As bottled water industry continues to grow (as shown by a 6.4% increase in sales from 2015 to 2016), you might notice more and more brands promoting their inclusion of vitamins in their single-use bottled water products. In fact, 43% of consumers are interested in bottled water that’s been enhanced with vitamins. Typically, these products claim to offer you 100% (or more) of your daily value of vitamins B and C, plus other enhancements like zinc, chromium, or manganese.

Vitamin-enhanced waters may be marketed to you as a healthy beverage to stow in your water container, but in truth, they’re often anything but. Case in point: last year, a federal judge approved a settlement from a class-action lawsuit that argued that the advertising and marketing of Vitaminwater® falsely portrayed Vitaminwater as a healthy source of dietary supplements, rather than a sugary soft drink that has nearly as many grams of sugar as a 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola Classic.

What most consumers miss is that oftentimes, these vitamin-enhanced waters are extremely high in sugar. Vitaminwater, for example, averages 32g of sugar and 120 calories per bottle of its classic flavors, and it uses artificial sweeteners and flavors to get that fruity taste you expect from a kiwi-strawberry or dragonfruit drink (vitaminwater zero™ flavors, it should be noted, has 0 calories and 0g of sugar per bottle). As a result of the previously mentioned lawsuit, Coca-Cola will add “with sweeteners” to the Vitaminwater label where the brand name appears.

Also, consumers probably don’t know that they’re likely already getting all the vitamins they need from their typical diet (more so if you take a daily multivitamin supplement). These enhanced waters are typically highest in the vitamins that are easiest to find in your diet: the B vitamins and vitamin C. Do you really need to drink a vitamin-enhanced water to get any more? Probably not, according to a recent study of novelty beverages.

Researchers agree that the best to consume the vitamins and nutrients you need on a daily basis is the natural way: through a healthy diet. Physical nutrition specialist Dr. Melina Jampolis says that “Nutrients should be consumed as close to their natural state as possible to ensure that you get all the potential health benefits.”

Finally, by getting your vitamins from real foods, you reduce the risk of overconsumption. Take niacin, for example. Its natural sources include mushrooms, fish, or avocado, which also include fiber, protein, and fat to help digestion and round out the balance of nutrients. However, a bottle of vitaminwater’s “formula 50” flavor contained 120% of the daily value for niacin — more than you could get from any natural foods. Your body features natural checks and balances to prevent you from getting more of any one vitamin than you need; a bottle of water won’t prevent you from over-ingesting, because you won’t feel a sense of fullness.

At the end of the day, water is the best all-around beverage you can consume. If you’re worried about your vitamin consumption, talk to your doctor and see if they recommend a certain diet or multivitamin supplement you can take daily. In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying the pure, non-sugary taste of regular water from our glass drinking bottles while getting our vitamins from our foo

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