Vitaminwater has started replacing some of the sugar in its drinks with stevia, a natural, no-calorie sugar substitute, the Huffington Post reports.
Fans aren’t happy. They have taken to Facebook to say the updated version of the drink, packaged in bottles that now say “naturally sweetened,” tastes like “chemicals,” “bug spray,” and “cough syrup.”
The drinks now contain slightly less sugar but have the same number of calories, HuffPost notes.
While swapping some sugar for stevia might give the appearance of a healthier drink, there’s some dispute about whether stevia is actually much better for you than real sugar.
Stevia is natural in that it’s derived from a plant, but some studies have shown that people who regularly consume sugar substitutes might be more at risk for health problems associated with excess sugar.
Even with the stevia added in, Vitaminwater drinks still contain a high amount of sugar. The label for Vitaminwater’s popular XXX flavour shows that the drink contains 32 grams of sugar, or 31 grams in the stevia formulation. That would put you over the World Health Organisation’s daily recommended amount of sugar.
Steve Gardner, litigation director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told HuffPost: “It’s still a high-sugar soft drink. Now it’s just junk plus stevia.”
The remaining inventory of Vitaminwater with real sugar is expected to be sold off by later this month.
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