Nutrient-enhanced water drinks, which claims to have rich health benefits, are just 'expensive lolly water', according to a new study.
A consumer group, Choice, said some of the drinks, with names such as Nutrient Water, Smart Water and Vitamin Water, contain enough sugar in a 500 millilitre bottle to provide the average woman with a third of her recommended daily intake.
It said many of the nutrient-enhanced drinks spruik "over-the-top health claims" touting "nature approved ingredients" and "natural flavours" that mean little.
Choice spokeswoman, Ingrid Just, said the labeling on several nutrient drinks created the impression they are healthy when often an apple and a glass of water is more beneficial.
"The marketing of these products is often quite tongue-in-cheek, and we are not against creative copy, but when it comes to possibly misleading consumers about the health benefits of these drinks ... that's when we start to get concerned," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Just, as saying.
The Choice review highlighted Nutrient Water Cranberry Grapefruit Multi-Vitamin as an example of an exaggerated health claim, saying its label suggested the drink has the same benefits as eight hours' sleep, a bowl of steamed greens and pre-dawn power walks.
But Luke Marget, of Nutrient Water, said the Choice claims were baseless.
"We strongly believe that Nutrient Water has not made exaggerated health claims," he said.
Marget said claims that enhanced waters were nothing but "lolly water" were both damaging and misleading.
"We believe Nutrient Water provides consumers with a healthy alternative to water; it does contain sugar but it contains sugar for taste and for providing energy for active consumers," added Marget.