andrew schneider investigates

January 15, 2009

Vitamins + water + sugar + hype = Coke lawsuit

Filed under: FDA,Food - good, bad, weird,Food labeling,Risks to children — Andrew Schneider @ 09:46

A class-action suit was filed this morning against the Coca-Cola Co. alleging deceptive and unsubstantiated claims on its VitaminWater line of beverages.

The suit was filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest which claims that Coke markets VitaminWater as a healthful alternative to soda by labeling its several flavors with such health buzz words as “defense,” “rescue,” “energy,” and “endurance.”

The company makes a wide range of dramatic claims, including that its drinks variously reduce the risk of chronic disease, reduce the risk of eye disease, promote healthy joints, and support optimal immune function, said the Washington, D.C. based nonprofit health advocacy group.

However, the group’s nutritionists says that the 33 grams of sugar in each bottle of VitaminWater do more to promote obesity, diabetes, and other health problems than the vitamins in the drinks do to perform the advertised benefits listed on the bottles.

“Coke fears, probably correctly, that they’ll sell less soda as Americans become increasingly concerned with obesity, diabetes, and other conditions linked to diets too high in sugar,” said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner.

“VitaminWater is Coke’s attempt to dress up soda in a physician’s white coat. Underneath, it’s still sugar water, albeit sugar water that costs about ten bucks a gallon.”

For the other side of the story, here is a link to VitaminWater’s website.

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