Is That Right? 7-Up "Antioxidant"
The copy advertising new Cherry 7-Up Antioxidant says, "There's never been a more delicious way to cherry pick your antioxidant."
That's antioxidant, singular.
The drink's Web site calls the product a "healthy boost" whose "splash of antioxidant" will "help you through your day."
The antioxidant at hand is Vitamin E, of which an 8-ounce serving of Cherry 7-Up provides 10 percent of the Daily Value. Like other antioxidants, Vitamin E is thought to help protect against heart disease and cancer by interfering with the activity of unfettered oxygen particles -- free radicals -- that roam your body, causing inflammation and other damage.
But not all Vitamin E is created equal. Studies have shown that Vitamin E in supplement form (as in this 7-Up; more on that in a moment) doesn't offer protection against cardiovascular disease or cancer; one study in 2004 even showed that very high doses of Vitamin E supplements increased risk of death, though only by a tiny bit. And more recent research suggests that taking Vitamin E supplements may diminish the benefits of exercise.
So it's generally recommended that we get the 20-odd daily milligrams (the Daily Value is 30 International Units) of Vitamin E we need from such food sources as almonds, wheat germ and leafy greens.
None of which are to be found in Cherry 7-Up Antioxidant. The product, though it is said to be naturally flavored, contains no juice, according to its label. And the ingredient list includes Vitamin E acetate, a man-made supplement.
It's hard to figure why its makers cherry-picked Vitamin E -- and why they didn't toss in other popular antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A while they were at it. At least then they could have touted antioxidants, plural.
In any case, whether you buy it sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or the artificial sweetener Splenda, 7-Up has no nutritional value. But I have to wonder whether adding the antioxidant is a move intended to sidestep a soda tax, should one materialize. Would highly sweetened sodas be exempt from such a tax if their makers could argue that because they contain an antioxidant, they were a source of nutrition and not just another cause of obesity?
Food for thought.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
October 2, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Is That Right? , Nutrition and Fitness
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