U.S. group sues Coke over VitaminWater health claims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. consumer group said Thursday it filed a class action lawsuit against Coca-Cola Co, accusing the company of making deceptive health claims about its VitaminWater beverages.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said Coke made a range of claims that go beyond those allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Coke markets VitaminWater as a healthful alternative to soda by labeling its several flavors with such health buzz words as ‘defense,’ ‘rescue,’ ‘energy,’ and ‘endurance,’” the group said in a statement.

The company also claims the drinks reduce the risk of chronic disease and eye disease, promote healthy joints and support immune function, CSPI said.

“In fact, according to CSPI nutritionists, the 33 grams of sugar in each bottle of VitaminWater do more to promote obesity, diabetes and other health problems than the vitamins in the drinks do to perform the advertised benefits listed on the bottles,” the consumer group said.

Coke officials were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Martinne Geller; editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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