Do you ever wonder things like “Who is actually gullible enough to think that Vitaminwater is healthy?” Although that question may seem demeaning or even arrogant, it turns out that the Coca-Cola company (which owns the Vitaminwater brand) is essentially asking that exact question.
How so? In response to a recent lawsuit against Coca-Cola filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Coke’s attorneys replied in court briefings that, “…no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”
Except, of course, millions of consumers were misled into believing precisely that. This illusion was helped in no small part by Coca-Cola’s advertising of Vitaminwater, which blatantly positions it as a health-enhancing beverage. Even the name itself implies that the product is made solely out of vitamins and water.
But of course it isn’t.
“Sugarwater” might be a better name
If Vitaminwater were accurately named, it would actually be called Sugarwater. Its first two ingredients are, not surprisingly, sugar and water (the sugar coming in the form of crystalline fructose, a processed sweetener that has been linked to health problems) (http://www.naturalnews.com/029371_f…).
In addition to the sugar and water, Vitaminwater contains a smattering of synthetic vitamin chemicals that any informed health consumer probably wouldn’t want to ingest. So in reality, Vitaminwater is really sugar water with the addition of synthetic chemicals that happen to be called “vitamins” (but which are not the natural, plant-based nutrients your body would greatly prefer).
So what we have now with Vitaminwater is a beverage that’s positioned and marketed as a health-enhancing beverage, yet its own corporate lawyers dismiss any notion that the beverage is “healthy.” How, then, can Coca-Cola get away with advertising Vitaminwater as a healthy beverage?
Simple: Because corporations use advertisements to lie to consumers. And virtually no one in the history of corporate advertising has mastered the art of deception better than Coca-Cola — a company whose products have contributed to untold numbers of diabetes victims while being positioned as cool, hip drinks that make you feel energized or inspired.
Coca-Cola isn’t really in the business of selling beverages, you see. It’s in the business of selling the illusion of happiness in a bottle or a can. Buy their products, say the advertisements, and you too can feel happiness (or freedom, or sexiness or whatever). But what Coca-Cola delivers isn’t really happiness at all: Many of Coke’s products deliver the liquid sugars, artificial chemical sweeteners and bone-dissolving acids (like phosphoric acid) that promote disease and suffering. And no reasonable person would equate degenerative disease with happiness.
Misleading name, misleading labels
Speaking of disease, how much sugar is actually in Vitaminwater? A lot more than you might think: While the label claims only 13 grams of sugar per serving, one bottle of vitamin water is actually 2.5 servings, meaning that you’re chugging down 32 grams of liquid sugars with every bottle.
That’s just one of the many “deceptive and unsubstantiated claims” pointed out by CSPI in its lawsuit against Coca-Cola. It is this lawsuit that resulted in Coke’s lawyers making the incredible statement that no reasonable person could possibly conclude Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.
Lawyers, by the way, can argue absolutely anything — even if it makes no sense. And they can do it with a straight face, too. If you’re looking for a professional liar, hire a lawyer. Coca-Cola seems to already have its share working at their headquarters in Atlanta.
Using its lawyers, Coca-Cola tried to argue its way out of this CSPI lawsuit, but that effort was rejected by the courts. “A federal judge has denied Coca-Cola’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit over what the CSPI says are deceptive and unsubstantiated claims on the company’s “vitaminwater” line of soft drinks,” touts an article on the CSPI website (http://www.cspinet.org/new/20100723…)
That same announcement goes on to quote Judge John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, who says “The names of the drinks, along with other statements on the label have the potential to reinforce a consumer’s mistaken belief that the product is comprised of only vitamins and water.”
CSPI’s litigation director Steve Gardner adds, “For too long, Coca-Cola has been exploiting Americans’ desire to eat and drink more healthfully by deceiving them into thinking that vitaminwater can actually prevent disease. In fact, vitaminwater is no more than non-carbonated soda, providing unnecessary added sugar and contributing to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. We look forward to representing all Americans whom Coke has deceived.”
Who really drinks Vitaminwater?
Reading all this, you might wonder who drinks Vitaminwater in the first place. I’ve never even tried the beverage myself because I read ingredients labels and I don’t drink liquid sugars.
But most consumers don’t read labels. Even if they attempted to, most consumers are simply unable to decode what food labels really mean. People simply believe whatever is most prominently displayed on the front of the package, which in this case are the two words “vitamin” and “water.”
On top of that, mainstream consumers are disturbingly gullible. If a product is positioned as being healthy, that’s what people believe it’s for, even if it makes no sense whatsoever. After all, why do so many people believe Slim-Fast will make them lose weight even though it’s made mostly from processed refined sugar?
Slim-Fast, by the way, never technically claims it’s a weight loss product. It dances around that claim with all sorts of other gray-area language that implies it is a weight loss product without making any direct claims. If pushed in the courts, its manufacturer would no doubt pull the same thing Coca-Cola just did and proclaim that no reasonable person could conclude that Slim-Fast is a weight loss product.
You see, big food companies are masters at making implied claims about their products that, upon closer inspection, are blatantly false. There are all sorts of false claims found on the labels of popular food products: A chocolate milk product made with sugar claims it “builds strong bones!” A liquid meal substitute sold in cans and made mostly with sugars and milk proteins claims to provide “balanced nutrition!” A product for diabetics claims to be “sugar free” but neglects to mention it’s sweetened with a chemical that may actually promote diabetes.
The list of examples like these is endless. And thanks to these food corporation deceptions, consumers are faced with a food product minefield when attempting to intelligently shop for foods.
That’s why several years ago I developed the Honest Food Guide (http://honestfoodguide.org), a free downloadable guide that explains which foods are truly good for your health (and which are not).
Download it now and check it out for yourself.
In the mean time, don’t buy Vitaminwater. Unless, of course, you think you could use 32 grams of liquid sugars and some synthetic vitamin chemicals in your diet. And if you somehow think that Vitaminwater is healthy, the Coca-Cola corporation thinks you are a fool.