Nutrient additions to novel beverages (vitamin waters, energy drinks, and novel juices) sold in Canadian supermarkets are not much beneficial to the consumer, reveals a new study.
According to the study at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, novel beverages sold in Canadian supermarkets revealed extensive nutrient enrichment.
On-package marketing highlighted nutritional attributes such as immune support and antioxidant properties, and some made claims related to specific nutrients. In addition, nutrients were often juxtaposed with messages related to performance and emotional well-being, benefits that go beyond conventional nutritional science.
The study found extensive micronutrient additions at levels often well in excess of nutrient requirements. The most commonly found nutrients were vitamins B6, B12, C and niacin. With the exception of vitamin of C, young Canadian adults - the likely target group for these products - are already consuming enough of these nutrients to meet their needs.
After novel beverages began being regulated as foods instead of Natural Health Products, their labels changed to meet food labeling requirements, but there was relatively little change in their nutrient composition or marketing.
Researcher Naomi Dachner explained that most of the nutrients permitted for addition are allowable at levels well above nutrient requirements, and, the new guidance is not designed to steer manufacturers towards the addition of nutrients that would address existing nutrient inadequacies in the population.
Dachner said that beverages are required to display Nutrition Facts tables that may facilitate comparisons between products, but this information won't enable consumers to differentiate potentially beneficial nutrient additions from others.
The findings were published today in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.