“Vitamin Water” is a pretty good name for a drink, isn’t it? After all, vitamins are healthy, and water is healthy! But so often, healthy-sounding drinks turn out to be hiding bad ingredients. Today, let’s dig into the details of Vitamin Water Zero. Is it really healthy?
Vitamin Water Zero is relatively healthy, as it is sweetened with erythritol and stevia, not sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is also free of artificial colors, with added antioxidants and electrolytes. However, some flavors have phosphoric acid, which may cause bone health and dental health issues.
Below, I’ll discuss whether Vitamin Water Zero raises blood sugar, whether it’s good for weight loss, and more. I’ll compare Vitamin Water Zero to soda and Gatorade Zero, to help you understand how it sizes up.
Is Vitamin Water Zero Bad for You?
Here are the 13 specific questions I’ll be answering about Vitamin Water Zero nutrition. Click any of them to skip to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Ingredients Are in Vitamin Water Zero?
- What Is Vitamin Water Zero Sweetened With?
- Does Vitamin Water Zero Raise Blood Sugar?
- Is Vitamin Water Zero Good for Weight Loss?
- Does Vitamin Water Zero Have Caffeine?
- Does Vitamin Water Zero Have Electrolytes?
- Which Kind of Vitamin Water Is the Healthiest?
- Is Vitamin Water Zero Healthier Than Soda?
- Is Vitamin Water Zero Healthier Than Gatorade Zero?
- Does Vitamin Water Zero Count As Water Intake?
- Can You Drink Vitamin Water Zero Every Day?
- Is Vitamin Water Zero Vegan?
1. What Ingredients Are in Vitamin Water Zero?
Each flavor of Vitamin Water Zero has slightly different ingredients. Let’s take a look at four classic flavors. I’ll share my analysis below the table:
|Vitamin Water Zero Flavor||Ingredients|
|Squeezed (Lemonade)||Reverse Osmosis Water, Erythritol, Less Than 0.5% Of: Vitamins A, C, E, B3, B5, B6, B7 (Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin), Electrolytes (Calcium And Magnesium Lactates, Calcium And Potassium Phosphates), Zinc Gluconate, Sodium Selenate, Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Gum Acacia, Glycerol Ester Of Rosin, Natural Flavors, Stevia Leaf Extract.|
|XXX (Açai-blueberry-pomegranate)||Reverse Osmosis Water, Erythritol, Less Than 0.5% Of: Vitamins A, C, B3, B5, B6, B12 (Beta-Carotene, Ascorbic Acid, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cyanocobalamin), Electrolytes (Calcium And Magnesium Lactates And Potassium Phosphate), Sodium Selenate, Manganese Citrate, Citric Acid, Gum Acacia, Fruit And Vegetable Juices (For Color), Natural Flavors, Stevia Leaf Extract.|
|Power-C (Dragonfruit)||Reverse Osmosis Water, Erythritol, Less Than 0.5% Of: Vitamins C, B5, B6, B12 (Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, And Cyanocobalamin), Electrolytes (Magnesium And Calcium Lactates And Potassium Phosphate), Taurine, Zinc Gluconate, Chromium Polynicotinate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Stevia Leaf Extract, Vegetable Juices (For Color).|
|Rise (Orange)||Reverse Osmosis Water, Erythritol, Less Than 0.5% Of: Vitamins A, C, E, B3, B5, B6, And B12 (Beta-Carotene, Ascorbic Acid, Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, And Cyanocobalamin), Electrolytes (Calcium And Potassium Phosphates And Calcium And Magnesium Lactates), Zinc Gluconate, Citric Acid, Gum Acacia, Phosphoric Acid, Sorbitol, Glycerol Ester Of Rosin, Natural Flavors, Beta Carotene (For Color), Stevia Leaf Extract.|
Here are my takeaway points on these ingredients:
- Vitamin Water Zero is free of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Most flavored drinks either have a bunch of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Vitamin Water Zero dodges both of these potential negatives—and that’s worth appreciating.
- Vitamin Water Zero is sweetened with erythritol and stevia leaf extract. Erythritol and stevia are natural zero-calorie sweeteners. They have a much better reputation than artificial sweeteners like aspartame. However, there still may be concerns if you’re consuming a lot. We’ll explore that below.
- Vitamin Water Zero has added vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes. Each flavor has different nutrients added, but all seem to have vitamin C, along with B vitamins. Many have vitamin E, selenium, zinc, or others. Don’t rely on these nutrients to replace healthy whole foods in your diet—but I see them as nice extras.
- Vitamin Water Zero has no artificial colors. Many flavored drinks have artificial colors, which are a bit controversial for safety. But Vitamin Water Zero gets its color from fruit and vegetable juice. That seems much safer to me.
- Vitamin Water Zero doesn’t have caffeine. Caffeine can be habit forming, and too much can disrupt sleep. It’s not the worst ingredient, overall—but some of you may be pleased to hear that Vitamin Water Zero doesn’t have it.
- Some flavors of Vitamin Water Zero have phosphoric acid. The “Rise” (Orange) and “Squeezed” (Lemonade) flavors contain phosphoric acid. This acid, commonly found in soda, has been linked to osteoporosis and lower bone density, as well as cavities and tooth decay… So, that’s not great.
- The Power-C flavor of Vitamin Water Zero has taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that may have benefits when taken as a supplement. These benefits may include athletic performance, as well as prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (source)
Overall, Vitamin Water Zero’s ingredients look pretty healthy compared to most drinks—especially if you choose a flavor without phosphoric acid. It doesn’t have the artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or high fructose corn syrup that are found in many drinks.
However, let’s take a closer look at erythritol and stevia in the next section. Can you trust these zero-calorie sweeteners?
2. What Is Vitamin Water Zero Sweetened With?
Vitamin Water Zero is sweetened with erythritol and stevia, which are natural zero-calorie sweeteners. Vitamin Water Zero does not have artificial sweeteners like aspartame, or any form of sugar. Vitamin Water Zero does not have high-fructose corn syrup.
There’s good reason to be concerned about how any drink is sweetened. Most sweeteners have been declared “unhealthy” at some point, by some health authority or other.
Erythritol and stevia (the sweeteners in Vitamin Water Zero) are not nearly as controversial as aspartame or high-fructose corn syrup. So relatively speaking, it’s probably a better choice.
But there are still a few possible concerns with erythritol and stevia (and therefore with Vitamin Water Zero):
- A study that compared stevia to sugar found that blood sugar averages were the same between the two groups. Stevia did not raise blood sugar immediately, but participants who had stevia ate more calories at meals, which raised blood sugar to a similar degree. See more about blood sugar below.
- Excessive consumption of stevia may increase mutagenic DNA damage. Research has found that our gut bacteria can turn stevia into steviol, which is toxic. Accordingly, the World Health Org (WHO) recommends limiting stevia to 4mg/kg of bodyweight per day. That’s about 2 stevia-sweetened drinks a day. (source)
- Erythritol can cause gas and digestion issues for some. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. As such, it may cause some people bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, or other digestive issues. (source)
So, these sweeteners are not necessarily “unhealthy” or “unsafe” in any dramatic sense. But just keep in mind, they can still affect your body, especially if you consume a lot.
Now, let’s take a closer look at that blood sugar issue.
3. Does Vitamin Water Zero Raise Blood Sugar?
Since Vitamin Water Zero is sweetened with erythritol and stevia—not sugar—we’d expect that it doesn’t raise blood-sugar in the short term. It should not cause a “blood sugar spike” after drinking it.
However, whether it will raise your blood-sugar in the long-term is a different question, and a harder one to answer.
As I mentioned above, one study comparing stevia to sugar found that they resulted in the same daily blood-sugar averages. Those who had stevia did not have an immediate blood-sugar spike—but they ate more at meal-time, causing similar blood-sugar averages. (source)
But that’s not all. Some authorities also worry about zero-calorie sweeteners causing blood-sugar issues through a different mechanism.
That is, zero-calorie sweeteners—including natural ones like stevia and erythritol—can decouple sensations of sweet taste from the presence of actual sugar in your meal. This can make it harder for your body to properly “know” when it needs to release insulin in the future.
It’s kind of like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf“: With zero-calorie sweeteners, your brain perceives sweetness, so it starts to prepare for a blood-sugar spike… but then the sugar never comes—it was a false alarm.
So over time, your body stops preparing as much for real sugar when you taste sweetness, and your metabolic response becomes less sensitive and effective.
That’s the theory, anyway. For more detail, you can listen to Susan Swithers, professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University, on the Science Friday podcast. Or read her article in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.
In any case, proceed with caution. If blood-sugar control is crucial for you, don’t assume Vitamin Water Zero is completely safe.
Vitamin Water Zero should be safer than sugary drinks—and probably better than diet drinks with artificial sweeteners, too. But the best choice is probably plain water, or drinks like Hint Water or Bubly, which just have water and natural flavors (no sweetener).
4. Is Vitamin Water Zero Good for Weight Loss?
If you read the nutrition facts label on Vitamin Water Zero, you’ll see it has an estimated zero calories per bottle. That has to be good for weight loss, right?
Here’s one explanation: Zero-calories sweeteners keep you accustomed to sweet foods. So you still get cravings for sweets, and you end up eating more calories from something else. (Other explanations have to do with how these sweeteners may affect gut bacteria.)
What about the specific sweeteners used in Vitamin Water Zero drinks (erythritol and stevia)? Well, the research is not fully conclusive at this point.
If you do some research on erythritol and weight management, you’ll find conflicting claims. Some studies link erythritol to belly fat and weight gain. Meanwhile, other sources emphasize how erythritol can help with weight loss.
Similarly, stevia was found to increase abdominal fat in at least one study—but that was a study of chickens. It also appears that stevia causes most people to eat more calories later in the day. So that could lead to weight gain for some people.
But practically speaking, zero-calorie sweeteners can help you reduce your calorie intake. So for that reason, Vitamin Water Zero can potentially help with weight loss.
Vitamin Water Zero is a good choice for weight loss compared to normal juices and sodas. If you drink soda or other high-calorie beverages now, switching to Vitamin Water Zero could help you reduce your calorie intake. But drinking Vitamin Water Zero will not automatically lead to weight loss.
Weight loss depends on your overall diet and calorie balance. So, if your goal is weight loss, you should consider (A) tracking your calories or (B) following some of these 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories.
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5. Does Vitamin Water Zero Have Caffeine?
Vitamin Water Zero does not contain caffeine. Vitamin Water Zero is not an energy drink. It is not marketed as providing caffeine, and none of the ingredients have caffeine naturally.
- Does Vitamin Water Zero keep you awake? There is no reason Vitamin Water Zero would keep you awake. It is not a stimulant or energy drink. It is caffeine free, and it doesn’t even have sugar.
6. Does Vitamin Water Zero Have Electrolytes?
Vitamin Water Zero does have some electrolytes. Most flavors have vitamin C, along with some calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Some flavors also have vitamin E, selenium, or others.
But Vitamin Water Zero is not an oral rehydration solution. Most flavors do not have large amounts of sodium or potassium like sports drinks.
For more information, see my comparison between Vitamin Water Zero and Gatorade Zero below.
7. Which Kind of Vitamin Water Is the Healthiest?
The healthiest Vitamin Water is likely one of the Zero Sugar flavors that do not contain phosphoric acid. The Power-C flavor of Vitamin Water Zero may be the healthiest of all, as it also has added taurine, which may have health benefits. The XXX Zero Sugar flavor also looks pretty good.
Regular Vitamin Water has about 28 grams of sugar per bottle. That’s quite a lot, considering that the American Heart Association recommends a limit of 25g of sugar per day for women and 36g per day for men.
Keep in mind: No added sugar is needed for human health. The healthiest diet would likely just have some natural sugar from fruit and whole foods. For me, the 28g of sugar in normal Vitamin Water is unacceptable.
In contrast, Vitamin Water Zero is relatively healthy, as we’ve covered in this post. But I’d choose a flavor without phosphoric acid. That ingredient is not great for bone health and dental health, as covered above.
8. Is Vitamin Water Zero Healthier Than Soda?
Vitamin Water Zero is far healthier than regular soda. Most soda has around 40 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can, which is around 160 empty calories. In comparison, Vitamin Water Zero only has no sugar and 0 calories per bottle.
I would much rather drink Vitamin Water Zero than regular soda, from a health perspective:
- The non-caloric sweeteners in Vitamin Water Zero appear to be safe and healthy for the most part—especially if you’re only having a bottle or so per day.
- Vitamin Water Zero has added antioxidants.
- Vitamin Water Zero doesn’t have the artificial colors that many sodas have.
How does Vitamin Water Zero compare to diet sodas like Fresca? Well, most diet sodas have artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame-K.
In contrast, the natural sweeteners in Vitamin Water Zero are considered by many to be safer. Whether they are actually safer is not totally proven, however.
I would venture to say that Vitamin Water Zero is healthier than most diet sodas. But it may depend on the specific diet soda. Zevia is diet soda that is sweetened with stevia, so it’s really quite similar to Vitamin Water Zero, nutritionally.
For the healthiest drinks, you may want to avoid all sweeteners. For example, take a look at Hint Water or Bubly. Those simple, delicious drinks are flavored only with “natural flavors,” no sweeteners at all.
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9. Is Vitamin Water Zero Healthier Than Gatorade Zero?
It’s pretty easy to tell that Vitamin Water Zero is healthier than normal Gatorade. After all, Gatorade has quite a lot of sugar, along with artificial colors. The sugar in Gatorade is excessive for most people’s needs. (source)
But what if you’re choosing Gatorade Zero to avoid the sugar in normal Gatorade? How does it compare to Vitamin Water Zero?
Well, Gatorade Zero is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame-K, two controversial artificial sweeteners. So, it’s the same issue as I mentioned about diet sodas above: The natural sweeteners in Vitamin Water Zero are likely a bit healthier.
If you’re looking for electrolytes to replenish lost fluids, Gatorade Zero may have more to offer in that case… But it still wouldn’t be my choice. I’d prefer BodyArmor Lyte in that case—it’s sweetened with erythritol (like Vitamin Water Zero), not artificial sweeteners.
- Is Vitamin Water Zero a sports drink? Vitamin Water Zero is not typically labeled as a sports drink. It does have some electrolytes, but it doesn’t seem to have much sodium or potassium compared to Gatorade, Powerade, or BodyArmor.
10. Does Vitamin Water Zero Count As Water Intake?
Vitamin Water Zero can count as “water intake.” However, along with reverse osmosis water, Vitamin Water Zero also has stevia, which the World Health Org recommends limiting to 4mg/kg of bodyweight per day. Therefore, you shouldn’t replace all your water intake with Vitamin Water Zero.
As discussed above, stevia could potentially cause mutagenic DNA damage if consumed in excess. Therefore, you should ideally only drink Vitamin Water Zero in moderation—not as a total replacement for water.
But yes, Vitamin Water Zero achieves pretty much everything plain water intake achieves, in moderation. These drinks are still mostly water by volume, after all.
- Is Vitamin Water Zero hydrating? Vitamin Water Zero is mostly water, so it will help with hydration. However, for acute hydration needs, you may want to choose a drink with lots of electrolytes, such as Pedialyte or other oral rehydration solutions.
11. Can You Drink Vitamin Water Zero Every Day?
Most people should be fine drinking Vitamin Water Zero every day. However, the World Health Organization recommends limiting stevia consumption to 4 mg per kg of bodyweight per day. Therefore, you may not want to drink Vitamin Water Zero all day every day.
You may especially want to limit Vitamin Water Zero if you’re having other stevia-sweetened products, too. For example, if you drink a stevia-sweetened protein shake for breakfast and eat a stevia-sweetened energy bar in the afternoon, you may already be at your daily limit.
Again, the main risk of over-consuming stevia is mutagenic DNA damage. So always consider your overall stevia intake per day, and try not to go overboard on a consistent basis.
12. Is Vitamin Water Zero Vegan?
All flavors of Vitamin Water Zero are considered vegan. They have no milk, eggs, honey, or other animal byproducts.
Vitamin Water Zero even avoids the common vegan ambiguity around sugar, since it doesn’t contain sugar. Many flavored drinks have cane sugar that was filtered with animal bone char, which creates a gray area for many vegans.
But not Vitamin Water Zero! It’s fully vegan. And actually, if you have any more questions, I have a whole blog post about the fact that Vitamin Water is vegan.
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