Vitamin Water Sued for Misleading Labeling

Sara Editor
  • If any of you follow the juicy and scandalous world of health news like I do, you might have noticed that Coca-Cola Co. has a pretty nasty lawsuit on their hands over one of their leading products, VitaminWater. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit organization in Washington D.C., has accused Coca-Cola of making false claims about the drink, including claims that VitaminWater reduces the risk of disease and is a healthful drink.

    You need not look past the packaging on the product to see these health claims. Exhibit A: the product is call VitaminWater, implying that it contains those lovely essential nutrients that we all strive to get in our diets. What better way to get them than through a delicious, refreshing beverage? Exhibit B: each label touts a positive effect this drink will have on your nutrient-starved, thirsty body, such as "revive," "energy," "focus," "defense" and so on.

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    But if you take a look at the BACK of the packaging, the place where you will find the FDA-sanctioned nutrition facts and an all inclusive list of what is actually IN the product you are about to ingest to "revive" your poor little body, you will find that these health claims are a bit misleading.

    Take the Vitamin Water Multi-V, for example. One bottle (2.5 servings) contains 125 calories, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 33 grams of sugar and no protein. While this particular bottle does contain 100 percent daily value of vitamin C, for being called "VitaminWater," it doesn't pack much else in its calorie-laden punch.


    Coke's defense in court against these claims are, and I am directly quoting here, "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking VitaminWater was a healthy beverage." Take that as you will.

    The real lesson here is quite clear: READ YOUR NUTRITION LABELS! It is not enough to look at food packaging and read "healthy choice" or "smart choice" or "good source of {fill in the blank}"; you have to flip the package over and look at the actual nutrition facts. This is where you will find the unfiltered, unadorned facts about what you are about to put into your body and every single line matters.

    How often to you check nutrition facts?

    What do you look for? How to you make and justify your food decisions?

    Do you ask for nutrition facts when eating out?

    How do you make sure that you are putting the best fuel possible into your body?


    For more information, check out this factsheet on how to read nutrition labels properly.

Published On: August 13, 2010