these are primarily empty calories providing very little nutritional value. Many types of vitamin water contain 100% cane sugar. Let’s give them some creativity points; cane sugar sounds healthier than processed sugar or sugar. But cane sugar contains just as many calories as refined white sugar; 16 calories per teaspoon.
“Carbs are the enemy”. It’s a golden rule in the diet industry that’s been around for decades. Most of us who are into healthy lifestyles know that carbohydrates aren’t always evil, and our body needs a certain amount of carbohydrates to supply us with energy.
There are three main categories of carbohydrates:
The chart below describes the differences in the three main types of carbohydrates:
You might have guessed, but the carbohydrates in vitamin water fall under the sugar category, making them simple carbohydrates. While they provide an immediate boost in energy, they do not provide any prolonged benefits to digestion or nutrients for your health.
On average, vitamin water has 26 grams of carbohydrates. While it’s not a ton if you compare it to the recommended daily carb intake of 275 grams based on a 2000-calorie diet, you might want to consider other beverage options if you’re on a low-carb diet like the keto diet eating 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
After learning about the calories and carbohydrates in vitamin water, you might not be surprised to learn that most regular vitamin water products also contain whopping amounts of sugar. Each 20-ounce bottle of vitamin water contains 31 to 33 grams of sugar. That’s more than 75% as much as a regular bottle of Pepsi, containing 40 grams of sugar.
Now, not all sugars are equal, and some are broken down in our bodies more quickly than others. All sugars eventually get broken down into glucose.
The four main types of sugar are:
- Glucose: Found in raw honey, agave, dried fruits, some manufactured pasta sauces, and processed meat
- Fructose: Found in honey, jams, barbecue sauce, breakfast cereals with whole oats, canned fruit
- Sucrose: Found in table sugar, baked goods, candy, and manufactured food
- Lactose: Found in dairy products, yogurts, cream, butter
Research shows that consuming a mix of glucose and fructose is an effective source of fuel during a workout. While glucose has traditionally been the preferred source of carbohydrates for sports nutrition, combining the two sugars at a 2:1 ratio helps the body absorb carbohydrates for energy and muscle repair.
Vitaminwater states on the label it comes from sugar cane and crystalline fructose. So it is about 98% fructose. Other sports drinks with higher glucose content are the healthiest source of carbohydrates for exercise.
According to a recent report by Harvard University, the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 24 grams of sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men. This number will be significantly lower if you have high blood sugar, in which case, you should stick with a sugar-free beverage like cerasee tea to lower the risk of diabetes.
Like most energy drinks and recovery drinks, vitamin water contains no fat; this makes it preferable if you follow a low-fat diet.
Some ready-to-drink sports nutrition drinks containing protein will have a higher fat content due to the milk, egg, or plant-based ingredients like soybeans. Fat in protein shakes helps the body absorb micronutrients more effectively.
What are recovery drinks vs protein shakes?
Recovery drinks are higher in carbohydrates than protein drinks and are designed to replenish the minerals your body loses during exercise, such as electrolytes. Protein drinks are better for people with the goal of preserving lean muscle mass or gaining muscle mass. Vitamin water and recovery drinks are adequate sources of energy and hydration during or after a workout that contain no fat.
Vitamin Water Ingredients
Understanding vitamin water nutrition facts is one part of determining “is vitamin water good for you?” The other area to explore is vitamin water ingredients.
Lots of products labeled ‘healthy’ and ‘nutritious’ have clever ways of listing their ingredients, so they sound healthier and more appealing to a health-conscious consumer. Let’s dig deeper into the primary vitamin water ingredients, what they are, and whether they benefit your health.
Reverse Osmosis Water
Vitamin water’s primary ingredient is reverse osmosis water. Most juices, sodas, and energy drinks list filtered water or carbonated water as their first ingredient; it makes sense because it is what the liquid uses as a base. Vitamin water brands cleverly use reverse osmosis water, like it is a healthy alternative to bottled water, but it’s just a fancy way of saying purified tap water.
If you want a healthy vitamin water or energy drink, look for one with water containing natural vitamins and minerals.
The healthiest kinds of water include:
- Spring water
- Mineral water
- Alkaline water
Raw cane sugar is the type of sugar most commercial vitamin water brands use to sweeten their products. While the ‘raw’ or ‘organic’ call-out may fool you into believing it’s a healthier alternative to regular sugar, it’s very similar in chemical makeup. Cane sugar is fructose, aka ‘fruit sugar.’ It occurs naturally in sugar cane, honey, and other fruits.
While all sugar should be consumed in moderation, glucose is the body’s preferred source of sugar, not fructose. However, this doesn’t mean eating fruit is bad for you. Fructose in fruit like berries, watermelon, and apples is better than processed fructose in vitamin water. They provide nutritional value and naturally contain vitamins beneficial for overall health.
Vitamins B & C
Almost all vitamin water flavors contain B vitamins and vitamin C at 50-150 % of the reference daily intake.
Vitamins B and C are also labeled as:
- Ascorbic acid (vitamin c)
- Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6)
- Cyanocobalamin (vitamin b12)
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
Vitamins B and C are water-soluble vitamins, meaning your body does not need that much, and the excess gets flushed out of the body via urine. Most people get plenty of vitamins C and B in their daily diets. Consuming extra vitamins B and C in vitamin water is unnecessary for our health.
Added Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin water flavors claim to have different benefits and call out extra added vitamins and minerals intended for their particular benefit.
Some of the extra vitamins and minerals found in vitamin water include:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
While the bottle may callout one or more of these ingredients, the actual amount is meager compared to the daily requirement for an average healthy adult. For example, the average adult requires 1000 mg of calcium per day, and a bottle of ‘Essential Calcium’ vitamin water only contains 175 mg of calcium per bottle.
You are better off taking a daily multivitamin capsule and adding supplements like serrapeptase, magnesium, or zinc as needed.
Vitamin Water Zero Sugar Content
Products in the Vitamin Water Zero line do not contain added sugar. They are sweetened with erythritol and stevia. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol derived from fermented corn, whereas stevia extract comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. Both are considered safe sugar substitutes; however, consuming erythritol in excess can cause problems with digestive health.
The chart below shows the nutritional values in an average 20-ounce bottle of zero sugar vitamin water.
Does Vitamin Water Have Electrolytes?
Vitamin water does have electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals in the body that have an electric charge. They help balance the amount of water in the body, move nutrients to cells, and cleanse waste. Dehydration or overhydration causes electrolytes to be too low or too high. Energy drinks with electrolytes help restore electrolyte levels when the body is dehydrated.
Electrolyte ingredients in vitamin water include:
Does Vitamin Water Have Caffeine?
A majority of vitamin water flavors do not contain caffeine. Products labeled ‘energy’ or ‘awake’ contain approximately 50 mg – 60 mg of caffeine per 20-ounce bottle. You might feel slightly alert or energized after drinking caffeine-free vitamin water due to its high sugar content. Sugar is a mild stimulant that provides energy to your muscles and brain cells.
Vitamin Water Calories
Regular vitamin water products contain approximately 120-130 calories per 20-ounce bottle. While it might not sound like many calories compared to a 2000-calorie diet, these are ‘liquid calories’ that provide little nutritional value. You are better off drinking a calorie-free herbal tea like arnica tea or green tea and getting your calories from nutritious food options.
Gatorade vs Vitamin Water
Gatorade and vitamin water are beverages designed to provide immediate rehydration. Both are reasonably high in sugar and contain a similar amount of calories. Gatorade and vitamin waters both have sugar-free options available. Vitamin water is marketed as a refreshing drink with vitamins and minerals, whereas Gatorade is marketed as a sports drink designed to replace fluids lost during exercise.
The chart below shows a comparison of Gatorade vs Vitamin Water.
Adding hydrating, calorie-free vitamin drops to your water is an alternative to sports drinks and vitamin water.
Is Vitamin Water Actually Good For You?
In a nutshell, there are healthier alternatives to drinking vitamin water. Vitamin waters are packed with sugar and provide a very minimal amount of vitamins and nutrients compared to what the product label features. So, is drinking vitamin water good for you? Drinking vitamin water to keep your body hydrated is beneficial if you do not like drinking water. Consume full-sugar vitamin water products in moderation to avoid weight gain.
Does it Help When You're Sick?
To answer the question, “is vitamin water good for you when sick?” look at the ingredient label to determine how much of a vitamin or mineral the product contains. Many consumers go for a bottle containing zinc to boost the immune system. However, an average bottle of vitamin water with zinc contains only 3.75 mg of zinc. Doctors recommend taking 30-50 mg of zinc per day to fight cold and flu infections.
Does Vitamin Water Help With Weight Loss?
Vitamin water does not help with weight loss. Consuming full-sugar vitamin water regularly may lead to weight gain. Try sugar-free apple vinegar cider gummies or green tea to boost your metabolism and aid weight loss. However, nothing beats a healthy diet and regular exercise to lose weight!
What is Vitamin Water Zero Sweetened With?
Vitamin Water Zero is sweetened with erythritol and stevia. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol derived from fermented corn, whereas stevia extract comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. The product contains much higher levels of erythritol.
How Many Vitamin Waters Can I Drink Per Day?
Vitamin water brands suggest consuming one or two bottles per day as needed. If you are consuming full-sugar vitamin water, limiting vitamin water to once or twice a week is better to avoid weight gain. Vitamin water should be consumed when you require hydration or are low on blood sugar. There are healthier ways to get essential vitamins, such as multivitamins and a healthy diet.
Can I Drink Vitamin Water When Pregnant?
The ingredients in vitamin water products are generally safe for consumption when you are pregnant. Doctors advise limiting sugar consumption and caffeine during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and want to drink vitamin water, choose a bottle with zero sugar and zero caffeine. Herbal teas like arnica tea, cerasee tea, and rooibos tea are better options for flavored drinks during pregnancy.
Is vitamin water really good for you?
Is vitamin water good for you when dehydrated? Yes. It will help you to restore hydration.
Is vitamin water good for you when you need a boost of sugar? Yes. It’s perfect for that!
Is vitamin water good for you to consume regularly? No! Not at all. Regular vitamin water products are loaded with sugar that is bad for your health and prevents weight loss. Zero-sugar vitamin water is a better alternative to full-sugar products, and plain water flavored with fruit is much healthier than store-bought bottled drinks.
If you want a delicious, nutritious beverage, try herbal tea; they have tons of health benefits too!