PhotoAs many already may know, Omega-3 fatty acids, found in some seafood and plant oils, are really good for you. Many experts say they increase heart health, improves cholesterol levels and can even help with high blood pressure.

In fact, a new study conducted by the American Academy of Neurology shows that Omega-3 can even reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Many consumers who are health conscious simply take a daily gel-cap or two for the health benefits. But now a company claims that by drinking its newly released beverage, consumers can get  Omega-3 in one tall  cool drink of water.

Omega3Water comes in two different flavors, Orange Kiwi and Bold Berry, which both contain 20,000 mcg of Omega-3.

The beverage is also supposed to lack the fish flavor one often gets when consuming Omega-3s, since the additive is extracted from flax seed.

Core nutrients

"Omega-3 is one of the core nutrients to a healthy lifestyle," said Omega3Water's inventor Ed Beja.  "As more people become health conscious, we start to see supplements with Omega-3 (like fish oil), flying off shelves. We needed a way to incorporate more Omega-3 into our daily routine."

Claiming to provide a dose of Omega-3 is one thing. Making health claims for the water ... well, that's something else. Brands like POM Wonderful  and Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats are being brought up on lawsuits for making allegedly false health claims and agencies like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have created a long trail of litigation, sanctions and penalties against companies claiming health benefits that are not scientifically documented.

So, consumers should be wary of any new dietary supplement -- be it food, drink or tablet -- that makes health claims.

Dietary supplements are largely unregulated and don't go through the kind of rigorous testing that drugs are subjected to. However, while it's legal to sell supplements, making claims that can't be supported can get a company or promoter in hot, Omega-3-free water.

The Omega3Water site lists many of the benefits of Omega-3 without coming right out and saying the product delivers these benefits. 

Legalities aside

But legalities aside, do consumers really receive health benefits when nutrients are added to drinking water, especially when they're laced with other unhealthy additives?

If you look at the ingredients in the Omega water it has a pretty decent dollop  of sugar (13 grams) and a calorie count of 45 for an eight-ounce serving.

Obviously, there are other flavored waters with way more sugar, but if a health drink has added sweeteners in it, is it still a health drink?

Sugary drinks are much easier to consume in large numbers, which can cancel out any health benefits that the Omega-3 water may provide. Instead of drinking the water for its Omega-3 content, consumers could start drinking the product for its pleasing sugary taste.

In 2009 a class action lawsuit was filed against Coca-Cola, for claiming its Vitaminwater product had a number of health benefits. In the company's defense, lawyers for Coca-Cola stated the following: "No consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage."

That statement alone should make one leery of drinking a manufactured water product that claims to have a bunch of health benefits.

The mega-soda-company tried to have the suit dismissed but was unsuccessful.

Can the liquid calories

John Robbins, who is author of the two books "Diet for a New America" and "The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less," says if one truly wants to become healthier and lose weight, they must abstain from consuming liquid calories and sugar based drinks, regardless if only a little bit of sugar is added.

In other words sugar, calories and vitamins should be on the opposite ends of the nutrient spectrum, not side by side.

Robbins also says the best way to get proper nutrients is to go to the actual source. Instead of drinking a beverage rich in B12 for example, you're much better off consuming a portion of eggs or fish, which are loaded with the important vitamin.

Also if you notice, many products on the market claim to be rich in vitamins. It's sort of the new marketing angle for a lot of companies. Everything from sweetened cereals to 5-hour energy drinks claim to have some sort of health component.

Now does that mean Omega3Water doesn't have any health benefits at all?

Maybe not, but if it's really Omega-3 you're after, it's a lot easier and probably cheaper to just swallow a capsule or -- much better -- have a serving of salmon or a soybean burger once or twice a week.  Getting nutrients in good instead of through supplement tablets is far superior, most nutritionists agree. 

It's true that Omega3Water doesn't have much sugar compared to other sweetened beverages, but you'll be getting more sugar than if you simply got your Omega-3 the traditional way.

 


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