There is a new drink on the market today, which classifies itself as a “natural health product” and it seems to have a lot of people mesmerized by its attractive packaging and catchy health claims. It seems that Coca-Cola is wanting to get deeper into the health food market and perhaps compete with Pepsi’s SoBe drinks, but they go about it in their usual catchy, yet far from healthy ways. The latest addition from Coca-Cola is their latest acquisition of of Fuze drinks.
These drinks seem to be all the rave with many people today, especially high school and college students. The bottles are sleek and funky looking. The images are fresh, vibrant and healthy looking. And the health claims are just about what everyone wants to hear. But what is inside this bottle, and can we really call it healthy, never mind naturally healthy?
Fuze is marketed in a very creative way by making individual “lines” of the drink. Personalizing an item to specific groups in the population always helps to sell it better, as most of us know by now. There are 4 lines: Refresh, Vitalize, Green Tea (Canada) and Tea (US) and Shape (Canada) and Slenderize (US). Each of the lines comes in a variety of flavors, sure to suit everyone’s taste buds no doubt.
So how did I like it? I didn’t even bother tying it. A student once brought in a bottle of this drink and asked my opinion on it. After taking a look at the ingredient label, I knew immediately it was not a drink I was willing to put in my body, even if it was for a review. Hence, that is how I obtained an empty bottle of Fuze Shape Tropical Punch.
So, I cannot comment for you on the flavor of this or any other one of their drinks, as I would never put this drink in my body for reasons explained below.
The bottle looks attractive. The colors are vibrant and the health claims, which focus on vitamins and minerals make it very tempting. The calories are also kept so low. Interesting… So is anyone checking what these drinks are sweetened with? Artificial sweeteners of course.
This particular kind, claims to have only 15 calories (I am assuming for the whole 547mL size). The only way to keep calories so low on a fruit drink is to sweeten it artificially. The 2 sweeteners they use are Acesulfame-Potassium and Sucralose – the famous chlorinated sugar. Now if you are unaware of the health implications of these 2 substances on your health, check out my quick guide to artificial sweeteners.
The drink states in super tiny letters on the front that it is a “naturally flavored enhanced real fruit beverage” – notice it cannot even qualify as a “juice”. All of the drinks have various vitamins and minerals added to them and this particular variety focuses on the addition of chromium. It has a huge health claim regarding this that states “chromium helps the body to metabolize carbohydrates and fats.” Naturally this claim can only mean one thing to the average person out there – “it is going to help me (hopefully not make me) lose weight.”
Well, I have to say wishful thinking and lucrative advertising do not quite stand up against science.
The AI (adequate intake) for chromium in our diets is 25mcg for females and 35mcg for males. This drink provides 41mcg, so it meets the minimum and no this value is not harmful, unless you regularly drink bottles of this a day, although no UL (upper limit) has yet been set for chromium. The label directs not to drink more than 5 bottles per day.
Various scientific research exists today on chromium, but in the end there is generally speaking inconclusive evidence on how and whether chromium actually helps in glucose metabolism. Studies have noted that chromium supplementation “has no effect on serum glucose and insulin concentrations in healthy individuals.” There is a little more of an affect seen in diabetics, but no diabetic should be experimenting with chromium without professional medical advice. In general chromium supplementation will not help you lose weight or gain muscle (as some sports magazines claim).
Another key ingredient in this drink is Garcinia Cambogia Rind Extract. This substance is rich in hydroxy acid and has many claims of helping suppress appetite and helping people lose weight. To date studies are debated on whether this plant extract actually helps people lose weight. Check out the following article for more details. The standard dose for any results appears to be 500 – 1000mg. This drink contains 450mg.
The drink states that it is not recommended for children, pregnant or breast feeding women.
So although this drink and the whole line of Fuze is geared toward health, it is not natural health. For those people who are too busy to eat proper fruits and vegetables each day and who do not mind putting harmful chemicals in their body, then the drink is great. However, if you are health conscious and adopt a natural health lifestyle, that is not based on processed food and chemicals, then this drink is not for you.
- 41mcg Chromium Polynicotinate
- 137mg Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- 450mg Garcinia Cambogia Rind Extract
- Filtered water
- Concentrated Fruit juices (pineapple and mango)
- Malic Acid
- Concentrated Purple Carrot Juice (Color)
- Natural Flavor
- Because this is classified as a natural health product, in Canada it does not require a nutrition facts label
- The product generally speaking is sugar free, sodium free, fat free, protein free, low on calories and has some vitamin C and chromium
The drink comes in 547mL plastic #1 (PETE) bottle. It can be easily recycled, especially that the makers did not attach the label using adhesives. This makes both bottle and label recyclable, as the labels usually get cut off from the bottles for proper recycling.
Price (as of this posting)
- Around $2-$3 CDN/US per 547ml bottle
- In Canada and the US in local supermarkets, grocery stores, variety stores and more
- Fuze also sells products in Asia, South America, Europe and the Caribbean
- Check out Fuze.ca and Fuze.com for more details
- No artificial colors
- No artificial flavors
- No caffeine
- Ingredients found on product label
- Fortified with vitamin C and chromium
- Recyclable packaging
- Artificially sweetened
- Contains Acesulfame-Potassium
- Contains Sucralose
- Synthetically added vitamins and minerals
- Unreliable “Natural flavors”
- Unhealthy packaging
- May give people wrong impression when it comes to weight loss
- May give people wrong impression when it comes to carbohydrate and fat metabolism
- No nutritional information on product