Is Vitamin Water Vegan? How To Know The Difference

Is Vitamin Water Vegan? Wow, what a workout – I just ran 10 miles in my fastest time ever…okay, maybe I didn’t do that. I did, however, just work out, and what could be better for me after my workout than a thirst-quenching and hydrating Sports Drink or maybe some Vitamin Water? Also, when I start to feel under the weather, what do I do but go out and buy some “immune support” Vitamin Water written on it? If you are like me and do either of these things you are not alone – 49% of Americans drink sports drinks before, during, or after workouts. The popularity of Vitamin Water alone made 50 Cent (yes, the rapper), into a Billionaire when Coca-Cola bought Vitamin Water from Glacéau for $4.1 billion – 50 Cent had a minority stake in the company.

This begs the question what are Vitamin Drinks and Sports Drinks? Are they the same thing? What goes into them? And most importantly are Vitamin Waters and Sports Drinks vegan?

Is Vitamin Water Vegan?

As a general rule, most Vitamin Waters and Sports Drinks are vegan. Glacéau’s Vitamin Water here in the US is vegan. Also Gatorade, Powerade and Propel Fitness Water are all listed on PETA’S list of approved vegan beverages. Potential non-vegan ingredients to watch out for in vitamin waters are D vitamins (as they often contain Lanolin as is the case with Sparkling Ice), sugar processed with bone char, artificial colors, and natural flavors.

Vitamin Water vs Sports Drinks – What is the difference?

What is the difference between vitamin water and sports drinks? They are the same thing, right? Whilst researching for this blog I found one of the hardest things was working out the difference. However, I think I worked it out.

Is Vitamin Water Vegan? – Work-Out Vs Not Working Out

In short, vitamin water is water that has been enriched with vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals. Sports drinks are the same, but they tend to be higher calories for energy-boosting effects. Sports drinks are then designed for pre or post-workout activities. Whereas Vitamin Water can be drunk at any time of the day. I’ll break down both drinks below.

Vitamin Water

Vitamin Water is (roughly) 99.5% water that is then enriched with vitamins and minerals. To make the drinks more interesting they are also usually flavored and colored to produce a range of drinking options.

The most well-recognized vitamin water on the market is Glaceau’s Vitamin Water (that’s the one 50 Cent had a minority stake in). Other main players include Propel (owned by PepsiCo), Danone, Talking Rain (which makes Sparkling Ice – which is not vegan), and Vitamin Well (Swedish vitamin water).

Are you not just into Vitamin Water?

Do you like a “healthier” drink like a cup of orange juice every morning? Do you regularly drink green tea, matcha, or Kombucha? What if I told you that the orange juice you are drinking may not be vegan? Want to learn why? Then check out some of my other pieces:

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – What are Vitamins?

Is Vitamin Water Vegan

At this point in time, you may be wondering what a “vitamin” is. It is a sensible question. Vitamins according to Medical News Today are organic compounds needed in small quantities that are needed for bodies to function. Most vitamins come from foods and are substances that the body cannot produce or produces very little (hence the need to consume more).

There are 13 essential vitamins made up of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, and a further 8 vitamins in the B complex. Vitamins can be either Water-Soluble or Fat-Soluble. Water-Soluble vitamins include Vitamin C and all B Vitamins. Because of their water-soluble nature, these vitamins are not stored in the body for long and leave the body via urine. That’s why you can take a lot of vitamin C – too much and your body just gets rid of it.

Fat-Soluble vitamins include Vitamins A, D, E, and K. These types of vitamins are stored in fatty tissues and the liver. They can be stored in the body for longer periods of time.

What additional vitamins are added?

The main vitamins that tend to be found in vitamin waters are B vitamins and vitamin C. Some vitamin waters also have minerals added to them. For example, Glacéau Vitamin Water adds additional minerals, but Sparkling Ice does not.

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – What are Minerals?

Is Vitamin Water Vegan

You are probably wondering now what are minerals and how are they different from vitamins, right? Minerals are similar to vitamins in that they are essential substances that bodies need to function properly, but which our bodies are not able to produce or produce too little of. The difference is that vitamins are organic substances (made by plants or animals), whereas minerals are inorganic elements found in the soil or water. Examples include calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Minerals are essentially those things called ”electrolytes” in sports drinks and vitamin waters. They are called electrolytes, not because they are electric (see what I did there), but because when they are dissolved in water they produced charged particles called ions.  

When you exercise you lose a lot of minerals through sweating. Sweat too much and don’t drink any water and you will become dehydrated. Sports drinks and some vitamin waters that are high in electrolytes will promote themselves as helping you replace lost water and electrolytes after a workout. Some of these electrolytes even help with muscle contractions which is why they are important to replace. If you want to learn more about what they do check out this Cedars Sinai article.

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – Work Out Vs Non-Work Drinks

That said, vitamin waters such as Glacéau are not really marketed as being a drink for after exercising or for post-exercise rehydration and recovery. Two brands that are marketed like this are Powerade and Gatorade (they are the drinks you see being poured over football coaches).

Vitamin waters are positioned more as flavored waters with the added benefits of vitamins and minerals. Sports drinks on the other hand are marketed as functional drinks to drink after exercise to replace water, electrolytes, and energy. It is a little confusing, but don’t worry I am going to cover both sets of drinks in this blog.

Are Vitamin Waters and Sports Drinks Vegan?

Whatever you want to call them, we are going to look at six of the most popular vitamin waters/sports drinks on the market and ask that all-important question – are they vegan?

Vitamin/Sports Drink Brand
(Links to Amazon Listings Included)
Is It Vegan?
Glacéau Yes – except for Vitamin Water Zero and Multi V (both contain Vitamin D from Lanolin)
Propel WaterYes
Sparkling IceNo

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – Glacéau Vitamin Water

Is Vitamin Water Vegan

Owned by Coca-Cola, Glacéau Vitamin Water is probably the most well-recognized vitamin water on the market. According to YouGov, it is the 60th most popular drink in America. It is positioned as an ‘enhanced water’ that is designed to fill the gap between soda and water – it hydrates and replenishes vitamins that people may be low in. It is flavored, colored, and contains both vitamins and electrolytes. Some of the flavors have functional names like Revive, Refresh, Focus, Energy, and Reset depending on the vitamin content.

Is Glacéau Vitamin Water Vegan?

Coca-cola has issued a statement that the “vast majority” of their drinks are vegan. The two exceptions are Glacéau Vitamin Water Zero Sunshine and Multi V. These contain Vitamin D which may have been sourced from Lanolin in sheep’s wool. These two flavors are not available in the US (only in Great Britain), making all Vitamin Waters in the US vegan.

My research seems to confirm the above. I could not find anything that implies Glacéau Vitamin Water in the US is not vegan.

Glaceau multi-pack of vitamin water (Acai-Blueberry, Fruit Punch, Dragonfruit, Orange) is available on Amazon here.

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – Gatorade 

Owned by PepsiCo, Gatorade really is the leader of the sports drinks category in the US with a market share of 67.7%. According to YouGov, it is the 15th most popular beverage in America. It was created back in 1965 at the University of Florida by scientists to help their football team called the Gators – hence the name Gatorade. Gatorade’s positioning is very much like an electrolyte beverage (particularly sodium) – it does not have added vitamins.

Is Gatorade Vegan?

Let’s start by looking at Gatorade’s ingredient list. There are a few ingredients that vegans could be concerned with: sugar (could be processed with bone char), natural flavors (could be derived from animals – although that is very unlikely), and artificial colors (often tested on animals).

You may be pleased to know that Gatorade does have an organic range of sports drinks. These contain organic cane sugar (organic sugar will not be processed with bone char and is therefore vegan), do not contain any colors, and also only contain organic natural flavor (we can’t know exactly what this organic natural flavor is but it can’t be dairy-based as this would have to list as an allergen).

In summary, the Organic Gatorade range seems most likely to be vegan. PETA also lists Gatorade as vegan on their approved beverage list. The PETA-approved beverage list just lists “Gatorade” – it is not clear if this is a reference to the whole Gatorade range or if it includes sub-ranges such as G zero.

You can try Gatorade Organic from Amazon here.

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – Powerade

Powerade was launched in 1988 by Coca-cola. It is Gatorade’s biggest competitor (although Gatorade still by far has the greatest share of the sports drinks market). According to YouGov America Powerade is the 44th most popular drink in the US. Powerade is also flavored and contains electrolytes like Gatorade. However, unlike Gatorade, it also contains added vitamins (mainly B vitamins – B vitamins play a role in energy metabolism). Coca-Cola has now given the Glacéau management team full control of Powerade.

Is Powerade Vegan?

Looking at the ingredients of Powerade, the original 14 Powerade flavors are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (so no bone char issue there). The potential non-vegan ingredients are natural flavors (although if this was dairy it would have to be listed as an allergen), and artificial colors as artificial colors are often routinely tested on animals.

The Powerade Zero Sugar range contains sucralose which can be tested on animals.

The good news is that “Powerade” is on PETA’s list of approved vegan beverages. It is not clear if this is just in relation to the original 14 flavors of Powerade or if this also includes sub-ranges like Powerade zero sugar, Powerade Ultra, etc.

A variety pack of Powerade is available on Amazon here.

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – Propel Fitness Water

Propel Fitness Water was created by Gatorade in 2002. It was designed for those who wanted “a lightly flavored hydration option with added vitamins but no artificial colors”. Propel is Gatorade’s more vitamin-focused water (remember Gatorade isn’t focused on adding vitamins – just electrolytes). Propel Fitness Water, in comparison, contains both electrolytes and vitamins.

Is Propel Fitness Water Vegan?

As Propel Fitness Water does not contain artificial colors you don’t need to worry about these.

The good news is that Propel Fitness Water is listed on PETA’S list of approved vegan beverages.

A variety pack of Propel Fitness Water is available on Amazon here.

Finally, if you would like to learn more about Propel Water you can read more about it in the post I wrote here.

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – Sparkling Ice

Sparkling Ice was launched in 1987 in Washington and this vitamin water is positioned differently from the above drinks. It is positioned as a ‘fizzy fruit sparkling water’. Unlike the above drinks, it contains some juice, and it is naturally colored. Six of the flavors contain a small amount of caffeine. Sparkling Ice has added vitamins and antioxidants and unlike the above drinks, no electrolytes are added.

Is Sparkling Ice Vegan?

Sparkling Ice is not vegan. Sparkling Ice has the below statement on the FAQ page of their website –

Is Sparkling Ice Vegan?

Sparkling Ice is not vegan. There is a very small amount of Lanolin in the vitamin blend. Lanolin is a by-product of sheared wool.”

I guess that clears that up. Not vegan.

Is Vitamin Water Vegan – Lucozade

Anybody living in the UK will be very familiar with Lucozade. I mostly decided to include this one on the list because as a child I was force-fed Lucozade by my mother who thought it was a cure-all to any illness…seriously.

Lucozade was started in 1927 by a Newcastle pharmacist and it is now the UK’s number-one sports drink. It was originally associated as a drink to give to sick people (which may explain why my mum in the UK always gave it to me when I was sick) but it was re-branded as a sports drink in 1983 to associate it with health rather than sickness.

Some of the main ingredients in Lucozade Energy are water, sugar, and caffeine – Lucozade Energy is not really designed as a sports drink – Lucozade Energy is really for boosting energy through carbohydrates and caffeine.

The Lucozade Sports range in comparison contains electrolytes to enhance hydration, as well as containing added B vitamins.

Is Lucozade Vegan?

This one is super easy. Lucozade is vegan. Lucozade states the following on its website:

Is Lucozade Energy Suitable for a Vegetarian and Vegan Diet?

All our drinks are suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets. We do not use any animal-derived ingredients in our drinks or during the manufacturing process.”

Lucozade Energy original is available on Amazon here and Lucozade Sports Orange is available on Amazon here.

Is Vitamin Water or Sports Drink Vegan – The Final Sip

Is Vitamin Water Vegan

I legitimately don’t think I will be able to look at a Vitamin Water or Sports Drink in the same way again. Although I now seem to understand the difference between the two. Writing this blog seemed a lot more like a science project than anything else – we covered electrolytes, minerals, and vitamins. It was a journey. All too often things can be labeled as healthy (or we just associate them as being “a healthier choice”) but don’t really know what they do. Knowledge truly is power…and even if Lucozade is vegan, I am never having it again…ever (sorry Lucozade you can blame my mum for that one).

Is Vitamin Water Vegan

…now you know.

Beverage makers may change ingredients and/or manufacturing processes. Always double-check ingredients before purchasing any beverages.

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Editorial Team

The Vegan Bev HQ Editorial Team - helping you find the best vegan drink out there!

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