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Does Vitaminwater Hydrate You?

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

Hydration matters. Research shows that even mild dehydration, around 2%, can cause symptoms such as low energy levels, irritability, headache, and fatigue.

The way to prevent the effects of dehydration on your health and mood is to consume enough water during the day. That means having water available as you carry out your daily activities.

These days, more people drink bottled water, often in plastic bottles with lots of marketing on the label. When browsing grocery store shelves, you’ve probably seen bottles of Vitaminwater and wondered whether it’s a good alternative to water for staying hydrated.

Does it hydrate as well as plain water? Let's look at whether this heavily advertised product is a good way to hydrate.

What Is Vitaminwater?

Vitaminwater, owned by Coca-Cola, is a water-based beverage with added vitamins and minerals. It's sold in bottles at most grocery stores as a healthier option to plain water. The bottle is designed to look like some juice or energy drink, but it's not an alternative to either.

Vitaminwater is composed of water, usually filtered to remove impurities, along with sugar, electrolytes, and additives such as natural flavoring. The amount of sugar in Vitaminwater is substantial, around 32 grams in a 20-ounce bottle.

Liquid sugar is especially problematic from a health standpoint since liquids lack fiber to slow the rise in blood sugar you get when you drink it.

Vitaminwater Supplies Vitamins

The selling point for Vitaminwater is that it contains electrolytes, such as potassium, and vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin E, and B vitamins. It also contains minerals, like calcium, zinc, and magnesium.

Yet Vitaminwater doesn’t contain the number of electrolytes that sports beverages do and there’s no evidence that Vitaminwater benefits sports performance. However, manufacturers argue that you’re supplying your body with vitamins when you sip this vitamin-enhanced water.

Even though Vitaminwater contains vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, these nutrients come from artificial sources rather than natural ones from sources like fruits or vegetables.

While supplementing your diet with extra vitamins might be beneficial in certain situations (like during pregnancy), these drinks do not provide significant benefits over eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Vitaminwater for Hydration

Since Vitaminwater contains water, it has a net positive effect on hydration. When you sip it, you’re supplying your body with water. When you consume Vitaminwater, you’re getting significant amounts of sugar along with water and vitamins.

If you have diabetes or other health conditions that require you to limit sugar intake, the high sugar content isn’t a healthy option.

There is evidence that beverages with sugar boost hydration. The transporters for sodium and glucose are coupled in the gut. When a beverage contains sugar, it boosts the absorption of other solutes and water.

Therefore, there may be modest benefits to drinking a beverage that contains sugar to speed up rehydration. But this doesn’t outweigh the negative effects of the sugar you’re consuming.

Your best bet? Drink natural spring water when you're thirsty or add lemon slices or strawberries to make sipping water more flavorful.

Conclusion

Does Vitaminwater hydrate you? If you are concerned about hydration on the go, try carrying some cold water with you in your purse or backpack. Vitaminwater, due to its sugar, may help you rehydrate a little faster but the longer-term effects of beverages high in sugar are a drawback.

As the American Heart Association points out, Americans consume around 3 times as much sugar as they should (around 77 grams of sugar daily) and kids consume even more.

Most of the excess sugar people consume comes from sweetened beverages. Almost half of all sugar that people in the United States consume is from beverages.

Alarmingly, Americans consume, on average, 100 pounds of sugar each year. Therefore, water is still your best choice for hydration since it lacks the calories and sugar that Vitaminwater does. Plus, Vitaminwater is more expensive than drinking plain water. So, stay hydrated but you don’t need Vitaminwater to do that.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.