different flavors of vitamin water bottles on a blue background.

Ask an RD: Is Vitaminwater Good For You?

Don’t cancel your multivitamin subscription.

Fast Facts

  • Vitaminwater isn’t as healthy as its marketing claims may lead you to believe.
  • While Vitaminwater contains added vitamins and minerals, many of these nutrients may not be properly absorbed by your body.
  • Vitaminwater is loaded with added sugar, staking it amongst other sugar-laden sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade.
  • Vitaminwater is free of PFAS or “forever chemicals,” artificial colors and flavors.
  • Although Vitaminwater contains both electrolytes and carbs, it contains lower amounts than other sports drinks, making it an inferior option for fast fuel after a strenuous workout.

After a sweaty workout, you need to refuel. Vitaminwater seems like a solid bet. Each bottle claims to pack different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and flavors like Acai-Blueberry-Pomegranate sound downright healthy. But is Vitaminwater good for you? And how does it stack up to other sports drinks like Gatorade? We tapped registered dietitian Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN, to find out.

What is Vitaminwater?

Vitaminwater is a sports drink brand owned by the Coca-Cola company. Each bottle of Vitaminwater contains water (duh), a unique blend of vitamins (like vitamins A, B, and C) and minerals (like zinc and selenium), and natural colors and flavors.

Many flavors of Vitaminwater are also infused with electrolytes, which makes them a decent choice for rehydrating after a strenuous workout. However, Vitaminwater is also loaded with added sugar—each bottle contains around 31 grams of sugar. Vitaminwater’s “Zero” line subs added sugar for monk fruit and stevia to cut back on sugar and calories.

Is Vitaminwater Good For You?

Not exactly. Vitaminwater is high in sugar, and is likely overkill on added vitamins, but it does have a few redeeming qualities. Here’s how it shakes out:

High in calories and sugar

One 20-ounce bottle of Vitaminwater averages about 120 calories and 31 grams of added sugar—that’s just shy of the American Heart Association’s recommended max intake of 38 grams of sugar per day for men (1).

This stakes Vitaminwater up there with other sugar-laden sports drinks, like Powerade (34 grams of added sugar per bottle) and Gatorade (36 grams). Added sugar—especially from sugar-sweetened beverages—is a major contributor to obesity (2). High sugar intake has been linked to anxiety and depression (3). Plus, excessive amounts of sugar can increase cellular aging, aging you faster (4).

All sugar is bad news, but sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the worst ways to indulge, according to Costa. “Sugar in liquid form impacts our body differently than sugar in solid foods. Due to the lack of nutrients, unsatiating nature, and quick absorption, it can lead to overeating, rapid blood sugar spikes, and an increase in fat production and storage, which can contribute to various health issues,” she explains. For example, blood glucose variability (extreme highs and lows) can predispose you to diabetes (5).

There is some merit to Vitaminwater’s high sugar content: “Vitaminwater can serve as a quick source of carbohydrates. For people working out longer than 60 minutes or doing high-intensity exercise, a drink like Vitaminwater can be beneficial to replace lost nutrients and energy,” explains Costa.

Made with essential vitamins

Vitaminwater contains a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many flavors contain a mix of the following:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamins B5, B6, and B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Taurine
  • Zinc
  • Chromium
  • Citric acid
  • Electrolytes (like calcium, magnesium lactate, and potassium phosphate)

Unfortunately, vitamins and minerals aren’t always as bioavailable (6)—or as easy for your body to absorb—in an isolated micronutrient profile like Vitaminwater. Most vitamins and supplements are delivered in a pill for a reason: It provides stability, protecting active ingredients from degradation before they’re absorbed, explains Costa. “This format also allows for a controlled release of the contained vitamins or medication over time, aligning with the body’s natural absorption rates, maximizing utility and minimizing loss.”

Free of PFAS

We get why Vitaminwater specifies its use of reverse osmosis water. “Reverse osmosis involves filtering out impurities using a semi-permeable membrane, resulting in extremely pure and safe water,” says Costa. Reverse osmosis technology is generally the best bet for removing harmful substances like per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from water.

Sometimes called “forever chemicals,” PFAS are a family of thousands of manmade, synthetic chemicals that don’t break down easily in the environment or in your body. A number of PFAS such as PFOA and PFOS have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer, obesity, and hormone disruption (7). PFAS have been detected in tap water, as well as several brands of bottled still and sparkling water. With Vitaminwater, you’re in the clear.

Contains natural colors and flavors

Vitaminwater turns to fruit and vegetable juices for added color. This is an upgrade from products like Gatorade and Powerade which are swarming with artificial food dyes, like red dye 40. Although the World Health Organization claims red 40 does not present a health concern (8), it contains benzidine—a known human carcinogen permitted in food products in low amounts (9).

You’ll also find natural flavors at the bottom of Vitaminwaters ingredients list. Natural flavors come directly from plant or animal sources, as opposed to artificial flavors which are originally sourced from chemicals. However, since the FDA hasn’t defined the term natural, it can be used to describe almost any type of food (10). In other words, natural flavors aren’t always unhealthy, but they may be more processed than you think.

Contains electrolytes

Vitaminwater is formulated with a blend of three electrolytes: calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that help with everything from regulating muscle and nerve function to maintaining pH levels and balancing fluids. During a sweaty workout, your body can lose some of these essential minerals, so replenishing them is key.

That said, Costa points out that the electrolyte concentration of Vitaminwater is relatively low for a sports drink. Vitaminwater is sodium-free, yet sodium is a key electrolyte that you’ll want to replenish after a tough workout. High sodium electrolyte supplements (500 mg per serving and up) are ideal if you’re running a marathon or doing hours of physical labor on a hot day, registered dietitian Valerie Gately, MS, RDN, LD, previously told The Edge. For day-to-day electrolyte supplementation, she recommends looking for 250 mg of sodium or less.

Does Vitaminwater Have Artificial Sweeteners?

Nope. Both Vitaminwater and Vitaminwater Zero are free of artificial sweeteners. Vitaminwater is sweetened with cane sugar and crystalline fructose—which is naturally sweeter than regular sugar.

Vitaminwater Zero was previously sweetened with erythritol and stevia, but as of March 2023, they swapped the erythritol for monk fruit. The switch was likely due to new research that appeared in Nature Medicine, which found that erythritol, a popular artificial sweetener, is linked to a greater risk of blood clots that could lead to heart attacks or strokes, per Costa (11). Monk fruit and stevia are plant-derived, ‘natural’ sweeteners that have been shown to be safe for human consumption.

Is Vitamin Water a Good Source of Vitamins?

Vitaminwater doesn’t hold a candle to a multivitamin or real, whole foods. “The vitamins and minerals in Vitaminwater are largely synthetic, and their bioavailability pales in comparison to those naturally occurring in whole foods,” says Costa. For example, fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K are best absorbed alongside dietary fat, which isn’t found in Vitaminwater. You’ll absorb these vitamins better if you drink Vitaminwater alongside a healthy, fatty snack like a handful of almonds.

Is Vitaminwater Healthier Than Gatorade?

“Vitaminwater and Vitaminwater Zero are healthier than certain sports drinks like Gatorade, which typically contain artificial sweeteners and dyes,” says Costa. Vitaminwater also saves you a few grams of added sugar (31 grams versus Gatorade’s 36), making it the healthier option for most people. “However, Vitaminwater contains lower electrolyte concentrations and fewer carbohydrates than most sports drinks, making it a less ideal choice for extremely active individuals who have higher nutrient needs, such as athletes.”

Pros & Cons of Vitaminwater


  • For the average person, Vitaminwater is a better option than Gatorade or Powerade since it contains less added sugar and avoids artificial colors and flavors.
  • Vitaminwater is free of PFAS or “forever chemicals.”


  • Vitaminwater is packed with added sugar, which most of us should aim to stay away from.
  • The vitamins and minerals in Vitaminwater might not be properly absorbed by your body.
  • Vitaminwater contains less carbs and electrolytes than other sports drinks making it an inferior option for athletes looking to refuel fast.

About the Expert: Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN, is an esteemed authority in the field of nutrition, holding a Master of Science and registered dietitian nutritionist credentials. As the founder and chief executive officer of Nutrition Insights LLC and its primary online platform, Dietitian Insights, Costa is driven to translate pioneering research into practical applications for clinical practice and public comprehension.