The Fooducate Blog breaks down one of the ways in which food companies try to market a product that is fundamentally unhealthy, or at least neutral, with dubious health claims. The product they highlight is Vitamin Water, usually found in the same refrigerated bins as the power drinks people associate with exercise and health:
This is what the ingredient list should read:water, sugar, colors, needless vitamins & minerals
Here is the actual ingredient list:
Reverse Osmosis Water, Cane Sugar, Crystalline Fructose, Citric Acid, Vegetable Juice (Color), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Natural Flavor, Berry and Fruit Extracts (Acai, Blueberry, Pomegranate and Apple), Magnesium Mate (Electrolyte), Calcium Lactate (Electrolyte), Monopotassium Phosphate (Electrolyte), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6), Cyanocobalamin (B12)
It’s no surprise that people are confused about the contents of packaged foods when something as simple as added sugar has so many other names, when vegetable juice is as specific as it gets to describe what gives the water its color, and when a confusing list of vitamins that most people get enough of in their daily diets rounds out a needlessly long list.
Drinks like this, particularly, sodas, help explain why Americans get an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. For context, women should get no more than 6 teaspoons and men should get no more than 9 of added sugar. It’s not that people don’t necessarily know how bad something like soda is; it’s that they don’t know how bad products like these, which are marketed as better water, are.