Why You Should Stop Drinking Vitamin Water

While they are aggressively marketed as a healthy beverage, do vitamin drinks actually do much good? When looking beyond the attractive packaging and buzzwords, it does not seem to be the case.

Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, noted how the claims made by brands are "not about scientific evidence, and not about the public’s health." 

Often, you may have seen the labels on these drinks purporting to enhance "focus" and "energy" among other supposed effects. "The label advertising uses vague language so you think you are getting a benefit, but it’s so vague that companies don’t need evidence [to support] that language," Liebman told TIME in 2018.

These drinks also come loaded with added sugar content, the "zero" line being an exception. As noted by Ecowatch, a single 20-oz bottle of vitamin water contains around 120 calories and 32 grams of sugar. While the type of sugar used varies by country, the ones sold in the United States tend to use crystalline fructose, the more harmful component.

"Excess fructose consumption may increase your blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, insulin resistance, fat buildup around your organs and risk of fatty liver disease," states the Healthline website.

We know from several studies that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and related health issues. But since the drinks are "enriched" with micronutrients, is there a possible benefit there? 

The daily recommended intake of several micronutrients can be fulfilled in the average diet. So the extra amount you receive via the consumption of these beverages may not actually make any real difference to your health. Furthermore, as experts say, you could have too much of a good thing.

Certain nutrients like vitamins A and vitamin E may actually be harmful in excess. Going 25 to 50 percent over the recommended intake could raise the risk of various health problems. Since they are not released in the urine, they tend to accumulate in the tissues and potentially lead to complications.

"These fat-soluble vitamins are very stable. If you are over-consuming them, you can raise your levels gradually over time and get into trouble with liver function," Mara Z. Vitolins, a registered dietitian, previously told the New York Times. "You have to be very careful with them."

If you happen to be deficient in one or more micronutrients, it is better to acquire them from a well-planned, balanced diet. In severe cases, you can speak to a doctor about whether you may benefit from supplements. To consume a sugary beverage, on the other hand, is taking one step forward and two steps back.