The Misleading Vitaminwater Effect

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Over the years, corporations have shown a nasty habit of misleading consumers for commercial gain — especially when it comes to the “diet” industry. As U.S. culture becomes more and more obsessed with shedding pounds, new and supposedly “healthier” grocery aisle fare has gone mainstream. But are these diet and fat-free versions of practically everything — from soda to microwave popcorn to meat — really better for you?

The answer? A resounding “No way!” from health and nutrition specialists everywhere.

In reality, manufacturers remove the fat to get that “fat-free” label, but don’t tell you they’re dumping in a whole bunch of other vile things — like high fructose corn syrup or scary-for-your-body chemicals — to replace that missing fat and retain flavor. Not a great solution.

Check out these common offenders:

Yes, Vitaminwater does contain fortified vitamins. But despite flavors like “Revive” or “Balance,” Vitaminwater is chock-full of sugar and carbs, without any actual juice. An average bottle of Vitaminwater has 33 grams of sugar. That’s more than a 12-oz Coke! Coca-Cola was even sued on the grounds that Vitaminwater was masquerading as a “health” drink. What should you drink instead? Good ‘ol water, plain and simple. Add some real lemon, lime, or even strawberries to flavor it up.

Fat-Free Microwave Popcorn:
Microwave popcorn seems like the real deal. I mean, eating fat-free popcorn basically feels like eating little puffs of air. Sadly, life is never that easy. The lining from a bag of microwave popcorn is actually full of chemicals — which can leach out into the popcorn after it’s been heated. It might sound over-cautionary, but multiple studies have found the presence of chemicals like PFOA, which is linked to infertility. Try to pop your own instead.

Tips that’ll keep your body happy:

Check the label:
Watch for serving sizes, which can be super misleading. If the serving size is 2.5 per one bottle, make sure you’re multiplying it out. Unless you’re taking baby sips, that 13 grams of sugar is going to turn into 30 grams really fast.

Eat, then shop:
Always grocery shop after you’ve eaten. If you’re starving, you’re more likely to reach for three boxes of those sugar-packed Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies. Perhaps not the best idea you’ve ever had.

Clean it up:
Try your hand at clean eating. Look at the ingredient list on frozen or processed foods. Is the list a mile long? Can you only pronounce 30% of the stuff? Do your body a favor and skip it.

Moderation is your best friend:
Have a craving for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Late Night Snack? Don’t deny yourself. Just try not to eat the whole pint in one sitting.

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