Coca Cola can no longer claim Vitaminwater health benefits, settlement says

WASHINGTON– Coca Cola is prohibited from making health claims related to its Vitaminwater product after the final approval of a settlement agreement, following a yearslong legal dispute.

“This Vitaminwater settlement is good news for consumers,” said Jeff Cronin, director of communications for the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a litigant in the case.”CoCa Cola was making all kinds of health claims on Vitaminwater.”

Some of the statements said, for example: “vitamins + water = all you need,” and “this combination of zinc and fortifying vitamins can … keep you healthy as a horse.”

Other statements suggested the drinks could reduce the risk of chronic disease, reduce the risk of eye disease, promote healthy joints and support what was called “optimal immune function.”

Those health claims were dropped from labels during the course of a court case that was filed in 2009.

In addition to forbidding health claims, the settlement also dictates that the words “added sugars” be added to two places on the drink’s labels. Cronin says a 20 ounce bottle of most Vitaminwater varieties has about eight teaspoons of added sugar.

“Sugary drinks are strongly linked with weight gain, diabetes and even heart disease,” Cronin notes.

The American Heart Association recommends men not consume more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day. For women, no more than six teaspoons.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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