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VITAMINS + WATER (and sugar, but we don’t want you to see that) = ALL YOU NEED and then some…

September 15, 2009

By now most of you know that I have a few pet peeves.  The biggest by far is people taking advantage of us unfit people by trying to sell us products that have NO possibility of working.  I am thinking the ab exercisers here for one.

Another of my pet peeves is the people who try to package up something that is clearly unhealthy as healthy.  I am not suggesting that people shouldn’t market their product in the best possible light, highlighting the good parts of what they are producing.  To quote ‘You Are Not A Fit Person’:

Otherwise, don’t get conned.  These people don’t care if you get fit, they just care that they sell more of whatever it is they manufacture.  Think about it.  When a company learns that what it manufactures is bad for peoples health, they don’t stop making it.  Instead they sit around a boardroom table and talk about how they can get around this and still sell their product.  The first thing they do is find out what are good nutritional spins they can put on their product and then they hire a graphics company to make those jump out.  In their defense, a lot of these nutrition scares turn out to be hyped up half truths and errors, so companies shouldn’t close the doors when they hear their product isn’t healthy.  As well, just because something isn’t healthy, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to buy it.  Feasts, parties and festivals are all feasts, parties and festivals because we can go crazy and eat some things that wouldn’t be healthy to eat every day.  Without companies selling donuts and cinnamon buns and cakes and pastries, the world would be a drab place.
So, don’t be angry with them for doing business the way they do, just don’t listen to their advice and IGNORE ALL OF THE STATEMENTS OF GOOD NUTRIENTS ON THE OUTSIDE OF A PACKAGE.  Use only the list of ingredients in determining whether to eat something or not.

What I am complaining about here is products that try to appear out and out HEALTHY.  Sure you can put a huge image on your box of Apple Jacks that says, NOW PROVIDES FIBER.  That is fine, what I can’t abide by is things like Special K making absurd claims that they are an integral part of a healthy weight loss program.  They aren’t.  Seriously, don’t listen to any claim that they are.  I will take on the Special K diet claims in a future blog, but they aren’t the ones I am going after right now.

I am going after the new Vitamin Water and related products.  This product is packaged up as if it is some healing liquid, some healthy drinking choice.  It isn’t.  It is fruit juice.  Fruit juice is bad for you.  It is bad for you when it is straight fruit juice, but it is worse when they ADD SUGAR.

The package includes the following attempts to sound like a health product:

  • Recommended dose: Take one 591ml bottle per day as needed.
  • It breaks ingredients down into medicinal and non-medicinal
  • Nutrient enhanced water beverage

Drinking this to get your vitamins is the equivalent of eating vegetable flavored cheese crackers just to get 1/3 of your daily serving of vegetables.  Don’t bother going to the website to find the ingredients by the way.  You can find them, but you have a better chance of finding the free odds square on a craps table (neither of them is actually listed, try clicking to the left of the full bottle to find the ingredients).  The bottle says, contains less than 1% juice.  The second ingredient is sugar, with a cleverly disguised name (on the bottle on the web it says crystalline fructose, which would literally translate into crystallized sugar extracted from fruits).  NEVER EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING THAT HAS SUGAR IN THE FIRST 3 INGREDIENTS.  The bottle I am holding has cane sugar as the second ingredient instead.  At least that sounds like sugar.

To get to the point though, it has 120 calories per bottle.  That is about half as bad as coke or pepsi.  So, if you were picking the worst of the 2 to choose, this is better than coke.  Still, diet pop would be a much better choice.  According to the website there is a Vitamin Water 10, which has only 10 calories per serving  (the same size bottle of Vitamin Water has 2.5 servings).  Still, I can’t believe that they try to sell their product as being a health food product.  They have a drawing of a scientist looking woman in the upper corner of their website.  THE BOTTLE ACTUALLY SAYS VITAMINS + WATER = ALL YOU NEED…  What about the sugar,  isn’t that something that you need?  I can’t believe that people knowingly market fruit juice with sugar as medicinal. Seriously when will the greed stop.  Either people in business have to start caring about what they sell and advertise (which is never going to happen-see the funny cartoon here), or we are going to have to smarten up to the many ways in which we are being hoodwinked for a quick buck.  If you are trying to lose weight, drinking fruit juice won’t help.

If you think Vitamin Water is the worst, think again.  One of the employees in this office drinks these things and she bought a bottle of ‘Purity Organic’.  There main issue is organic fruit juices.  I have no problem with that.  I like organic as much as the next guy, but my problem comes from their packaging.  Their Pomegranate Blueberry juice also has the medicinal ingredients, non-medicinal ingredients crap on it, it breaks one bottle down into 2 servings and states in big numbers everywhere you look, the calories per serving,  and it has the recommended use (by whom?!!), which says: Helps to improve mood and various aspects of memory in healthy middle-aged individuals (it contains Ginko of course).  This is juice not medicine…. Seriously…

The most egregious thing about this product though is how they label their sugar on the package.  Again sugar comes in as the SECOND ingredient, but the sugar here is labeled as ‘Organic Evaporated Cane Juice’.  They don’t have their ingredients or nutritional breakdown online either, but in the FAQ you find this:

DO YOU ADD SUGAR?
Much of the sugar content in Purity.Organic™ juices and functional drinks comes from the fruit itself. We add organic evaporated cane juice – a clean, natural, and unrefined sugar to some of our juice and functional drinks.

The way they describe it, you will get healthy just by consuming their sugar…  Some regulators should step in and stop this from continuing.  In the meantime please be smart and know what you are consuming and please, please, please, don’t give this stuff to kids.  It is harder to kick the sugar habit later in life when you are raised on fruit juices.

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