Wednesday, May 23, 2007

VitaminWater-- b-relaxed

Yesterday, I rambled a bit about the advertising trend wherein every type of sugar water on the market has suddenly become a miracle cure-all. Then I drank a VitaminWater. Why? For you, my readers. (Did you see the light glint off of my teeth as I smiled after saying that? It was beautiful.) OK, OK, it was also for my own edification. Anyway, here's what I found.

The first thing I noticed about the VitaminWater is its appearance. There's an eye-grabbing (but not overstated) lime/chartreuse green stripe across the bottle. The graphic design is pleasing. However, the color is absolutely le ick, a translucent peach tone that is wholly unnatural. Already, I was dreading this beverage.

I soon found that this fear was justified. The product's full name is "b-relaxed: jackfruit-guava (b+theanine)." Theanine is, of course, the chemical in tea that makes it so relaxing. (It increases the production of alpha waves in the brain, stimulating left-right brain connectivity and creating a sense of euphoria. You can also get this effect from meditation, yoga, and massage.) Jackfruit and guava are tropical fruits that (when made into almost anything) are sickeningly sweet. This drink is no exception. Crystalline fructose (read: sugar) is the third ingredient. Actually, if you really read the label, it may as well be the second ingredient, as it follows two different types of water. Do we really need to kid ourselves that there's any less sugar because it follows water and . . . water? I think not.

So, the flavor was bad. But what about it's supposed health benefits? Did I "b-relaxed" after I drank it? Nope. I waited to read the label until after I had given it a chance to do anything remotely resembling the effect I get from tea. Nothing (except a slight sugar buzz and sleepy feeling after the buzz passed). Then I checked the label. The theanine is synthesized. I felt very lied to, and not at all euphoric. Go figure.

Here's a summary of my experience with b-relaxed:
beverage color--gross
taste--gross/overly sweet
labeling deception factor--high
"health effects"--poor
overall impression--thoroughly unimpressed

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